The beat goes on in spite of pandemic

Wikipedia Ambrose Akinmusire

New jazz to lift the spirit

We all are social distancing due to the pandemic, and yet music development still happens. Livestream events featuring musicians from the jazz community continue to take place weekly. In fact, many artists have recently released new music and planned debuts go on. It’s very encouraging and inspiring to see.

The music is transforming, as is the way it’s presented. More importantly, as musicians are struggling, they are finding ways to improvise and make the most of the moment. Although resources for performing arts organizations aren’t as available as they once were, that isn’t stopping bold creativity or ambition from moving forward.

Jazz organizations are allowing music lovers access to impressive previously released music and past shows. Jazz at Lincoln Center is offering music via their vault and SFJAZZ is encouraging fans to sign up for an online concert series via digital memberships. And as many artists continue to make new music amidst this uncertain time, many will be rewarded.

A newly formed Jazz Coalition Commission is currently working to raise and distribute money for struggling musicians. To start, there will be $1,000 micro-grants to create new music. So far, $50,000 has been raised. For more information, visit jazzcoalition.org.

It’s good to see the global jazz and improvised music community uniting and taking action.

South African pianist Nduduzo Makhathini’s debut album, “Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworlds” was just released on Blue Note Records. With his new album, he highlights his country’s culture.

Later this summer, Blue Note will also release pianist Gerald Clayton’s debut album. In the meantime, he can be heard on saxophonist Charles Lloyd’s recent Blue Note album “8: Kindred Spirits (Live from The Lobero)”.

And Blue Note is on a roll, as they will also release trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire’s new album “On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment” on June 5. The first jazz concert he attended was the Art Ensemble of Chicago. He gives a tribute to that performance with this new release.

By engaging in our new normal, artists are indeed creating something new and better for the future. What can you do to support recording artists today? Probably the best way to support them is by purchasing their music via iTunes, @Cdbaby, and Amazon, or by going directly to the artist’s website.

Some artists are also performing live stream concerts for suggested donations. One such artist is New Orleans trumpeter and composer Nicholas Payton. He has released not one, but two new albums, including “Quarantine with Nick,” and “Maestro Rhythm King” on his own label PAYTONE Records and available at nicholaspayton.com.

You can find a complete guide to information about cancellations and online events in the age of COVID-19 at jazztimes.com.