Jazz Journalists Association honors Maria Schneider, Ron Carter and WBGO's Gary Walker, Jazz United

WBGO writes......Longtime WBGO host and music director Gary Walker and the podcast Jazz United are among the winners of the 2021 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards. They join bassist Ron Carter, honored for Lifetime Achievement in Jazz, and Fresh Air critic Kevin Whitehead, recipient of Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism, along with others recognized in a total of 47 categories. Gary Walker won the Marian McPartland-Willis Conover Award for Career Achievement in Broadcasting, which has also been bestowed on WBGO's Rhonda Hamilton and Michael Bourne. Jazz United, hosted by Greg Bryant and Nate Chinen, won Podcast of the Year in its first year of eligibility; last year the award went to WBGO's The Checkout, produced and hosted by Simon Rentner. Maria Schneider won awards for Composer, Arranger and Large Ensemble, as well as Record of the Year for Data Lords, which topped the 2020 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll. And Terri Lyne Carrington, who was recently profiled on Jazz Night in America, won Musician of the Year as well as Drummer of the Year. In the journalism field, Steven Sussman won the Lona Foote-Bob Parent Award for Career Achievement in Photography, and Ted Panken won the Robert Palmer-Helen Oakley Dance Award for Excellence in Writing. Publication of the Year went to DownBeat, and Blog of the Year went to Ethan Iverson's Do the Math. The JJA Awards celebrate their 25th anniversary this year, encompassing an industry-wide range of musicians, writers and media organizations. For a full tally of results, as well as more information about the Jazz Journalists Association, visit jjajazzawards.com.      SEE THE PAGE
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Saxophonist; James Brandon Lewis embodies and transcends tradition / The New York Times

The New York Times - Giovanni Russonello......When James Brandon Lewis plays the saxophone, he usually plants his feet shoulder width apart and bends a bit at the knee, swaying and tunneling into a rhythmic flow. As a bandleader, he almost exclusively performs his own compositions, which have melodies that roam, dart and soar but often stay grounded in a pulse. Even when the music reaches a cruising speed, Lewis takes his time on the horn, more interested in making sure you get a clear taste of each note than in hurrying along to the next idea. Still, by the end of a song, you'll feel as though you've traveled a good distance with him, put a few dozen miles on the odometer. "Respect is important to me," Lewis said on a recent Saturday morning, sitting in the sun at Tompkins Square Park in the East Village and explaining his commitment to clarity. "There's always this thing in the background with musicians, like, ‘Can you play?'" he said, referring to the strict meritocratic standards of the jazz bandstand. "But I put that into everything. If I'm going to write an essay, then I've got to be able to write well. It's the same thing with poetry, same thing with teaching myself about visual arts: peeling back those layers." Since 2014, when he released "Divine Travels," his second album, on Sony's OKeh Records as a relative unknown, Lewis has earned a reputation as a pathfinder in jazz, and a guardian of tradition. Last year he won the rising star tenor saxophonist award in DownBeat magazine's critics poll, putting an exclamation mark on his ascent. In an artistically scattered age, when jazz is far too big and contested to be held in place, he has defined his own saxophone lineage - one that runs through Sonny Rollins, David S. Ware and J.D. Allen, constructed around ideals of deep seeking and rhythmic exchange - and kept building. He's also been amassing a catalog of poetry, creative essays and manifestoes that crack open some windows into his process. In an essay last year accompanying his album "Molecular," he wrote: "It is far easier to pick up a drinking glass that is unbroken than one that has been shattered into a million pieces. I prefer the challenge of the latter. No longer capable of holding water, it instead offers a perfect image of freedom and possibility." Lewis's new album, "Jesup Wagon," out Friday, is a tribute to another polymathic figure who insisted on cutting his own path: the scientist and inventor George Washington Carver. Lewis read biographies about him before composing the seven tracks and two poems that appear on "Jesup Wagon," and he became moved by how freely Carver had traveled between passions. But he couldn't help noticing how much his legacy had been pruned by history, reducing Carver to his association with one thing: peanuts. In addition to being a botanist, educator and symbol of Black pride in the brutal Redemption years, Carver was an accomplished musician and painter. He insisted that art and science, as processes of discovery, were never in opposition. And he was a pioneer of sustainable agriculture, whose findings sometimes put him at odds with private industry. "He wasn't a capitalist, in the greater scheme," Lewis said. Although Carver was an inventor many times over, he added, "He didn't hardly patent anything." At the turn of the 20th century, he took a significant pay cut to start the Tuskegee Institute's agriculture department, which helped make this prominent Black university into an important research institution. "Jesup Wagon" takes its name from the carriage that Carver drove across the South during his Tuskegee years, conducting demonstrations for poor farmers on how to cultivate their land more sustainably. This is Lewis's ninth album as a leader, and his first with the new Red Lily Quintet, featuring Kirk Knuffke on cornet, Christopher Hoffman on cello, William Parker on bass and guimbri, and Chad Taylor on drums and mbira. Lewis generally prefers to play without a chordal instrument behind him, allowing him greater range of motion, and he chose this lineup because he wanted an earthen, folk-like texture, full of rich layering but not the restrictions of chords. Sometimes elegiac, sometimes bounding forward, the tunes on "Jesup Wagon" are some of the loveliest compositions of his career, built around overlapping ribbons of melody. On "Experiment Station" - its title comes from Carver's nickname for his lab - an opening section of gesturally bowed strings and legato horns falls into a marching rhythm, led by Taylor's drums. As Lewis unfurls his solo, the cadence comes apart again, reappearing only occasionally, in moments of fleeting cohesion. Born in Buffalo in 1983, Lewis is the son of a preacher father and a schoolteacher mother. He was exposed at a young age to a variety of music under the jazz banner, including free improvisation in the Charles Gayle tradition and the svelter disciples of Grover Washington Jr., another famous Buffalonian. What united them all was their attention to rhythmic pulse. "It's a groove town," Lewis said. He picked up the clarinet at age 9, teaching himself to play basic melodies before enrolling at the city's arts magnet middle school the next year. He studied with Carol McLaughlin and Dave Schiavone, prominent saxophonists and educators in Buffalo, while playing in church. There he found out what it meant for music to brush against the holy spirit, but he also learned the importance of carrying a melody faithfully, in lock step with the choir. An honor student and an all-county band member, he went on to Buffalo State University before transferring to Howard University in Washington. He graduated with a degree in jazz performance, then spent time living with his father in Colorado, immersing himself in the Denver scene and continuing to play religious music. Then he enrolled at CalArts in Santa Clarita, Calif., where he studied with a faculty teeming with creative music talent, including the trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, the bassist Charlie Haden and the drummer Joe LaBarbera, and his creative identity started to find fuller form. Through a connection with the pianist Matthew Shipp, Lewis came to the attention of Parker, an important organizer on the New York scene and an esteemed bassist. Lewis invited him and the drummer Gerald Cleaver to make an album; in 2014 it was released as "Divine Travels," turning heads in the jazz world. Parker himself was impressed with the way that a young Lewis had seemed to both embody and transcend tradition. "He was prepared to take what he'd learned and forget it," Parker remembered. "Which to me is always a good sign of a person that's going to find his own sound." Almost a decade after that recording session, Lewis has become an essential part of the creative community surrounding Parker in New York. "I think the James you hear in 2021 will be quite different from the James you hear in 2031," Parker added. "He's on the move. And he's rising up." In the mid-2010s, Lewis started playing regularly with a Washington-based rhythm section: the bassist Luke Stewart and the drummer Warren Trae Crudup III. In 2014 all three of them joined the poet Thomas Sayers Ellis in Heroes Are Gang Leaders, a words-and-music ensemble that continues today, and has become a part of Lewis's creative identity. He now finds himself not only extending the lineage of his forebears, but attracting their admiration - even emulation. Rollins, 90, widely recognized as jazz's greatest living improviser, has acknowledged his passion for Lewis's playing. And J.D. Allen, slightly more than a decade Lewis's senior and a major source of inspiration, said that he had been turned on his ear by Lewis's trio with Stewart and Crudup. Allen said his 2019 trio album, "Barracoon," which featured a new and younger rhythm section, was directly inspired by the no-holds-barred punk energy of Lewis's 2016 album, "No Filter." "‘Barracoon' was my attempt to sound like the ‘No Filter' trio," Allen said in an interview. He recalled a recent conversation, in which he acknowledged to Lewis that mentorship had given way to exchange: "I told him, ‘I was copying you, man.'" Chase Hall for The New York Times
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Through the circumstances of its creation, Jane Ira Bloom - Mark Helias 'Some Kind of Tomorrow' gives us an unusually close perspective into creativity and musicianship / Jazz History Online

Jazz History Online's Thomas Cunniffe writes.....The COVID-19 has shut down the world's economy in short order. While elements of the economy are beginning to open up again, live performances will be one of the last elements to restart. Most club and concert dates have been canceled for the foreseeable future. For many jazz artists, recorded music is their primary source of income. The albums reviewed here are all current releases; most of them were released during the period of nationwide lockdown. Of course, most of the music was recorded long before anyone had heard of the coronavirus. Many of these musicians are still producing music online, which is understandably different than these albums. However, these recordings show us what we as audience members took for granted before the virus. These reviews will be a continuing feature on Jazz History Online as long as the crisis continues. The current set encompasses instrumental jazz. JHO has always encouraged its readers to support the musicians by purchasing their CDs. The message could not be more urgent now. If you can afford to help, please do. It could be argued that "Some Kind of Tomorrow" is a direct reaction to the pandemic. It was recorded remotely during the lockdown with soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom and bassist Mark Helias improvising together over a Wi-Fi connection. The two musicians had to work out difficulties with the technology before they could let their musical imaginations co-exist in the same time (if not physical) space. I have long admired Bloom's rich tone on the soprano sax, but I don't recall hearing it sound as melancholy as it does here. Making music is a communal effort and the sudden necessity of playing individual parts in solitude is a shock that reverberates with musicians every day. The audio mix of this recording makes us believe that Bloom and Helias were playing together in the same room; the fact that they couldn't do that makes this album all the more remarkable. The opening (title) track finds both musicians in a highly melodic framework, but the next track, "Magic Carpet" takes them into exploratory areas, with Bloom and Helias altering the tones of their instruments through completely non-electronic means. Bloom's Doppler effect-creating by swinging the bell of her horn across the arc of the microphone-and her deliberate coarsening of her tone are here along with Helias' pizzicato and harmonics (A later track, "Drift", has Bloom making her horn sound like an indigenous flute!)  Bloom states in her program notes that none of these pieces were written out, and there were no discussions between her and Helias before they started playing. If we assume that these improvisations are presented in their complete form (and they certainly sound that way) then we must marvel at the speed at which moods are created and how well they are maintained for the length of the tracks. In the case of "Roughing It"-the album's longest track-it is the manner and number of mood changes that occur as the improvisation evolves which stuns and delights the attentive listener. And indeed, it is the attentive listener who will get the most enjoyment from this album, as they share the same musical discoveries that struck Bloom and Helias when they created this music several months ago. Because of the circumstances of its creation, "Some Kind of Tomorrow" cannot offer the same sonic variety as Bloom's earlier albums. In exchange, it gives us an unusually close perspective into her creativity and musicianship. SEE THE FULL Jazz History Online PAGE
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Sons of Kemet - Black to the Future makes 'JAZZIZ - 10 Albums You Need to Know: May 2021'

JAZZIZ - MATT MICUCCI writes......Star-studded trio albums; tributes to Billie Holiday, Wayne Shorter and Keith Jarrett; a sonic poem for the invocation of power, remembrance and healing. All this and more in our list of ten albums out this month (May 2021) that you need to know about. Saxophonist/composer Shabaka Hutchings and his acclaimed British jazz group Sons of Kemet present a new set of pulsing grooves and global influences on their third studio album, Black to the Future (Impulse!). Hutchings defines the record via a statement as "a sonic poem for the invocation of power, remembrance and healing. It depicts a movement to redefine and reaffirm what it means to strive for black power."  SEE THE FULL JAZZIZ PAGE
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Milos seeks the next great classical guitar showpiece / NPR: Morning Edition

NPR: Morning Edition - TIM GREIVING writes .......On his new CD, classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglic plays two works composed especially for him. Miloš Karadaglić was eight when he noticed the dusty guitar sitting on a shelf in his house in Montenegro. "I think my father had this guitar when he was young, and when he tried to seduce my mother - and once he got her, I don't think he played it ever again," Miloš says, laughing. "Typical sort of behavior. I got this guitar and, seriously, the moment I held it in my hands, I felt I found my best friend." LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT & READ THE TRASCRIPT
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Milos - The Moon & The Forest is the WFMT: Featured New Release

WFMT's Lisa Flynn writes....Celebrating 10 years with Universal Music, Miloš Karadaglić releases an album featuring two outstanding new concertos, both commissioned for the guitarist – a testament to his musicianship and pioneering spirit, showcasing new guitar repertoire on the world stage. The Moon & The Forest features works by award-winning composers Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings, The Departed) and Joby Talbot (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Winter's Tale). Both Shore and Talbot worked closely with Karadaglić to create distinctive, groundbreaking scores. For May 5 2021, Milos - The Moon & The Forest is the WFMT: Chicago 'Featured New Release'   SEE THE PAGE  
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Months in the making, k-Mozart re-launches / Los Angeles Daily News

Los Angeles Daily News - RICHARD WAGONER writes.....Did I say months? Actually, it was over a year. Owner Saul Levine has been planning this since before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic but put it off due to the problems that came about over the past year. At one time, it was to be exclusively on the app and on the HD signal that is available with a special tuner on 105.1 HD4. Since that time, the decision was made to put the format on 1260 AM in an attempt to help spread the word, which it has for the past few months. The re-launch is referring to the addition of hosts and special programs, bringing back the knowledge and passion that was once a regular part of the format as it was heard when it originally launched by Levine as KBCA (now KKGO, 105.1 FM) in 1959. Joining the on-air staff of the station is veteran Nick Tyler, Russ Maloney, David Benoit, Chuck Southcott, and LA Opera diva Suzanna Guzman. The iconic Evening Concert - a program with a local history dating back 75 years - is back on the air Monday through Friday nights at 7 p.m. with Tyler as host. Guzman presents At the Opera Sundays at 12 Noon. Benoit, the well-known composer and pianist, hosts Ovations on Sunday afternoons. The smooth-voiced Southcott hosts  Curtain Call - highlighting familiar Broadway Show Stoppers - on Saturday mornings. And Maloney, formerly with Public Radio in the Midwest, hosts K-Mozart Morning Classics at 7 a.m. Mondays through Fridays. Why classical? Why now? Mainly because Levine loves the music and wants to present an alternative to KUSC (91.5 FM). I respect his devotion. READ THE FULL Los Angeles Daily News ARTICLE 
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For collector's of intricate and soothing music, 'Strings for Peace' is an impressively produced and memorable release / Review Graveyard

Review Graveyard writes.......Strings for Peace, features four compositions by legendary sarod master Amjad Ali Khan based on four popular ragas specifically written and arranged for Sharon Isbin: 'By the Moon - Raga Behag', 'Love Avalanche - Raga Mishra Bhairav', 'Romancing Earth - Raga Pilu' and 'Sacred Evening - Raga Yaman'. Ali Khan, Sharon Isbin, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash are accompanied on the tabla by Amit Kavthekar, The use of sarod on these four recordings (50 min, 45 sec) pretty much runs the gamut of styles and emotions. It's a beautiful instrument and its versatility is showcased perfectly here. While the tracks incorporate several sarods, guitar and tabla, the more reflective moments come with a single sarod. For collector's of intricate and soothing music, Strings for Peace is an impressively produced and memorable release. SEE THE Review Graveyard ARTICLE
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Pino Palladino & Blake Mills have created a weird but wonderful mix of sounds and flavors for 'Notes with Attachments' / CD Hotlist

CD Hotlist - Rick Anderson writes.......With this album, bassist Pino Palladino and multi-instrumentalist/producer Blake Mills have created a weird but wonderful mix of sounds and flavors, resulting in something that is explicitly jazz-adjacent but hardly jazz. Billed as "both a producers' album and a players' album," it germinated from snippets of musical ideas that Palladino sent to Mills for his musical input, and to which Mills responded so comprehensively that eventually, in Palladino's words, "it dawned on both of us that it would be a collaborative record." From the tightly composed broken-beat groove of "Soundwalk" to the bubbling Afrobeat-plus-skronk of "Ekuté" to the slippery and funky "Chris Dave," the sound has a weirdly electronic vibe, even when most of the actual sounds are being made by acoustic instruments and the drums are live. Of course, some of the instruments credited are a bit mysterious: on one track Mills is credited with "rubberized guitar"; on another, he plays a "gamelan fretless bass." I promise this album is unlike any you've heard this year, or any year.
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Moby teams with Gregory Porter and Amythyst Kiah for 'Natural Blues remix' / EL PASO INC.

EL PASO INC. Celebretainment writes.....Moby has teamed up with Gregory Porter and Amythyst Kiah on a remix of 'Natural Blues'. The 55-year-old musician has reimagined his biggest hits from the past three decades featuring the Budapest Art Orchestra with new orchestration and arrangements for his upcoming LP, 'Reprise'. And the latest cut is a new version of the 2000 single by Moby from his acclaimed 'Play' album. Moby said: "I've had songs that are very despairing, and some that are celebratory, but more often than not I guess my music lives in a bittersweet in-between. Gregory Porter and Amythyst Kiah's performances bring a new sense of yearning to the song that encompasses both light and dark tones. Their thoughtful interpretations bring out deep nuances to the track only they could uniquely offer." READ THE FULL EL PASO INC. ARTICLE
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There is so much more than Joy Harjo's Native American poetry contained on 'I Pray For My Enemies' / Skope Magazine

Skope - Dan MacIntosh......To say Joy Harjo is unique, would be putting it mildly. Joy Harjo is an American poet, playwright, musician, and author. Her album, I Pray for My Enemies, is filled with poetry, just as you would expect from a United States Poet Laureate. However, there is so much more than Harjo's Native American poetry contained on the album. Harjo is also a skilled saxophonist and incorporates plenty of jazz sounds (as well as jazz-inspired lyrics, including lines about trumpeting great, Miles Davis) filling out this wide ranging, 16-track opus. READ THE FULL Skope Magazine REVIEW
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Moby says 'classical music is ingrained in me' / The List

The List - Bang Showbiz writes.....Moby has been "surrounded by classical music" since his childhood. The 55-year-old star has revealed he was surrounded by lots of classical musical influences during his childhood and even though he's made his name in a different genre, his music has always featured "classical elements". He shared: "I grew up surrounded by classical music. My mother was a pianist. My great-grandmother actually taught classical composition to Arthur Fiedler, the legendary conductor. My uncle was a classical flautist. "So even though I grew up playing in punk rock bands, classical music was sort of ingrained in me from an early age." Despite this, Moby acknowledges that his new album, 'Reprise', is markedly different to his earlier releases. The chart-topping star's upcoming album will feature orchestral and acoustic arrangements of songs from earlier in his career. READ THE FULL List ARTICLE
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Top 10 Albums for May

Mark Mothersbaugh :

The Mitchells Vs. The Machines OMPS

Sony Music Masterworks today releases THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) with music by prolific composer, singer, multi-instrumentalist and co-founder of DEVO MARK MOTHERSBAUGH.  Now available everywhere, the album includes score music written by Mothersbaugh for the animated film, which follows an eccentric family in the middle of the robot apocalypse.  The soundtrack is the latest in a longstanding creative partnership between Mothersbaugh and film producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, having previously worked together on titles like The LEGO Movie, 21 Jump Street, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and more.  Included within the 36-track collection is a new original song from Australian singer-songwriter ALEX LAHEY entitled "On My Way" – listen to the uplifting, indie-pop anthem here.  Featuring the voices of Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Beck Bennett, Fred Armisen, Eric Andre and Olivia Colman, The Mitchells vs. The Machines is now streaming globally only on Netflix.  
Joey Alexander :

Under The Sun

Three-time GRAMMY Award-nominated pianist Joey Alexander follows his major-label debut album, WARNA (Verve Records), with three new singles "SALT" (March 19: LINK), "Under the Sun" (April 23: LINK), and "Summer Rising" (May 28) set for global release on Verve. In just seven years subsequent to the release of five critically-acclaimed albums (My Favorite Things, Countdown, Joey.Monk.Live!, Eclipse, WARNA), Alexander leads a career rarely witnessed in the jazz genre. He's garnered international acclaim from mainstream media, three nominations from The Recording Academy, and high praise from legendary jazz icons while evolving into one of today's most distinguished composers and bandleaders.
Arturo O'Farrill w/Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra :

Virtual Birdland

Multi GRAMMY® Award-winning pianist/composer Arturo O'Farrill and nonprofit the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA) announces today they have reached more than 1 million people in over 25 countries through their innovative "ALJA Digital Village" programming since its launch one year ago in March 2020. ALJA immediately responded to the onslaught of the COVID-19 global pandemic with a multi-faceted initiative to raise urgent funds for New York/New Jersey-based jazz musicians (over $100,000 was raised) while instituting a digital platform for ALJA's close network of standout musicians and educators.  The flagship "ALJA Digital Village" program "Virtual Birdland" will celebrate the milestone with the global release of a new album, Virtual Birdland, featuring O'Farrill and his acclaimed 18-person Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra performing with an array of special guests on 10 ambitious compositions recorded across a span of more than 50 online concerts. Each Virtual Birdland session is recorded remotely from the safety of each artists' homes. Jon Pareles (Chief Popular Music Critic) of The New York Times included "Virtual Birdland" in his story, "10 Best Quarantine Concerts Online" (July 2021).
Cande y Paulo :


Cande y Paulo, the Argentinian duo who caught the attention of the world when a performance of ‘Barro Tal Vez', an achingly intense but minimalist Argentine rock classic went viral on YouTube amassing over 12 million views, today announce their debut.  The self-titled album will be released on June 4th through the iconic Decca Records. On the single, ‘Tuyo', released 9th April, Cande y Paulohave reimagined Brazilian singer-songwriter Rodrigo Amarante's bolero, famous for being the theme to Netflix's international hit series, Narcos. This sensual yet haunting version evokes a candle lit dinner as much as it does an epic road trip worthy of the vast expanse of their native Argentina. The opening slow dance between the classical guitar and double bass is transcended by Cande's soft yet dark vocal which is then transported somewhere warm by Paulo's Latin jazz piano.

'Delicate Butterfly' / Mirror from Blue Marble Sky

JOMORO is the alias of the musical merger of...Joey Waronker – Veteran drummer of session and live renown with the likes of Paul McCartney, Johnny Cash, Adele, Beck, Roger Waters, Air and R.E.M., and full-fledged member of Ultraista and Atoms for Peace, the latter of which also featured bandmate... Mauro Refosco – International percussionist hailing from Brazil to Broadway-specifically David Byrne's American Utopia-with additional credits ranging from Vampire Weekend and Red Hot Chili Peppers to Dirty Projectors, Bebel Gilberto and Caetano Veloso, among others. Whereas the two have recorded together before-notably alongside Thom Yorke, Flea and Nigel Godrich on Atoms For Peace's #2 charting album AMOK-with JOMORO, Joey and Mauro build their own world at the crossroads of the electronic and the percussive. The expanse of the duo's musical realm is mapped throughout the sonic geography of its debut album, Blue Marble Sky (Sony Music Masterworks): a 12-track travelogue that transports the listener to aural environs ranging from the tranquil Brazilian rainforest to bustling city streets, with occasional breezy pop detours along the way. The album is preceded by first single, "Delicate Butterfly" featuring Lucius and currently available across all platforms. The single is the direct result of the pair reaching back to the pre-genesis of JOMORO: a live soundtrack they created for Rag & Bone's Fall/Winter 2016 New York Fashion Week show.  "Delicate Butterfly" fleshes out an original instrumental framework and adorns it with the vocals of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius.  The end product is a heavenly harmonic duet that flutters off into the ether like a choir at the edge of the galaxy.   "Delicate Butterfly" is both first single and second taste of JOMORO's debut, as it follows last month's soft release of the instrumental track "Mirror" 
Vijay Iyer :


Uneasy, with Tyshawn Sorey and Linda May Han Oh, is Vijay Iyer's second trio album on ECM and his seventh appearance as a leader on the label. Navigating from one shape-shifting idea to another, he continues to push boundaries from one album to the next. His unique musical approach has gained him many accolades and much praise from the international press, The New York Times summarizing his persona as a "social conscience, multimedia collaborator, system builder, rhapsodist, historical thinker and multicultural gateway". On Uneasy, he draws on the history of the music while continuing to push it forward. In the course of this endeavour, the political and social turbulences dominating today's American landscape are reflected in musical contemplation and tense space. In his liner notes, Vijay elaborates on how today "the word ‘uneasy' feels like a brutal understatement, too mild for cataclysmic times. But maybe, since the word contains its own opposite, it reminds us that the most soothing, healing music is often born of and situated within profound unrest; and conversely, the most turbulent music may contain stillness, coolness, even wisdom."
Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate :

Lowak Shoppala' Fire and Light

Composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate releases the world premiere recording of Lowak Shoppala' (Fire and Light) on Azica Records. Lowak Shoppala' expresses Chickasaw identity through the medium of modern classical music and theatre through eight scenes and features orchestra, narration of a libretto by Chickasaw poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Linda Hogan, children's chorus, traditional Chickasaw and classical vocal soloists, and Chickasaw storytellers. Each scene (Fire and Light, Double Header, Shell Shaker, Clans, Removal, Spider Brings Fire, Hymn, Double Header & Finale) depicts a part of Chickasaw culture and history and is sung in Chickasaw. The recording, conducted by Tate, features the Chickasaw Nation Children's Chorus and Nashville String Machine, an ensemble made up of musicians from the Nashville Symphony, and soloists including narrators Richard Ray Whitman, Lynn Moroney, and Wes Studi (Dances with Wolves); baritone Stephen Clark; and sopranos Chelsea Owen and Meghan Vera Starling.
Danish String Quartet :

Prism III - Beethoven / Bartok / Bach

This is the third volume of the Danish String Quartet's ongoing Prism series, which shows how the radiance of Bach's fugues is refracted through Beethoven's quartets to illuminate the work of later composers.  "Beethoven had taken a fundamentally linear development from Bach," the Danes note, "and exploded everything into myriads of different colours, directions and opportunities – much in the same way as a prism splits a beam of light. We hope the listener will join us in the wonder of these beams of music that travel all the way from Bach through Beethoven as far as to our own times." Here the quartet follows the beam from Johann Sebastian Bach's Fugue in c-sharp minor through Ludwig van Beethoven's String Quartet no.14, op. 131 to Béla Bartók's String Quartet No.1.  
Sons of Kemet :

'Hustle' - 'To Never Forget The Source' from BTTF

Saxophonist, composer, philosopher and writer Shabaka Hutchings returns with a brand-new album from his Mercury Prize nominated outfit Sons of Kemet. Black To The Future, the band's fourth LP and second on Impulse! Records, is due out May 14. This is the band's most dynamic project yet, featuring prominent vocalists including Angel Bat Dawid, poets Moor Mother and Joshua Idehen, and grime artist D Double E. The first single "Hustle" features Kojey Radical with backing vocals from singer Lianne La Havas and is out today with a dance-inspired metaphorical video directed by Ashleigh Jadee. The last time Shabaka Hutchings released a record, it was March 13, 2020 – on the eve of the pandemic – with Shabaka & The Ancestors' We Are Sent Here By History. The "momentous" (NPR Music) album centered around themes of confronting the destruction of humanity as we know it. The prescient theme of this record was not lost on those who heard it.
Dustin O'Halloran :


Dustin O'Halloran's debut Deutsche Grammophon album, Silfur, explores the shifting perspective of music through time and place in new pieces and reimagined earlier works. The album includes collaborations with American composer and multi-instrumentalist Bryan Senti, Icelandic cellist Gyða Valtýsdóttir and the Siggi String Quartet. "Silfur is an exploration of the music of my past and how it reflects back to me now in the present. Evoking images of different moments, places and periods of my life, and rediscovering the pieces that have stayed with me. Sometimes we can only understand ourselves by looking back, and hopefully, finding the thread of who we are and who we have always been." Dustin O'Halloran