Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

October 2021

Learn about subscription options here.


Born into a jazz family, raised among legends, Georgia Anne Muldrow has been blazing her own trail—self-directed, self-produced, self-played—for the past 15 years. Her friend, saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, says she’s “her own universe.” Could she now be opening up to other universes too? A.D. Amorosi investigates.


It’s a question that people have been asking ever since the name arose, and it’s only gained further connotations as both the name and the music have evolved. Melvin Gibbs argues that we should be asking it again in light of recent history, and players such as Vijay Iyer, Ambrose Akinmusire, and MonoNeon weigh in.


Today the trumpeter, composer, and creative music paragon can look forward to his 80th birthday in December and back on the most productive decade of his life. Jackson Sinnenberg engages Smith on both topics, gets the scoop on multiple upcoming projects, and discovers what Wadada really thinks about the word “improvisation.” 

Wadada Leo Smith. (Photo: R.I. Sutherland-Cohen)
Wadada Leo Smith (Photo: R.I. Sutherland-Cohen)


When he was a kid, his father was a part-time opera singer. Now he’s premiering his own second opera at the Metropolitan in New York—the first Black composer ever to be so honored. It’s a heady moment, but in conversation with E.E. Bradman, Blanchard shows he hasn’t forgotten who and what brought him here. 

JT Notes
Opening Chorus: Nicholas Payton is the Zen Gangster; Newport Jazz 2021; Sarah Wilson’s multiple paths; plus British trombonist Nathaniel Cross, Navajo trumpeter Delbert Anderson, and farewells
Chronology: Howard McGhee 
Before & After: Gerald Clayton 
Overdue Ovation: Ed Neumeister

Audio Files: Brent Butterworth on multiroom audio
Chops: Brass ensembles of an unusual stripe
Gearhead: The Wagner tuba 
Artist’s Choice: Grégoire Maret on the harmonica and beyond

Reviews: Mario Pavone’s two closing statements, Alice Coltrane, Michael League, Bill Evans, Somi, Marc Ribot, Samara Joy, and more  

Cover image by Cedric Angeles