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Fresh from his second Grammy win, Robert Glasper has announced the release of his new album in June. It’s ten years since his Blue Note debut, and Robert is making a return to his acclaimed acoustic jazz trio for Covered (The Robert Glasper Trio recorded live at Capitol Studios), which will be released June 16 on Blue Note Records. It features Vicente Archer on bass and Damion Reid on drums, and tonight, 26 February the trio begins a week-long run at the famed Village Vanguard in New York City to preview the album.

Glasper, Archer and Reid—who form the original trio featured on Glasper’s first two Blue Note albums: Canvas (2005) and In My Element (2007) reconvened at the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood, California in December to record Covered in front of an intimate live audience. The material mainly consisted of covers, drawing from some of Glasper’s favorite songs by Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, Jhené Aiko, John Legend, Kendrick Lamar, and more, as well as several Glasper originals.

Glasper has also been named an official Steinway Artist, joining a select group of world-class pianists who have chosen to perform exclusively on The Family of Steinway-Designed pianos. As a Steinway Artist, Glasper joins a roster of some of the most dynamic names in piano, including Billy Joel, Lang Lang, Diana Krall, Jason Moran, and Harry Connick, Jr. Additionally, Glasper has been hard at work composing the original music for the Miles Davis film Miles Ahead, which is currently in production. The film is directed by and stars Don Cheadle.

The track listing for Covered (The Robert Glasper Trio recorded live at Capitol Studios)

1. Introduction

2. I Don’t Even Care (Robert Glasper/Macy Gray/Jean Grae)

3. Reckoner (Radiohead)

4. Barangrill (Joni Mitchell)

5. In Case You Forgot (Robert Glasper)

6. So Beautiful (Musiq Soulchild)

7. The Worst (Jhené Aiko)

8. Good Morning (John Legend)

9. Stella By Starlight (Victor Young)

10. Levels (Bilal)

11. Got Over feat. Harry Belafonte (Robert Glasper/Harry Belafonte)

12. I’m Dying of Thirst (Kendrick Lamar)

Robert Glasper’s My Element on Spotify
Robert Glasper on iTunes

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2584992_20150202075952_199055089Brazilian keyboard player, composer and singer Eliane Elias has made a string of fabulous albums since 1985, but for her new album it is something of a first. Called Made in Brazil, it is scheduled for release on 31 March, 2015 on Concord Jazz and it marks something of a musical homecoming for the multi-GRAMMY®-nominated artist. In her three-decade long career as a solo artist, Made in Brazil will be the first time she’s recorded a disc in her native Brazil since moving to the United States in 1981.

“I am completely immersed and involved in every single detail of the music and the recording process, from the birth of an idea until its completion through every aspect of the production until it reaches the public,” she explains. Elias recruited a first-class cast of Brazilian musicians that include electric bassist Marcelo Mariano; guitarists Marcus Teixeira and Roberto Menescal; drummers Edu Ribeiro and Rafael Barata; and percussionists Mauro Refosco and Marivaldo dos Santos.

The sessions include special guest performances from Mark Kibble of Take 6; her singer/songwriter-daughter Amanda Brecker; one of Brazil’s most celebrated R&B stars, Ed Motta; and the distinguished bossa nova composer Roberto Menescal.

Seven of the 12 tracks have strings, which were recorded in London at Abbey Road Studios. “It’s so touching to hear the music unfold,” she says of the orchestral arrangements after they were overdubbed onto the São Paulo sessions. “You can see the musical notes on paper, but it’s something else to hear them realized and performed by members of the London Symphonic Orchestra.”

Made in Brazil contains six Elias originals plus two Ary Barroso standards, two Roberto Menescal chestnuts, and two Antônio Carlos Jobim gems. Elias, who did all the arrangements for the basic tracks, said that she purposely wanted Made in Brazil to incorporate three generations of Brazilian composers. “But it’s not a retro record,” she clarifies. “It’s very contemporary yet with the tradition and authenticity of Brazil; it’s music of the world with Brazilian DNA.”

‘Brasil,’ composed in 1939, “is a Brazilian anthem,” enthuses Elias. “It’s reported to be the most preferred Brazilian song of the last 100 years. It’s about the beautiful things of our country, the Brazilian Brazil; its natural beauty, mixed ethnic cultures and the samba.” Elias performs Jobim’s epochal “Águas de Março (Waters of March),” which she notes is the most covered Brazilian tune in the world.” Elias’s other piece of Jobim’s music on Made in Brazil is a sublime mashup of Jobim’s ‘Este Seu Olhar’ and ‘Promessas.’

Made in Brazil and diving into Elias’ originals is a delight. It’s high time more people appreciated her exceptional talent and this album may just help do that.

Eliane Elias’s previous album on Spotify

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This week Takuya Kuroda made the UK’s Viral Top 10 which is great news for a both this talented Japanese trumpet player and jazz. The track in question is ‘Everybody Loves the Sunshine’ featuring José James on vocals. Takuya Kuroda is one of the most forward-thinking musicians around today, but for this soul jazz track he has gone back to cover a Roy Ayers classic; it was released by Ayers in 1976 as the title track of his Polydor Records album of the same name. ‘Everybody Loves the Sunshine’ has been sampled numerous times by hip hop artists including Brand Nubian, P.M. Dawn, Common, Def as well as by R&B singer Mary J. Blige. Takuya and José cover the original with both reverence and a frashness that makes it sound like a brand new track.

After studying music in Japan, Kuroda relocated to Boston to attend the Berklee College of Music. While at Berklee, Kuroda befriended vocalist José James, who invited Kuroda to record with him. Kuroda appeared on James’ 2010 sophomore album, Blackmagic, and later on No Beginning No End — for which he also wrote the horn arrangements. In 2013, Kuroda signed with Blue Note Records and recorded his third solo album, the José James-produced Rising Son, from where ‘Everybody Loves the Sunshine’ is taken.

Listen on Spotify

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