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December 2019

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She made her name channeling the Gypsy spirit of Reinhardt and Grappelli into modern vocal jazz. But now, as Allen Morrison details, the French-born chanteuse is venturing into new areas, both musical and geographic: ditching New York for New Orleans, breaking up her acclaimed quintet, and boldly reinterpreting the songs of Stephen Sondheim.

Before Nat Cole was a solo hitmaker, he was leader of the King Cole Trio. Knew that already, eh? What you may not know is how much that trio recorded before signing with Capitol in 1944—seven CDs’ worth of music, now newly compiled in a deluxe set by Resonance. Michael J. West gets the background on the box, and John Pizzarelli shares his nine favorite Nat tunes.

A Social Call was no fluke; Jazzmeia Horn’s sophomore disc, Love and Liberation, makes clear that as both a singer and a songwriter, she is the genuine article. In a forthright Q&A, the 28-year-old phenom talks to Ted Panken about her church roots, her vocal approach, and her business plans—and describes herself as “living jazz.”

Steeped in jazz but not exactly born out of it, this British singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist has gone from Internet sensation to genre-straddling auteur in six years. He’s currently in the middle of putting out the four-volume epic Djesse, and Martin Johnson got the scoop on it from right where all the fuss started: Collier’s bedroom in London.

Opening Chorus: A report from the 40th Detroit Jazz Festival, Aaron Weinstein, Youn Sun Nah, Chris Lightcap
Farewells to Harold Mabern, Larry Willis, Richard Wyands, and Ginger Baker
Chronology: Ethan Iverson on Shirley Horn
Artist’s Choice: Carmen Lundy singles out some modern ancestors

A Before & After listening session with Laurin Talese
An Overdue Ovation for Laurie Antonioli
Audio Files: Brent Butterworth on the year in gear
Chops: Niki Haris and Catherine Russell talk background singing
Gearhead: Holiday gift suggestions for the musically inclined

Album Reviews: The Bad Plus, Jon Batiste, Nicholas Payton, and more