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by Norman Warwick

Among the best new releases in Jazz recently has been “Raat Ki Rani,” the lead single from Arooj Aftab’s (left) new album, Night Reign, the follow-up to her acclaimed and award-winning album, Vulture Prince.

Among excellent releases are Pillow Talk, a dramatically sultry tune from Kirk Whalum’s new album, Epic Cool, his first new studio full-length in five years.

Things Will Fall Apart is the lead single from nothing, Louis Cole’s full-length collaboration with the Dutch Metropole Orkest conducted by Jules Buckley, which will be released on August 9 via Brainfeeder.

Donny McCaslin continues his journey of musical exploration and innovations, the foundations of which he laid down with 2023’s I Want More, with his latest single, “KID.”

Fred Hersch offers his take on Billy Strayhorn’s Star-Crossed Lovers in his latest solo piano album, Silent, Listening, which Jazziz included in their list of ten new albums released in April 2024 that you need to know about.

Ups and Downs is the opening track from Following The Sun, the new album by French vibraphonist Alexis Valet, recorded in New York City with a quintet featuring Dayna Stephens, Aaron Parks, Joe Martin and Kush Abadey. Vocalist and composer Alyssa Allgood offers a homage to Betty Carter in her original composition Burn (For Betty) from her latest album.

Wheels Up is one of the original compositions from singer/songwriter John Korbel’s new album, Falling Feels Like Flying.

Pianist John Escreet opens his new album, the epicenter of your dreams, with “call it what it is,” which showcases the versatility of his exceptional quartet with saxophonist Mark Turner, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Damion Reid. TRIAD, comprising Dominick Farinacci on trumpet, Michael Ward-Bergeman on accordion and Christian Tamburr on marimba, share their take on the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ classic, “I Put a Spell on You,” featuring special guests Shenel Johns on vocals and Jamey Haddad on percussions, to close this week’s playlist.

After a promising start, Ari Joshua suffered some setbacks. The South African-born, Seattle-raised guitarist had received a scholarship to The New School in New York City, and afterwards became an in-demand Big Apple session player. But the pressures of the profession caught up with him and he moved back to Seattle. During the past few years, Joshua has been releasing music from his “vaults,” sharing tracks he made with the likes of Robert Glasper, Marco Benevento, Skerik and members of Trey Anastasio’s band. He’s also recorded in recent years with keyboardist John Medeski and drummer-percussionist Billy Martin, of Medeski, Martin and Wood fame.

Among the trio’s releases is the slow-rolling, funky single Elephant Walk, a whimsical tune that conjures the lumbering motion of a young pachyderm making its way in the world, or at least down Bourbon Street. Joshua elicits a swampy sound from his custom-made Languedoc guitar, his textured lines plodding along to the deliberate second-line rhythms set by Martin’s cow bell and enlivened by Medeski’s New Orleans honky-tonk piano and atmospheric Hammond B-3.

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