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

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Introducing outstanding new albums from Bebel Gilberto, Sammy Figueroa, Emma Rawicz, Tyshawn Sorey and more

johnathan blake passage

Johnathan Blake


Blue Note

Johnathan Blake (d), Immanuel Wilkins (as), Joel Ross (vb), David Virelles (p, ky) and Dezron Douglas (b)

'Running through this varied and absorbing record are Johnathan Blake’s reflections on and tributes to his late father, the violinist John Blake Jr, who died in 2014. After a solo drum memory of fellow percussionist Lawrence Leathers, the band launches into ‘Passage’ which has a long alto solo by Wilkins at its core, but an equally strong and direct contribution from Virelles...' Alyn Shipton 

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Jeremy Dutton Anyone is Better Than Here

Jeremy Dutton

Anyone is Better Than Here


Jeremy Dutton (d), Ben Wendel (ts), Ambrose Akinmusire (t), Joel Ross (vib), James Francies (p), Mike Moreno (g), Matt Brewer and Daryl Johns (b)

'This is a fine self-released debut from a young artist spreading wings that should take him a long way...' John Fordham

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Bebel Gilberto João

Bebel Gilberto


PIAS Recordings

Bebel Gilberto (v), plus various personnel including Guilherme Monteiro (g, arr)

'Written by Gilberto Gil and the first of four songs from João Gilberto, ‘Eu Vim De Bahia’ is a paean to the Bahia region of Brazil, while in ‘É Preciso Perdoar’ and the enigmatic ‘Undiú’, both standouts, the singer captures the phrasing and intimacy of her father’s delivery to a remarkable degree...' Peter Quinn

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Sammy Figueroa Searching for a Memory

Sammy Figueroa

Searching for a Memory 

Ashé Records

Sammy Figueroa (perc, v), Aymée Nuviola (v), Miguel Zenón, Felipe LaMoglia (s), Gonzalo Rubalcaba (p), John Daversa (t, arr), Magela Herrera (f), Ricardo Rodriguez (b) and Munir Hossn (g, perc)

'Apart from perhaps Ray Barretto, Tito Puente and Mongo Santamaria, few percussionists ever become household names. But if only on the evidence of this set, Figueroa belongs in that tiny, select group...' Peter Jones

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Nite Bjuti

Nite Bjuti

Nite Bjuti

Whirlwind Recordings

Candice Hoyes (v, pedals), Mimi Jones (b, pedals) and Val Jeanty (perc, d, elec, pedals)

'Much of the material on this eponymous debut feels like a single fertile melodic or rhythmic idea that is allowed to grow in all manner of unexpected ways that reflect profound Caribbean folklore and ritual in creative collision with technology that does not have the rigidity or bloodlessness of much contemporary digital production...' Kevin Le Gendre 

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Emma Rawicz Chroma

Emma Rawicz



Emma Rawicz (ts, f, bcl), Ivo Neame, Ant Law (g), Conor Chaplin (b), Asaf Sirkis (d, v) and Immy Churchill (v)

'The splendour of Chroma is that it’s an ensemble work. Neame, Law and Sirkis have been powerful mentors in Rawicz’ meteoric development, and Chroma was very much written with their fearless voices in mind. And the three takes on the brief tune ‘Xanadu’ (a grey green, not the Olivia Newton-John single!) illustrate the band’s to-and-fro self-reflexivity...' Andy Robson

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Tyshawn Sorey Continuing

Tyshawn Sorey


Pi Recordings

Tyshawn Sorey (d), Aaron Diehl (p) and Matt Brewer (b)

'Very few jazz piano-trios in that long-honed method's brilliant history can have played with quite this spellbinding equilibrium of understatement and simmering power...' John Fordham

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David Virelles  Carta

David Virelles 



David Virelles (p, comp), Ben Street (b) and Eric McPherson (d)

'My word, this is good. Renowned Cuban pianist/composer Virelles is joined by a first-class rhythm section for this, his eighth album as leader, and debut for Intakt. He wrote eight of the nine numbers on this superb (and refreshingly accessible) collection, which combines cerebral improvisation with dreamily poetic expression...' Kevin Whitlock

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

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