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!

January 11, 2021. Sunset in the Blue, vocalist Melody Gardot’s new album, works on the listener in a deliberate, almost methodical way, as though it knows it’s playing a long con. So if you find yourself preoccupied or not fully present at first listen— if you haven’t yet had your daily yoga, or engaged your mindfulness app, or done whatever it is one must do in early 2021 to attain clarity and presence, don’t despair. Gardot’s fifth full-length, studio album, and first in five years, will work on you anyway.

January 4, 2021. It's a new year and we're taking you on a trip abroad! Paris is magnifique with The Hot Club of Philadelphia’s Gypsy-Americana.

December 28, 2020. Chasing stardom is a young man’s game. At 66, alto saxophonist Bobby Watson will tell you he’s much more interested in the zero-pretense ethos that doubles as the title of his new album.

December 21, 2020. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s (JALCO) Big Band Holidays II is a thoroughly enjoyable holiday-time jazz album, and those aren’t always so easy to come by.

December 14, 2020. La Lucha’s Everybody Wants to Rule the World—with its ensemble cast and eclectic mix of Klezmer-flavored cumbias, Columbian bambucos, anthemic post-bop originals, and Jukebox Jazz-flavored covers—is among my favorite albums of 2020. So, imagine my delighted surprise to learn that they’ve taken it upon themselves to do for the Christmas album what Everybody Wants to Rule the World did for “Lullaby of Birdland.”

December 7, 2020. Some performers are so far from anonymous, they become mononymous—instantly recognizable by just a one-word name. In jazz: Duke, Satch, Miles, Coltrane, Bird, Monk...and Ella. First Lady of Song and all the other honorifics are nice but superfluous; "Ella" tells the entire story.

November 30, 2020. There are some things in life you don’t want to perceive being made—laws and sausages chief among them. On the other hand, there are the yoga studio idealists whose wisdom suggests the opposite, that the process is everything, that life’s beauty resides in the journey, and that once you realize that, the destination becomes almost beside the point.

November 23, 2020. Imagine deconstructing an award-winning 21-piece band, scattering its members not just across the Delaware Valley but the country, having each instrumentalist record his/her parts individually, and then taking each of those individually recorded parts and surgically stitching it all back together to make it sound like the entire band was recorded in the same place, at the same time.

November 16, 2020. There’s a lot of information out there about bees these days, so it’s best to get a few things straight. The Asian giant hornet, the so-called “murder hornet,” is a dangerous potential scourge to the Pacific Northwest’s ecosystem. New video evidence shows a group of just several dozen murder hornets laying waste to a colony of 30,000 honey bees with cold, ruthless efficiency. These insects carry a potent venom and are not to be trifled with.

November 9, 2020. After a tense election season marked by discord and division, you might find yourself yearning for something, anything, to restore your faith in this country and its institutions. Music has that power.

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