Esperanza Spalding, Wadada Leo Smith, Pat Martino & More: Jazz Week


The Week in Jazz is your roundup of new and remarkable stories from the world of jazz. It’s a one-stop destination for the music news you need to know. Let’s take it from the top.


Pat Martino dies: Famous and influential Philadelphia jazz guitarist Pat Martino died on November 1 at the age of 80 after a long illness. Martino was known for the fluidity and speed of his playing. His career spanned six decades and a variety of styles. He also made a notable comeback by relearning to play his instrument after suffering a brain aneurysm in 1980. His death was announced on Facebook by his longtime manager, Joseph Donofrio.

Record Store Day Black Friday releases announced: Record Store Day has revealed the full list of exclusive Black Friday vinyl releases, which will be available at participating independent record stores around the world. Among the jazz-related releases announced are music from Chet Baker, Chick Corea and Lionel Hampton, Bill Evans and more. This year, the Record Store Day Black Friday will take place on November 26. More here.

Eliane Elias shares a video with Chick Corea: Eliane Elias shared a video of her duet piano performance with the late great Chick Corea from the recording session of her latest album Mirror mirror, which was released earlier this year. The video finds them performing a version of the jazz standard “There Will Never Be Another You”, and you can watch it through the player below. Order Mirror mirror here.

New albums from Wadada Leo Smith: TUM Records has announced the release of two new projects from iconic trumpeter / composer Wadada Leo Smith, both released on November 19. The first is Chicago Symphonies, a four-disc collection of extensive compositions by Smith celebrating Chicago which finds him leading his Great Lakes Quartet with Henry Threadgill, John Lindberg and Jack DeJohnette. The second is A love sonnet for Billie Holiday, a tribute to Lady Day putting him alongside DeJohnette and Vijay Iyer.

Pixar soul-based jazz exhibition opens in New Orleans: A new exhibition on the history of jazz built by Disney’s Pixar Studio has opened at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. The exhibition is called “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure”. It debuted at the EPCOT Center earlier this year and will visit the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City on December 10 and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem in February 2022. It is based on the Pixar animated film. Soul and features the film’s protagonist, Joe Gardner, as a visitor guide. More here.

Check out Esperanza Spalding’s latest album: Esperanza Spalding’s latest album, Songwrights Apothecary Lab, is now available in its entirety as an online visual album HERE. The album is a collection of 12 songs (or “Formwelas”), each of which is designed to have a specific effect on the listener. The music was created alongside researchers, practitioners and musicians in a traveling creative space in different musical configurations and venues.

Johnathan Blake discusses Blue Note’s debut album: Drummer / songwriter Johnathan Blake opened up about his latest release and the entirety of Blue Note Records Back home with label president Don Was on the latest episode of “First Look,” which you can watch through the player below. The album is a celebration of life and heritage and is performed with his star quintet Pentad. Order it here.

Album announcements

Paul Taylor, And now this! (Culminate): Los Angeles-based saxophonist Paul Taylor continues his continued exploration of a wide range of dynamic dancing grooves and complex pop / electronic vibes on his new contemporary urban jazz record. And Now This !, created via the digital file exchange between Taylor and his longtime collaborator, producer Dino Esposito, was released on November 5 via Peak Records. Order And now this! here.

Henri Cole, Buscando la Vida (La Musica Artisanale): Puerto Rican master drummer / composer Henry Cole’s new album features his signature “son métis”, which synthesizes African, indigenous and European influences in a contemporary jazz setting. Released on November 19 and commissioned by Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works, Buscando La Vida is performed with its dynamic ensemble Villa Locura augmented by the famous Metropole Orkest and an eclectic cast of top collaborators including Antibalas frontman Duke Amayo and MC Negro González. Pre-order it here.

Asaf Yuria, Exorcisms (Jojo) : Israeli saxophonist Asaf Yuria assembles a sextet of New York’s finest to address the abstract and mysterious possibilities of music on his second recording, Exorcisms, with a set of compositions imagined after his successful debut and adapted specifically to the sextet of the best of New York that he brought together for the project. “I’m looking for this mysterious condition in which listeners and musicians are immersed in the present moment,” Yuria explains via a press release. “So music can really touch them. ” Exorcisms released on November 5th and you can order it HERE.

Matthew Shipp, Descrambler (BAT forms): Matthew Shipp continues to explore new territories on his new introspective LP for solo piano, Descrambler. “I’m interested in trying to extract all the harmonics from the piano that I can, and with that in mind, any set of harmonics has a set of melodic fragments that are implied,” says Shipp via a press release. Descrambler was released on November 5 on drummer Whit Dickey’s label TAO Forms. Order it here.

Live music and festival news

Big Ears Festival announces the 2022 program: The Big Ears Festival will take place over a four-day weekend from March 24-27, 2022 in Knoxville, Tennessee. This year’s artists will include John Zorn, Sons of Kemet, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, John Medeski, Julian Lage and more. According to a press release, the festival aims to create “an exhilarating and kaleidoscopic musical experience like no other.” More here.

Michele Rosewoman presents a collaborative and multimedia event at Clemente, New York, November 11: Pianist / composer Michele Rosewoman will present “A Function at the Junction: Ancestral Bridge, Musical Streams” as part of the Arts for Art Jazz Libre events at New York’s Clemente Soto Velez Center, Flamboyan Theater on November 11. More here. The event is a collaborative multimedia event with live musical performances, video documentation and panel discussions. The program includes performances by Rosewoman’s New Yor-Uba Ensemble, Francisco Mora Catlett’s Afro Horn and Román Díaz’s Rumba Ensemble. The event will also be broadcast live on the HotHouseGlobal streaming platforms on December 18.

Erykah Badu to headline the Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2022: Erykah Badu will perform an exclusive track at next year’s Love Supreme Jazz Festival at Glynde Place in East Sussex, UK, July 1-3. This will be the only British date for the queen of neo soul in 2022. The Love Supreme Jazz Festival is expected to return after a two-year hiatus from July 1-3, 2022. More info here.

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Key words:
Asaf Yuria, Chick Corea, Eliane Elias, Erykah Badu, Esperanza Spalding, Henry Cole, Johnathan Blake, Matthew Shipp, Michele Rosewoman, Pat Martino, Paul Taylor, Record Store Day, Wadada Leo Smith


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