Jazz Albums of the Week

Every week on the air there's a special focus on one particular jazz album. Check them all out here!

April 12, 2021. Trigger warning: If having too much fun listening to music tends to send you spiraling out of control, take caution with Emmet Cohen’s Future Stride. With his natural feel and an ability to draw from a massive store of repertoire, it’s easy to see—and hear—why Cohen’s been a fast-rising star for a while now.

April 5, 2021. West coaster George Kahn is one of those melodic, easy-swinging pianists that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. He’s not edgy, nor experimental; he appropriates liberally from the Great American Songbook. He’s unabashedly straight-ahead, which, in this day and age, might be a revolutionary act in itself.

March 29, 2021. This Bitter Earth, Veronica Swift’s sophomore release from Mack Avenue Records, takes on issues of weighty social concern. Most everyone’s doing that now, it seems—and, hey, that’s probably a good thing. But the reason this album succeeds is because Swift was a preeminent vocal stylist before and still is.

March 22, 2021. Many of us have spent the last week reminiscing about what it was we were doing exactly one year ago. Memories are popping up on our social media accounts about the shutdown and the search for hand sanitizer, and we look at them and try to figure out how an entire year has passed. So much has happened, and composer, guitarist and Philly native Monnette Sudler has managed to touch on the many moods of the past 12 months on Stay Strong. 

March 15, 2021. With a grand stroke of prescience, NEA Jazz Master Maria Schneider crafted a double album about being polarized by the demands of a digital society and longing for human connection, all before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 9, 2021. Kendrah Butler-Waters' love for jazz, composition, arranging, and performative musicality shines throughout her debut solo album, Faith Walk.

March 1, 2021. WRTI is celebrating women bandleaders and their music to commemorate Women’s History Month. This week we're shining the spotlight on The Path by Chien Chien Lu, a Taiwanese vibraphonist whose own path led her to Philly’s University of the Arts for grad school to study with vibe master Tony Miceli. This is her debut album as a leader.

It feels strange calling Robert Glasper’s R+R=NOW a “supergroup” because every group Glasper leads seems worthy of that appellation. Yet, there is something particularly relevant right now about this one, which was named out of Glasper’s desire for the group’s music to be both an accurate reflection of the times and an effective and immediate response to them.

February 15, 2021. As a first-generation American and the daughter of a Rwandan father and Ugandan mother, who was raised mostly in Champaign, Illinois and partly in Zambia, the vocalist Somi has long had to navigate multiple worlds and identities at once.

February 8, 2021. Trombonist Clifton Anderson calls his fourth and latest album as a leader Been Down This Road Before. At this moment in history, it’s a provocative title. But even more evocative—of promises broken, of dreams deferred, of spiritual exhaustion, and a vacancy of trust borne from generations of structural inequities and disparities of opportunity that persist to this day.

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