The best new jazz albums: Editor's Choice, April 2021

Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Editor's pick of the best new albums reviewed in the April 2021 issue of Jazzwise, featuring Charles Lloyd, Gretchen Parlato, Archie Shepp & Jason Moran, Yoko Miwa Trio, Georgia Mancio & Alan Broadbent, Hedvig Mollestad Trio and more

Below you will find extracts from the original Jazzwise reviews from the April 2021 issue, which you can enjoy in full (along with many thousands more) in the new Jazzwise Reviews Database. For more information, please visit:

Georgia Mancio & Alan Broadbent

Quiet Is The Star

Roomspin Records

A follow-up to their outstanding Songbook album released in 2017, Quiet Is The Star presents a further nine beautifully crafted songs from the dream pairing of pianist/composer Alan Broadbent and vocalist/lyricist Georgia Mancio. Produced once again by Andrew Cleyndert, highlights include ‘When You’re Gone From Me’, a song that features music originally penned by Broadbent at the tender age of 16 which – over half a century later – takes on a new lease of life here courtesy of Mancio’s poignant lyrics... Peter Quinn

Read the review in the Jazzwise Reviews Database



Many Worlds


This Melbourne-based ensemble, whose last album, 2017’s Arrow of Time, picked up plenty of plaudits over here (Gilles Peterson, Jamie Cullum, Courtney Pine and Don Letts are all fans), take as their starting point on their third long-player the 1970s sounds of the Black Jazz and Strata-East labels, as well as UK contemporaries like Maisha and Nubya Garcia. The result is a bubbling spiritual jazz stew that doesn’t break any new ground, but which is so well – and lovingly – executed that it’s ultimately impossible to ignore... Kevin Whitlock

Read the review in the Jazzwise Reviews Database

Yoko Miwa Trio

Songs of Joy


The new release from Japanese pianist Yoko Miwa has an appealing lockdown title. Who couldn’t do with a little joy right about now? And this 11-cut disc certainly delivers on its titular promise. The recording comes out of Miwa’s response to the pandemic, which, the Berklee professor explains, was to compose every day. Accordingly there are five new originals, paired with six covers. ‘The one emotion that unites all the songs is one of JOY,’ Miwa says, not at all misleadingly: there’s a splendid, irrepressible energy about these tracks... Robert Shore

Read the review in the Jazzwise Reviews Database

Adrian Younge

The American Negro

Jazz Is Dead

Ambitious in reach, unapologetic in stance, insightful and deeply nuanced, The American Negro is a critique detailing the systematic racism that affects people of colour and a tracing of the evolution of freedom. Delivered across multiple art platforms – as a film, a four-part podcast and this 26-track album – the project is the magnum opus of Adrian Younge, the LA-based producer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, erstwhile law professor and with A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammed, the co-boss of label du jour, Jazz is Dead... Jane Cornwell

Read the review in the Jazzwise Reviews Database

Gretchen Parlato



In her first recording as leader since her Grammy-nominated 2013 album Live in NYC, Flor sees vocalist, songwriter and producer Gretchen Parlato stepping with delight into an entirely new sound-world created by her core trio of guitarist and musical director Marcel Camargo, percussionist Léo Costa and cellist Artyom Manukyan... Peter Quinn

Read the review in the Jazzwise Reviews Database

Archie Shepp & Jason Moran

Let My People Go


In saxophonist Archie Shepp’s lengthy and illustrious career, he has had a string of esteemed piano partners: Horace Parlan, Joachim Kuhn, Siegfried Kessler and Mal Waldron. Each duo has set a high artistic bar, but the latest incumbent, Jason Moran, is more than able to pass muster, as well he might given his own extensive experience of working with horn players as gifted as Charles Lloyd, Sam Rivers and Greg Osby. Above all this new work is a significant encounter across generations as 83-year-old Shepp and 45-year-old Moran have had different life experiences and career paths... Kevin Le Gendre

Read the review in the Jazzwise Reviews Database

Charles Lloyd & The Marvels

Tone Poem

Blue Note Tone Poet

The absence of vocals places Lloyd and his ensemble centre stage for a more detailed update on their direction of travel. What becomes clear – if it was not clear already – is the addition of the guitar ‘choir’ provides unexpected depth and resonance to the time honoured configuration of sax plus piano, bass and drums... Stuart Nicholson

Hedvig Mollestad Trio

Ding Dong. You’re Dead

Rune Gramophon

That Mollestad would love to have played on Miles’ Live/Evil recordings is the giveaway. This is a guitarist whose writing and playing has such intensity, you fear she may spontaneously combust. Her colleagues in the coven, Bjornstad and Brekken, joyously collaborate in the highly organised mayhem... Andy Robson

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