It’s summertime, so that means the Twin Cities Jazz Festival is upon us again. In the coming weeks there is plenty to celebrate, not to mention new books and new recordings to check out, too.
Happy 75th birthday (June 4), to multi-instrumentalist, bandleader and composer Paquito D’Riveria. Looking forward to having him on the Jazz88 Mainstage at the 25th TC Jazz Fest on June 23, at Mears Park in downtown St. Paul.
A happy birthday is also in order for bassist, bandleader and composer Christian McBride, who shares a born day with this author (May 31). He’ll perform at the TC Jazz Fest on June 24.
The “Jazz Night in America” radio show host is bringing along with him musicians Nicole Glover on saxophone, Ely Perlman on guitar, Mike King on piano, and Savannah Harris on drums. McBride has proven he knows how to put a great band together, so this one should be a treat.
In addition to seeing McBride and D’Riveria, this year, I look forward to seeing the Walker West Music Academy students and instructors perform at the TC Jazz Fest again. Their take on standards from the Great American Songbook is truly inspiring to watch.
Another fun jazz festival takes place on September 9—the Selby Avenue JazzFest. This year’s headliner will be saxophonist Najee, also known as Jerome Najee Rasheed.
He’s well-known for his superior sound in the smooth jazz world. Festivalgoers can expect to hear Najee play music from his 2022 album “Savoir Faire.”
In the world of jazz, some ultra-exciting news was recently announced. A recording of the performance of John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy at the Village Gate in NYC in the summer of 1961, that was once thought to be lost, was recently discovered in the New York Public Library. “Impressions,” a track from that album, can be heard on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
For NPR’s accompanying story, Nate Chinen, the director of editorial content for WRTI-FM’s Philadelphia jazz station, says, “John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy’s fearless experiment sets a new album ablaze.” The intrepid depth of their musical rapport takes center stage on a stunning new archival release, “Evenings at the Village Gate: John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy,” which Impulse will release on July 14.
Hot on the charts
For the week of June 5, JazzWeek charts included:
No. 1, biggest mover, most reported: Louis Hayes, “Exactly Right” (Salvant)
Most added (tie): Thomas Fonnesbaek and Justin Kauflin; Anthony Hervey
Highest debut: Dan Wilson
For more, visit jazzweek.com.
Jazz in literature
In the literary world, there’s reason to celebrate the publication of “Easily Slip into Another World: A Life in Music,” the autobiography of saxophonist and composer Henry Threadgill, co-written with the Schomburg Center’s Brent Hayes Edwards.
In other book news, Dexter Gordon’s widow and biographer Maxine Gordon is preparing for the publication of her next book entitled “Quartette: Stories from the Lives of Four Women Jazz Musicians—Maxine Sullivan, Velma Middleton, Melba Liston, and Shirley Scott,” (published jointly by Columbia University and Howard University Press).
Beloved singer-songwriter and guitarist Jonathan Butler released his new album, “Ubuntu,” which arrived on April 28, via Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Music Group. The 11-track collection, produced by Marcus Miller is Butler’s 10th for the label and his 28th overall release.
He told NPR, “This record is a big milestone for me, because every bit of my desire, my ambition, and my love for my country was put on this album.” His “return to roots” album features special guests including producer-bassist Miller, Stevie Wonder, Keb’Mo’ and more.
Butler defines Ubuntu as “a philosophy based in South Africa and spread by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, which states: ‘I am me because of you. You are you because of me. We are not separate. We are connected.’”
“Ubuntu” is currently #7 on the iTunes jazz chart.