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!

June 15, 2020. In 1998, bassist and bandleader Christian McBride composed The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons as part of a musical commission. At the time, he considered it a musical portrait of the Civil Rights Movement; it became much more than that.

June 8, 2020. From founding the Captain Black Big Band in 2009 to replacing Ethan Iverson as The Bad Plus’s pianist in 2018, Philadelphia native Orrin Evans has never shied away from taking a leap into the musical unknown.

Courtesy of the artist

June 1. 2020. Renowned vibraphonist, pianist, composer, and arranger Christian Tamburr went uber-creative for his seventh independent release, The Awakening/ Sounds for Sculpture. This album features 10 original pieces of music, each inspired by (and named after) a bronze sculpture by artist Seward Johnson, which stand at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey.

May 26, 2020. Assembled here for Voice = Power—the follow-up to bassist Nicholas Krolak’s 2018 debut Chicory Root—are the component parts of the traditional Art Blakey-style hard bop quintet. Combine that with the fact that Krolak’s most notable side work has been with local heavyweights like Larry McKenna, John Swana, and Tony Miceli, and it’d be reasonable to assume the 10 tracks and 50 minutes of Voice = Power would be a mostly straight-forward affair.

U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Josh Kowalsky

May 18, 2020. The Airmen of Note are at it again—this time as the historic band celebrates 70 years of dazzling audiences worldwide with the commemorative release, Air Power. Be it live tour performances or special broadcasts, The United States Air Force Band's big band jazz ensemble continues to make its music accessible to everyone.

May 4, 2020. Mother’s Day will be a lot different this year. The jazz brunches that would normally be packed will be replaced by curbside pickup and listening to Sunday Jazz Brunch with Bob Perkins on WRTI 90.1 (not too shabby) while chatting with family via Zoom.

April 27, 2020. For a youngish tenor saxophonist, Ken Fowser’s recording output’s been nothing short of prodigious, leading five albums for Posi-Tone Records and co-leading another four with star vibraphonist Behn Gillece. His latest, Morning Light, is further support for the rock-solid reputation the South Jersey native has built since hitting the New York City scene 15 years ago.

We are so sad to report that Philadelphia jazz legend, Robert "Bootsie" Barnes—tenor sax player extraordinaire—passed this morning of COVID-19 at age 82. "The man with the tenor touch," he was beloved by so many in our jazz community and beyond. Read obituary here.

Tim Stephens

April 20, 2020. Vocalist Maci Miller is not a stranger to the Philly jazz scene, hailing from Harrisburg and now nestled in Bucks County. In fact, she’s not a stranger to the international jazz scene, with albums that have had a global reach, and one released overseas.

April 6, 2020. Trumpeter John Vanore’s newest release is not very new at all. It was actually recorded in the mid '80s, with no intention of release. Vanore, and fellow Philadelphian, pianist Ron Thomas, were experimenting with some music from that time. Vanore discovered these tunes on cassette in his basement, and now we have Primary Colors, a chill, yet electric album that touches on the familiar (of 1985).