Derrick Hodge lives in a world that most modern jazz musicians can only dream to be a part of. A world where he can afford to take creative risks and still maintain his relevance in the fiercely competitive 21st Century jazz scene. Fortunately these risks frequently pay off, and have led to Grammy Awards, recordings with Robert Glasper, Mulgrew Miller, Clark Terry, Terence Blanchard, Common, Q-Tip, and Kanye West (just to name a few), and a recent performance at The White House as part of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series and President Obama’s SXSL music festival. Simply calling Hodge a successful musician would trivialize how important of a figure he has become in modern jazz.
Sélébeyoné, released two months ago under Pi recordings, does two things really well: it is a better hip-hop album than most of the jazz-centric rap releases and it's an excellent foray into jazz fusion. Steve Lehman, with principle duties as composer and alto sax, along with vocalists HPrizm and Gaston Bandimic, fuse American, French and Senegalese sounds that, like the band itself, is greater than the sum of it's parts.
"Mommas been crying and they gon keep crying. Black folk been dying and they gon keep dying. Police been firing and they gon keep firing." These are the first lines uttered by Big K.R.I.T. on "Might Not Be Ok", the newest single by Kenneth Whalum, this time stretching out as a vocalist as opposed to his usual work on the saxophone. This sets the tone for the rest of the song which expresses deep anger towards the ongoing plague that is police brutality and the killing of African-Americans by members of law enforcement. Deeply moving and unnerving, "Might Not Be Ok" is a sign of the times, a testament to current civil unrest and a hope that if we stand up and refuse to remain silent, things will change.
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah debuted a new project last night at Harlem Stage in NYC with a repeat performance tonight, the shows both sold out. The melding of Stretch Music and Trap Music has us melting at the awesomeness. But if you’re like us, you probably can’t make it to NYC in time. So if you’re still down to catch a Christian Scott gig tonight from the comfort of your own home, check out this full concert from this Summer’s Jazz des Cinq Continents Festival in France. Featuring Elena Pinderhughes, Braxton Cook, Lawrence Fields, Kris Funn and Corey Fonville.
If there's one thing I find reassurance in within the midst of a depressing world, it's the nerdery of Darcy James Argue. The man can go in hard about coffee, about bagels, about politics, about the music industry, about every nut and bolt necessary to compose his music. On his latest release with his big band, Secret Society, out now on New Amsterdam Records called Real Enemies, Argue applies his nerdery to conspiracy theories.