Editor's Choice: May 2024 | The best new jazz albums

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

This month we welcome new releases from Fred Hersch, Kandace Springs, Black Lives, Amaro Freitas, Equal Spirits, Bill Frisell, Mark Lockheart

Black Lives

People Of Earth

Jammin’ Colours 

Reggie Washington (b, el b) Christie Dashiell, Tutu Puoane (v), Sharriff Simmons (spoken word), Jean-Paul Bourelly, David Gilmore, Adam Falcon, Mars Milton (g, v) Pierrick Pédron (as), Jacques Schwarz-Bart (ts), Marcus Strickland (ts, bcl), Andy Milne, Grégory Privat, Federico Gonzalez Peña, (p, ky), Gene Lake, Marque Gilmore, Sonny Troupé, Julian Singh (d, perc, samples) and DJ Grazzhoppa (turntables). Rec. 2023

‘More than a supergroup, Black Lives is a musical movement that delivers social and political messages that need to be heeded in the form of music that really should be heard the world over.’ Kevin Le Gendre

Equal Spirits

Wise and Waiting

Ubuntu/ECN Music

Raphael Clarkson (tb), Nosihe Zulu, Nokwanda Shabangu (v), Chris Batchelor (t, flhn), Mark Lockheart (ts), Yonela Mnana (p), Elliot Galvin (sampling/ processing), Amaeshi Ikechi, Ben Rowarth (b), Siphiwe Shiburi (d), Judy Treggor (f, picc), Naomi Burrell (vn), Alison D’Souza (vla), Zosia Jagodzinska (clo, b), Chloe Morgan, Rosie Middleton, Michael Solomon Williams (v, a), Sue Addison (alto/tenor sackbut), Jeremy West (cornetto/tenor cornetto), Phil Merriman (org, syn, el p), Junior-Alli Balogun (perc), Rosie Bergonzi (perc, tubular bells) and Yuval Juba Wetzler (elec perc). Rec. date not stated

‘The legacy of the great South African generations that have included Hugh Masekela, Abdullah Ibrahim and Bheki Mseleku, as well as their European champions like Keith Tippett and Django Bates have rarely been celebrated as empathically and ecstatically as this.’ John Fordham

Amaro Freitas


Psychic Hotline 

Amaro Frietas (p, v, perc), Shabaka Hutchings (f, v), Jeff Parker (g, v), Viva Nana (whistles), Hamid Drake (d), Brandee Younger (hp) and Aniel Someillan (b). Rec. 2024

‘The first half of Freitas’s audio-excursion is a leaf-rustling, wind-whistling, bird-calling adventure at once soothing and invigorating. inside his prepared piano are seeds, clothes, dominos and bits of wood - or if you like, sunsets and rivers, rainforests and thunderstorms, jungle spirits and ancestral knowledge.’ Jane Cornwell

Bill Frisell


Blue Note 

Bill Frisell (g), Thomas Morgan (b), Rudy Royston (d), Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, Alexander Hanson (cond), Umbria Jazz Orchestra, Manuele Morbidini (cond) and Michael Gibbs (arr). Rec. January 2022

‘The repertoire stretches from staples of Frisell’s songbook such as ‘Strange Meeting’ (with its gently dreamy harmonies turning to softly early-rockish guitar tones) to a gently swinging, orchestrally-lilting ‘Sweet Rain’, which Gibbs originally wrote in the 1960s for Stan Getz. Striking versions of standard songs include a tonally gleaming but wistful ‘Lush Life’ and a chorally-textured and reverential ‘Beautiful Dreamer’.’ John Fordham

Fred Hersch

Silent, Listening


Fred Hersch (p). Rec. May 2023

‘The sinister, slowly expanding aural landscape of the title track (a Hersch original) is as much on the borders of free jazz as anything this master of touch and subtlety has ever produced. Yet, by contrast, his ‘Little Song’ is sensitively joyous, its spiky melody singing over a typically challenging Hersch accompaniment.’ Alyn Shipton

Mark Lockheart



Mark Lockheart (ts, ss), Laura Jurd, Mike Soper (t), Harry Maund (tb), Jim Rattigan, Anna Drysdale (fr h), Nathaniel Facey (as), George Crowley (cl), James Allsopp (cl, b cl), Rowland Sutherland (fl, alo fl), John Parricelli (g), Tom Herbert (b) and Dave Smith (d). Rec. 12 and 13 February 2023

‘From the modest opening figures of ‘Morning Smiles’ it evolves in a way that makes use of the expanded harmonic palette the permutation of instruments Lockheart has chosen, and as the album develops from track to track it is apparent he has come up with a very personal and original slant on the use of jazz improvisation and harmonies over a rock-influenced rhythmic conception.’ Stuart Nicholson

Kandace Springs

Run Your Race

SRP Records 

Kandace Springs (v, p, ky) plus various personnel. Rec. date not stated

‘With Run Your Race, Springs not only honours the legacy of her beloved father but also invites listeners on a heartfelt journey of love, loss and the unwavering power of music to heal the soul.’ Peter Quinn

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