Jazz Album of the Week

June 18, 2018.  Not all duos are dynamic, and jazz duo albums tend to be described as “nice,” or “easygoing.” Blued Dharma is a duo album, and it is fairly relaxed, but the unlikely pairing of Canadian pianist and composer Adrean Farrugia and saxophonist Joel Frahm brings a little extra “cool” to the table.

June 11, 2018. On West Coast Trio, pianist and composer Roberta Piket returns to a familiar setting for the first time in over a decade. With Darek Oleszkiewicz on bass, and Joe La Barbera on the drums, the splendor of her selections shines.

June 4, 2018. It’s been quite a few years since a noteworthy jazz release included narration and movements to tell a historical story. The last one I can remember was Irvin Mayfield’s 2004 album Strange Fruit. Now, pianist and composer, and Temple University professor, Elio Villafranca has stepped up to the plate and released Cinque—the culmination of years of composing and traveling. 

May 28, 2018.  Powerhouse saxophonist Tia Fuller has always been about jazz. Even when she visited Philly as a touring member of Beyoncé’s all-female band, she would take jazz gigs in town, or hit a jam session. She’s worked with the cream of the crop in the jazz world as well, and the talent that appears on her new album, Diamond Cut, proves just that.

May 21, 2018. Renee Rosnes is one of the most accomplished pianists in jazz today. Her extensive resume is  littered with famous names, and now she's managed to release Beloved of the Sky, her seventeenth album as a bandleader. If you’re expecting to nestle in and listen to some run-of-the-mill piano jazz, don’t get too comfortable.

May 14, 2018. If you live in the Philadelphia area, chances are you know the name Josh Lawrence, even if you can’t remember why.  The trumpeter and composer has been a mainstay of the Philly jazz scene for years. On his new album Contrast, Lawrence and his band Color Theory create a kaleidoscope of shifting shades well worth a listen.

May 6, 2018.  Releasing an album that contains six original compositions, a couple of standards, a Lennon/McCartney interpretation, and a trip to church is quite a feat. At the age of 14 it might seem impossible…but not for piano phenom Joey Alexander. Eclipse is his fourth album, and it does not disappoint.

April 30, 2018. In his heyday, trumpeter Eddie Henderson was a famous multitasker. He practiced general medicine by day, and played jazz at night. Eddie’s new release Be Cool is a multitasker of an album.

April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), so we're spotlighting albums that are the benchmarks of influence and popularity. Each week we're highlighting an album that deserves to be called classic; this week's treasure is the first collaboration between Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.

April 23, 2018. We all know Van Morrison as a crooner, just different from the ones heard regularly on WRTI. On You’re Driving Me Crazy, Van Morrison teams up with Philadelphia native son, organist and trumpeter Joey DeFrancesco. The result: a jazz album that swings hard, and true.

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