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!

November 2, 2020. In light of Election week and 2020 in general, the title of the Uptown Jazz Tentet’s (UJT) new album, the follow-up to their 2017 debut There It Is, is perfect: What’s Next. Weary cynicism, steely resilience, forward-thinking resolve, stubborn optimism—that album title says it all in two simple words.

October 26, 2020. It’s been over 20 years since the release of the Sun Ra Arkestra’s last studio album, 1999’s Song for the Sun. But their new album, Swirling, confirms that space is, indeed, still the place.

October 19, 2020. If 2020 is finding you nostalgic for that early-to-mid ’60s lineup of Jazz Messengers featuring trombonist Curtis Fuller teaming up with legendary names like Hubbard, Shorter, Walton, Merritt, and Blakey, then you owe it to yourself to get acquainted with the Black Art Jazz Collective (BAJC).

October 12, 2020. All rise, the biggest male voice in jazz has returned. Although, strange as it may seem, that generous designation is actually limiting when talking about Gregory Porter. Because that amorphous place where jazz, gospel, blues, soul, and R&B all get together and cross streams—he presides with just as much authority there, too.

October 5, 2020. Artemis is a band comprising seven of the world’s finest jazz musicians, six of whom are instrumentalists, all of whom are female. Group founder and musical director, the acclaimed pianist Renee Rosnes, foresees a time where the period comes after the preceding sentence’s first clause, where calling Artemis an “all-female” jazz septet will feel superfluous, where the only thing to comment on will be the music.

September 28, 2020. And now for something a little different. Since 1975, David K. Mathews has been a sideman for some of the biggest names in jazz, funk, soul and R&B, playing keys most notably for Tower of Power, Etta James and, for the past decade, Santana.

Courtesy of the artist

September 21, 2020. At just 23, alto saxophonist, Upper Darby native, and Clef Club alum Immanuel Wilkins has just released one of the most sophisticated and mature debut recordings in recent memory—on the immortal Blue Note record label, no less.

September 14, 2020. Philadelphia born-and-bred trumpeter Wallace Roney learned from legends, played with legends, and ultimately died one too soon, passing away from complications of the coronavirus this past March at age 59. The former Young Lion whom JazzTimes once dubbed “the man with the golden horn” got to play alongside his heroes—giants like Philly Joe Jones, Herbie Hancock, Art Blakey, and Miles Davis. The story goes that Roney was the only trumpet protégé Miles ever took on; he never hoarded his riches.

September 7, 2020. With Christian McBride, the question isn’t what can or can’t he do; the question is, rather: What hasn’t he done yet? On For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver, the latest from the Christian McBride Big Band (CMBB), the do-everything bassist teams up, incredibly for the first time, with another locally-sourced, larger-than-life contemporary jazz icon.

August 31, 2020. Miles Davis once said, “You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker.” August 29th, 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of the latter’s birth, and alto saxophonists Vincent Herring, Bobby Watson, and Gary Bartz got a head start on celebrating earlier this year with Bird at 100—a worthy tribute to the man of insatiable appetites who became a God-like figure to the Beat generation and redefined jazz to mean the highest form of musical improvisation.

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