James on Jazz | Sounds and sights for autumn

JamesOnJazzsquareAutumn is here! It’s already October and the leaves are turning gold and red.

There’s plenty of things to do and see if you’re interested in music. And not just jazz, but all types of music. There are many new albums available for people to enjoy this fall season.

New and vibrant sounds
For one, there’s music by new artists and many that have long careers in the business, artists such as vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, the Christian McBride trio, and drummer Kendrick Scott.  I’ve heard music by most of these artists’ albums, and so far, the music sounds inspired and uplifting.

Salvant’s latest CD is For One To Love.  Stay up-to-date with her on Twitter at @cecilesalvant and check out the video for her song “Wives and Lovers” below.

Christian McBride and his trio recently released a CD entitled Live at the Village Vanguard (Mack Avenue Records). The band’s rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Lady in My Life” is outstanding. (See a live rendition of the song below).

Drummer Kendrick Scott, who recently played with Charles Lloyd at the Dakota, has a new album out called We Are the Drum (Blue Note). I’ve enjoyed his contributions to the recordings of trumpeter Terence Blanchard, who is also a Blue Note artist, so I’m confident that I will also enjoy his new musical offering. After all he is one the most in demand artists on the scene. (See a clip of “We Are the Drum” below).

Upcoming music venues around the Twin Cities have concerts that include vocalist Ginger Commodore at the Dakota on Sunday, October 11. She always gives her all and is great at interpreting a variety of songs that truly communicate to an audience of all ages.

Other thought-provoking art

Jazz documentaries and films include: What Happened, Miss Simone?, currently on Netflix. I highly recommend seeing this documentary. It truly reflects Simone’s strong personality, rare talent, amazing zest for life and passion for her craft. (See a trailer for the documentary below).

Also, keep an eye out for Miles Ahead starring Don Cheadle, who also directed it.  If you’re in New York, the premiere takes place at the New York Film Festival (NYFF) on October 11. (See a preview of the movie below)

Lastly, an exciting new exhibit featuring the work of abstract artist Jack Whitten is currently on display at the Walker Art Center.

The exhibit, entitled  “Jack Whitten: Five Decades of Painting,” is a respective on Whitten’s 50-year career.  The exhibit was at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, prior to arriving at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in September.

Jack Whitten, NY Battle Ground, 1967. Oil on canvas
Jack Whitten, NY Battle Ground, 1967.

Whitten, a native of Alabama, has been inspired by political abstract art, and deeply engaged in art history. His work has memorialized deceased friends, family, as well as addressing social issues.

According to published interviews, Whitten has said that artists such as Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden taught him not to limit your degree of expressive freedom. He approaches his work with a global aesthetic in mind. The exhibit runs until January 24, 2016, so there’s plenty of time to see it.

From new music to film and art, there’s plenty to enjoy this autumn season.


Robin James welcomes reader responses at jamesonjazz@spokesman-recorder.com. Connect with James on Twitter at @Robin_James1.