Jenn Wasner of the acclaimed duo Wye Oak (featuring drummer/multi-instrumentalist Andy Stack) will be releasing her second full-length as Flock of Dimes, Head of Roses, on April 2. The album was co-produced by Nick Sanborn and recorded with a small group of collaborators in quarantine at Betty’s in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with input from drummer MATT MCCAUGHAN (Bon Iver, Lambchop, Hiss Golden Messenger), guitarist Meg Duffy (Hand Habits), and saxophonist Adam Schatz (Landlady). Head of Roses follows Wasner’s 2016 debut album, If You See Me, Say Yes. The first single, “Two,” is currently on streaming sites and on Youtube. Matt McCaughan was recently a guest on Death Cab for Cutie drummer Jason McGerr’s Refuge in Practice video series. You can watch it here.
Pianist Shai Maestro (Avishai Cohen, Mark Guiliana’s Jazz Quartet) has released his second album as a leader, Human, on ECM. The follow-up to his debut, The Dream Thief, was recorded at Studios la Buissonne and produced by ECM founder Manfred Eicher. On the album, Maestro’s trio with fellow Israeli OFRI NEHEMYA (Eli Degibri, Avishai Cohen, Omer Avital) on drums and Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder becomes a quartet with the addition of American trumpeter Philip Dizack. “The music definitely evolved since The Dream Thief,” says the pianist. “We are all different people now, and when music gives so much room for interpretation and improvisation, [it] changes with you. You grow as a human and the music grows with you. And living in New York changes you very quickly.”
On February 5, soprano Janinah Burnett released her debut studio album, Love the Color of Your Butterfly, featuring drummer TERREON “TANK” GULLY (Dianne Reeves, Stefon Harris, Christian McBride), who also produced the recording. The singer — who’s the daughter of drummer Carl Burnett (Sarah Vaughan, Freddie Hubbard, Marvin Gaye, Horace Silver) and writer, educator, and artist Imani Constance — refers to the meld of opera and jazz styles as “clazz,” which is also reflected in the name of her label, Clazz Records. Other styles represented in the singer’s aesthetic include art song, oratorio, spirituals, blues, and soul. The project is an extension of Burnett’s multimedia performance piece I, Too Sing America: An Artistic Lament for the Fallen, which features her own writings and includes photography, art songs, freedom songs, and spirituals. The show is rooted in education, activism, committed artistic expression, and healing while honoring those who have been killed due to social injustice.
Indie-rock icons Matt Sweeney (Chavez, the Desert Sessions) and Will Oldham (a.k.a. Bonnie “Prince” Billy) have released the single “Hall of Death” in advance of their album Superwolves, which will be available digitally on April 30 and physically on June 18 on Drag City. “Hall of Death,” which follows the previously released single “Make Worry for Me,” was written with Tuareg guitarist and producer Ahmoudou Madassane. The song features Oldham and Sweeney in their respective roles of singer and guitarist, recording live in the studio with Madassane on rhythm electric guitar and his bandmates SOULEYMAN IBRAHIM on drumset, Mdou Moctar on lead guitar, and Mike Coltun on bass. Superwolves is the follow-up to Sweeney and Oldham’s first collaboration, the 2005 release Superwolf. Drummers RYAN SAWYER (At the Drive-In, Boredoms, Thurston Moore) and PETER TOWNSEND (Palace Music) also appear on the album.
Bassist Santi Debriano’s new Album, Flash of the Spirit (out now on Truth Revolution Records), features drummers TOMMY CAMPBELL (Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Kevin Eubanks, Jon Anderson) and FRANCISCO MELA (Kenny Barron, Joe Lovano, Paquito D’Rivera) and percussionist VALTINHO ANASTACIO (McCoy Tyner, Ryuichi Sakamoto), alto saxophonist Justin Robinson, flutist Andrea Brachfeld, pianist Bill O’Connell, and jazz mandolinist Tim Porter. The album title comes from Robert Farris Thompson’s book of the same name, which Debriano read while studying ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University. Thompson is a Panamanian-American who grew up in New York City after his family emigrated when he was four, and his book proved revelatory to the young Debriano, asking questions like, to what extent have African traditions and customs been retained by contemporary Black cultures throughout the Americas? “That book describes my ancestral struggle to stay present in the many worlds I live in,” says Debriano, “but also to never forget where I came from.”