Editor's Choice: April 2023 | The best new jazz albums

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Featuring outstanding new albums from Claire Martin, Dave Liebman, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Rymden and more...

Karl Berger/Kirk Knuffke

Heart Is A Melody


Karl Berger (vb, ky, melodica), Kirk Knuffke (ct), Jay Anderson (b) and Matt Wilson (d)

'So varied is the music here, colloquial, yet challenging, that these 10 performances merit a blow-by-blow study. For now, here are four free thinkers, happy to play off each other, and finding a way that satisfies. Wow!' 

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Scott Dunn with Claire Martin and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Scott Dunn with Claire Martin and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

I Watch You Sleep

Stunt Records

Scott Dunn (arr, cond, p), Claire Martin (v), Rob Barron (p), Ryan Quigley (flhn), Jeremy Brown (b), Matt Skelton (d) and the RPO

'A flawless song list comprising Richard Rodney Bennett originals plus some of his favourite standards, stunning arrangements by conductor Scott Dunn, plus the unfailingly mellifluous vocals of Claire Martin, combine to produce an extraordinarily beautiful tribute to Bennett which marks the tenth anniversary of his death.'

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Kahil El’Zabar Ethnic Heritage Ensemble

Kahil El’Zabar Ethnic Heritage Ensemble

Spirit Gatherer: Tribute To Don Cherry


Kahil El’Zabar (perc, v), David Ornette Cherry (ky, various intruments), Dwight Trible (v), Alex Harding (bar s) and Corey Wilkes (t)

'The great joy of listening to (or better still, watching) free music has always been witnessing the exchange of ideas – and here the two musicans react to each other with dizzying, dazzling speed.'

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The Heavy Hitters

The Heavy Hitters

Cellar Music

Mike LeDonne (p), Eric Alexander (ts), Jeremy Pelt (t), Vincent Herring (as), Peter Washington (b), Kenny Washington (d) and Rale Micic (g)

'The feel is like a classic Woody Shaw session for Milestone declamatory horns, uptempo minor key vamps, twisty changes alternating with modal stretch outs, with excitement and hot blowing to the forefront.'

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Dave Liebman Live At Smalls

Dave Liebman

Live At Smalls

Cellar Music

Dave Liebman (s), Peter Evans (t), Leo Genovese (p), John Hébert (b) and Tyshawn Sorey (d)

'It never takes long for the music to find its way into deep swing, driven forward by Tyshawn Sorey’s pinging ride cymbal and laconic punctuation, allowing pianist Leo Genovese to come alive with dexterous splashes and clipped witticisms.'

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Rymden + Kork

Rymden and Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra (Kork)

Rymden + Kork


Bugge Wesseltoft (p, ky), Dan Berglund (b), Magnus Öström (d, elec) with the Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra (Kork) conducted by Lars Erik Gudim

'In sheer scope and ambition alone, Rymden + Kork counts as the trio’s best to date.'

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Cécile McLorin Salvant Mélusine

Cécile McLorin Salvant



Cécile McLorin Salvant (v, ky), Godwin Louis (as, whistles), Daniel Swenberg (g), Aaron Diehl, Sullivan Fortner (p), Paul Sikivie, Luques Curtis (b), Kyle Poole, Lawrence Leathers, Obed Calvaire (d) and Weedie Braimah (perc)

'Beautifully recorded at The Bunker Studio and Brooklyn Recording, Brooklyn, Salvant continues to confound and delight at every turn.'

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Returning Weather

Christine Tobin

Returning Weather

Trail Belle Records

Christine Tobin (v), Cora Venus Lunny (vn, vla), David Power (uilleann pipes, whistles), Phil Robson (g, elec) and Steve Hamilton (p)

'Christine Tobin creates a singularly beautiful sound-world which draws in elements from traditional Irish music, jazz and contemporary classical in an entirely seamless way.'

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Keith & Julie Tippett – Couple in Spirit Sound on Stone

Keith & Julie Tippett – Couple in Spirit

Sound on Stone

Discus Music

Keith Tippett (p, perc, zither, music boxes, v) and Julie Tippetts (v, perc, zither, music boxes)

'Anyone who ever saw the two perform together will have been struck by the depth of their mutuality both as musicians and as partners. Sound on Stone is, inevitably, a poignant reflection of a true Couple in Spirit.'

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Enzo Zirilli’s Zirobop Ten Past Never

Enzo Zirilli’s Zirobop

Ten Past Never


Enzo Zirilli (d, perc, v), Rob Luft, Alessandro Chiappetta (g) and Misha Mullov-Abbado (b)

'Thirteen tracks, highly varied and often quite startling. Almost a new kind of jazz, really. That’s Zirobop.'

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Read the reviews of all of these albums – and many more – in the April issue of Jazzwise magazine. Never miss an issue – subscribe today

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