Munyungo Jackson - A Tropical Christmas

Seasoned percussionist Darryl Munyungo Jackson possesses an ever-increasing collection of instruments with which to execute his craft. That is one of the reasons this warm & unassuming West Coast artist can be found in virtually any musical setting-whether it’s Funk, Pop, Jazz, Latin, Reggae, or traditional dance music of such countries as Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Haiti, Brazil & Cuba.

Despite his youthful appearance, Munyungo is no newcomer: in his over thirty years of playing, he has developed an awesome versatility & became a well-respected & much requested session, concert & tour player. This holiday season he brings us A Tropical Christmas as only he can.

Joey Alexander - A Joey Alexander Christmas (Motéma)

To celebrate the upcoming holiday season, three-time GRAMMY® nominee Joey Alexander will release A Joey Alexander Christmas, a four-track, digital only EP, on Motéma Music. Despite universally familiar traditions, Christmas has always been a holiday celebrated by each family and individual in their own personal style. With A Joey Alexander Christmas, Alexander unveils his own distinctive way to celebrate the holidays with his soulful and uplifting interpretations of the Christmas carol “O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles),” the beloved Gospel hymn “What A Friend We Have In Jesus,” (both featuring bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Eric Harland), along with a never before released track from his 2016 Countdown sessions, a solo take on the Louis Armstrong classic, “What A Wonderful World.” Alexander refers to the Christmas season as “simply the best time of year,” and as an artist who has routinely cited his faith as a central source of inspiration, the opportunity to record and release this music holds deep meaning for him.

Bob James - Espresso (Evosound)

Multiple-Grammy winner Bob James achieves his longtime ambition to return to the trio format he embraced as an up-and-coming artist. Aside from a couple of worthy covers, the rest of the tunes, penned by James, reflect the same inventiveness and musical fluency that persuaded Quincy Jones to become his mentor and champion back in 1963. “Submarine” the first single to be released, is a great example of James’ classic sound paying tribute to 1974’s Nautilus, while perfectly blending in the fresh, complex and rich textures of Espresso. His expressiveness through both writing and performance permeates the rocking minor-key blues of “Bulgogi,” the definitive cool jazz of “Topside,” the whispered beauty of “Promenade,” the turbulent, more complex yet supremely listenable “Mojito Ride” and every other moment on Espresso.

Gilad Hekselman - Ask For Chaos (Motema)

Be careful what you ask for if chaos is on the wish list. Israeli-born guitarist Gilad Hekselman invited disorder on this, his sixth outing, by employing two distinct backing bands. And there is fun to be had in spotting discrepancies between the combos. Representing the more avant elements are Zuperoctave, whilst a touch of trad comes via gHex Trio who were urged by Hekselman to keep him on his toes.  Gilad Hekselman’s passionate artistry and complexity are at the forefront of his new album Ask For Chaos.  Named Rising Star guitarist in 2017 by DownBeat Magazine, on his sixth album he combines his melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic expertise, bringing together his two touring bands – his acoustic-based gHex Trio, and his electric-leaning ZuperOctave. The result is his most compelling and innovative sound to date.

Count Basie Orchestra - All About That Basie! (Concord Jazz)

The Count Basie Orchestra, directed by Scotty Barnhart, has won 18 Grammy Awards and 20 Downbeat and Jazz Times polls – more than any other big band in jazz. All About That Basie!, was produced by eight-time Grammy Award winner Gregg Field. The upcoming album release brings together legendary artists from across jazz and pop to join and celebrate the iconic Count Basie Orchestra. Stevie Wonder, Take 6, Jon Faddis, Kurt Elling, Joey DeFrancisco and more!

Stefon Harris & Blackout - Sonic Creed (Motema)

Vibraphonist/composer/educator/bandleader Stefon Harris and Motema Music are proud to present the long-awaited new album from Stefon Harris & Blackout, Sonic Creed. The conception and birth of Sonic Creed came about as a result of Harris bursting with this music, this sound, and this album, inside of him. Sonic Creed is about music that chronicles the story of a people and their time on earth. It is a reflection of African American life in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Furthermore, it is a sonic manifestation and creed of family, community and legacy. Harris explains that, “these core assets of the Black community are the messages of Sonic Creed, and we honor our legacy by exploring the music of masters such as Bobby Hutcherson, Abbey Lincoln, Wayne Shorter and Horace Silver. Their music is timeless and is the literal aural expression of those community assets”. The album therefore serves as a representation, through Harris and Blackout’s existence and experience, of Black American life in the present. “I want to document our time on the planet in the here and NOW!

Joe Gransden - Go Getta (Cafe 290 Records)

Atlanta-based Jazz Trumpeter/vocalist moves forward in his promising career! Renaissance man Joe Gransden has a new record out on Cafe 290 Records, perfectly titled Go Getta. The title track was written for Joe by Kipper Jones and features a solo turn on sax from the great Kenny G! Gransden has wanted to lead his own big band since his youthful days as fourth trumpet in the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. On Go Getta he brings together his big band for a tight, swinging set of 14 songs. Gransden has performed worldwide and released 16 CDs under his own name. Renowned first for the hard bop approach of his trumpet, Gransden’s singing voice has been compared to that of Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra.

Keith Oxman - Glimpses (w/ David Liebman) - Capri

Keith Oxman joins forces with legendary saxophonist David Liebman for his latest release, Glimpses. The title track was composed by Liebman who plays soprano and tenor saxophones on the recording. They are backed by Keith’s regular trio of Jeff Jenkins, Ken Walker and Todd Reid who are featured on previous recordings and perform with him regularly. Highlights include a duo between pianist Jenkins and Liebman on Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood”, Oxman and Liebman’s interactions on Cedar Walton’s “Afreaka” and Oxman’s feature with the trio, the rarely heard “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman”. Four of Keith’s originals make up the remainder of the session.

Mark Masters - Our Métier (Capri Records)

Mark Masters has conceptualized ten projects for Capri Records where he arranged the music of notable composers like Grachan Moncur III, Gary McFarland, Lee Konitz, Dewey Redman, and Clifford Brown. With Our Métier, Masters set out to create an entire project of his own thematic material. His new recording consists of eight compositions that showcase seven of the most adventurous improvisers in jazz, Andrew Cyrille, Oliver Lake, Mark Turner, Tim Hagans, Gary Foster, Dave Woodley and Putter Smith. Additionally, Masters incorporates the unique voice of Anna Mjoll as an orchestral color. Our Métier will one day be regarded as a classic ‘free-bop’ large ensemble statement. The music is an artist’s canvas filled with all the hues and textures that flow from Masters’ heart and soul.

Ben Wendel - The Seasons (Motema)

The Seasons is a forthcoming album of studio recordings and reinterpretations of Ben Wendel’s compositions that he had performed in a duo with various musicians on his acclaimed YouTube series of the same name. For this album and the tour dates to follow it, the saxophonist-composer formed a band with guitarist Gilad Hekselman, pianist Aaron Parks, drummer Eric Harland and bassist Matt Brewer. Each of its 12-tracks is inspired by the compositions of Tchaikovsky and dedicated to a specific month of the year.

Saxophonist/composer/bandleader/educator/catalyst Ben Wendel is based in Brooklyn, NY. The Seasons is not only a representation of the passage of time but a statement on how technology has changed how artists communicate and share art.