It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. Nina Simone fans can now rejoice—a previously unreleased recording of the iconic artist’s set at the Newport Jazz Festival in July 1966 is out and available. Verve Records and Ume just issued “You’ve Got to Learn,” a six-song set that includes a different version of Simone’s protest anthem “Mississippi Goddam.”
Other songs include “You’ve Got to Learn,” “I Loves You, Porgy,” and “Be My Husband,” among others. For this live album, she plays piano but is also accompanied by bass, guitar, and drums.
Simone scholar Shana L. Redmond writes in the liner notes, “These are love songs and each captured something of the careful combination of intimacy and immediacy on stage for which Simone was known.”
Simone, who died in 2003, recorded almost 40 albums from 1958 through 1973, with such beloved songs as “Feeling Good,” “I Put a Spell on You,” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”
Other releases and happenings
On August 4, 2023, on what would have been Louis Armstrong’s 122nd birthday, Blue Engine Records released “Wynton Marsalis Plays Louis Armstrong’s Hot Fives and Sevens.” Featuring an A-list ensemble led by Jazz at Lincoln Center Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis, the performance takes place at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater in 2006. Marsalis played Armstrong’s Hot Five and Sevens and reimagines the magical music made by Armstrong’s seminal ensembles.
The line-up includes longtime Marsalis collaborators Wycliffe Gordon (tuba, trombone, bass, vocals); Vincent Gardner (trombone); Victor Goines (clarinet); Walter Blanding (saxophones); “Papa” Don Vappie (banjo, guitar); Jon Batiste (piano); Carlos Henriquez (bass), and Ali Jackson (drums).
Recorded in the 1920s, Armstrong’s Hot Fives and Sevens sides are well known as some of the greatest and most influential jazz sessions ever recorded. Marsalis reimagines classics from those sessions like “Heebie Jeebies,” “St. James Infirmary,” and “Basin Street Blues” for a new generation of listeners.
As the press release states, “There are perhaps no better interpreters of Armstrong’s legacy than Marsalis and his fellow musicians; and through transposing the timeless music of the 1920s to the 21st century, these expert players deliver technically flawless performances and prove Marsalis’ assertion that all eras of jazz are integrated.”
Saxophonist, bandleader, and composer Ron Blake’s upcoming October release entitled “Mistaken Identity” features Bobby Broom, Reuben Rogers, Nat Reeves, and Kobie Watkins. The first single is available to stream everywhere now.
Alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon is hitting the road along with pianist Luis Perdomo later this month to promote their upcoming album “El Arte del Bolera, Vol 2.”
Recently, Zenon was happy to officially announce that this fall he’ll be joining the Music Faculty at MIT as an assistant professor of jazz. “This is the first time this amazing institution has appointed such a position, and I’m extremely excited and honored to become part of the MIT family,” said Zenon.
Tenor saxophonist Arnett Cobb, born August 10, 1918, in Houston, TX, was known as the “Wild Man of the Tenor Sax” because of his uninhibited stomping style. My favorite album featuring Cobb is “Blow Arnett, Blow.” The album is by saxophonists Cobb and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and was recorded in 1959 for the Prestige label.
Born on August 9, 1942, in Chicago, IL, drummer Jack DeJohnette, who has played with Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Charles Lloyd, and Keith Jarrett, just turned 81 years old. He’s well known as one of the greatest drummers in modern jazz.
Here’s something to look forward to—the highly anticipated Wayne Shorter documentary “Zero Gravity” drops on Shorter’s birthday, August 25, on Prime Video. He passed on March 2, 2023.
Upcoming gigs at the Dakota include two big names in jazz now—Blue Note Records pianist Nduduzo Makhathini, and his Blue Note label mate Charles Lloyd, who returns to the Dakota with his quartet.
Makhathini is a South African jazz musician from Umgungundlovu, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. In April 2020 his studio album “Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworld” was released. His album, “In the Spirit of Ntu” was released in 2022. He draws from the church and spiritual traditions of his homeland, John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner. He’ll play the Dakota on August 30.
Jazz saxophone titan Charles Lloyd and his quartet with pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Kendrick Scott performs at the Dakota on August 31. Lloyd shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 85. Whether he’s playing the tenor saxophone or the flute, his music is always otherworldly and a joy to experience.
For more information and tickets, visit www.dakotacooks.com.