The best new jazz albums - Jazzwise Editor’s Choice: September 2022

Friday, August 19, 2022

Avishai Cohen Trio, Julian Lage, Snarky Puppy and Lizz Wright are all among this month's best new releases

Avishai Cohen Trio

Shifting Sands


Avishai Cohen (b), Elchin Shirinov (p) and Roni Kaspi (d)

Three supremely gifted musicians, playing first-rate originals and pushing each other on in the process. What's not to like? One of 2022's best, without doubt. Kevin Whitlock

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Billy Drummond & Freedom of Ideas

Valse Sinistre

Cellar Music Group

Billy Drummond (d), Dayna Stephens (saxes), Micah Thomas (p) and Dezron Douglas (b)

Impressively, Drummond captures the contours of Bley’s village-band aesthetic through the sonics of a feisty, contemporary mainstream, sax-and-rhythm quartet. Drummond’s style is rooted in Tony Williams’ work – the album closer 'Lawra' was composed by the late drummer – and here explosive cymbals flesh out texture and drive the band. Mike Hobart

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Geoff Eales Love Sacred and Profane

Geoff Eales

Love Sacred and Profane


Geoff Eales (p, ky, org), Jason Yarde (as), Mark Lockheart (ss), Ben Waghorn (as, ss, bcl), Andy Findon (f, penny whistle), Carl Orr (g), Matt Ridley (b), Sophie Alloway (d), Shirley Smart (clo), Brigitte Beraha, Jackie Hicks, Brenda Ford and Jenny Howe (v)

You have to love Geoff Eales, not simply for his fabulous keys and compositional skills but the utter passion of his vision. Love Sacred and Profane is his masterwork. Andy Robson

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Chris Hodgkins and His Band A Salute to Humphrey Lyttelton

Chris Hodgkins and His Band

A Salute to Humphrey Lyttelton


Chris Hodgkins, Noel Langley (t), Henry Lowther (t, flhn), Mark Bassey (tb), Diane McLoughlin (as, ss), Alex Clarke (ts, cl), Charlotte Glasson (bar s, cl, penny whistle), Jinjoo Yoo (p), Max Brittain (g), Amy Baldwin (b) and Buster Birch (d)

An invigorating tribute to a hero but more than that, a chance to hear present-day soloists responding valiantly to a past master’s inspiration. Let’s hope there’s more of the same to come. Peter Vacher

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Julian Lage View With a Room

Julian Lage

View With a Room

Blue Note

Julian Lage, Bill Frisell (g), Jorge Roeder (b), and Dave King (d)

It is one of those albums that does not betray its secrets readily, and can be returned to time and again when a fresh nuance, an inspired moment of counterpoint or perfectly framed melodic variation reveal themselves to contribute to a broader understanding of the inspired creativity at work here. Stuart Nicholson

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Ethan Philion Meditations On Mingus

Ethan Philion

Meditations On Mingus


Ethan Philion (b, arr), Russ Johnson, Victor Garcia (t), Brendan Whalen, Norman Palm (tb), Rajiv Halim (as), Geof Bradfield (ts, bcl, f), Max Bessesen (ts, as, f), Alexis Lombre (p) and Dana Hall (d)

If this makes you want to hear the originals again, then fair enough, but these reinterpretations are sufficiently compelling in their own right. Brian Priestley

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Snarky Puppy Empire Central

Snarky Puppy

Empire Central


Michael League (el b), Bill Laurance, Bobby Sparks, Shaun Martin (ky), Justin Stanton (ky, t), Bob Lanzetti (el g), Mark Lettieri, Chris McQueen (g), Mike ‘Maz’ Maher, Jay Jennings (t), Chris Bullock (ts, f, cl), Bob Reynolds (ts), Zach Brock (vn), Nate Werth (perc), Marcelo Woloski, Keita Ogawa (perc, d), Jamison Ross, Larnell Lewis and Jason ‘JT’ Thomas (d)

With 12 musicians contributing 16 tracks, there’s a feeling of each composer writing for their idea of Snarky, an interesting experiment that doesn’t end up bringing too much new, but instead consolidates, tightens and polishes their impressive band sound. Hugh Morris

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Caleb Wheeler Curtis Heatmap

Caleb Wheeler Curtis


Imani Records

Caleb Wheeler Curtis (as, ss), Orrin Evans (p), Eric Revis (b) and Gerald Cleaver (d)

Heatmap is truly exhilarating post-Ornette free-jazzmaking, and confirms just how much rich invention that method can still set loose. John Fordham

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Holding Space: Lizz Wright Live in Berlin

Lizz Wright

Holding Space: Lizz Wright Live in Berlin

Blues & Greens Records

Lizz Wright (v), Chris Bruce (g), Bobby Ray Sparks II (ky), Ben Zwerin (b) and Ivan Edwards (d)

With stunning recorded sound, a wonderfully attentive audience, and an irresistible communion between singer and band, it’s the most transporting and beautiful album I’ve heard this year. Peter Quinn

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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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