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Music News 4/21/2021



Jen Shyu & Jade Tongue, ZERO GRASSES: RITUAL FOR THE LOSSES (Pi, $15.989) – Vocalist, composer, and multinstrumentalist Jen Shyu’s works weave in her knowledge of traditional music from Korea, Japan, Taiwan and East Timor, along with her thorough grounding in new jazz and theater. Her new album has some wonderful collaborators: her group Jade Tongue includes Ambrose Akinmusire, trumpet; Mat Maneri, viola; Thomas Morgan, bass; Dan Weiss, drums. The collection of songs is devoted to “marginalized voices of women” and is dedicated to her father, who died in 2019. 

Norah Jones, ’TIL WE MEETAGAIN: LIVE (Blue Note, $14.98) – From live performances from 2017 to 2019, Norah Jones’s first live album features “Cold Cold Heart,” “Don’t Know Why,” “Those Sweet Words,” “Sunrise,” and a cover version of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.” 

Veronica Swift, THIS BITTER EARTH (Mack Avenue, $17.98) – On her second album, vocalist Veronica Swift expands her range of themes and genres, whether jazz, musicals, or indie rock.  As she writes: “I want this album have two separate approaches. I wanted to start with women’s place in society now and how it's changing. During the second half, I wanted to address other ailments in the world, whether it’s racism or fake news.”  

Cha Wa, MY PEOPLE (Single Lock, $15.98) – A New Orleans band that “celebrates the sound and culture of the Mardi Gras Indians.” Cha Wa takes the street chants and songs associated with this tradition, and also write new songs carrying on these folkways. 

Listen to the NPR feature on My People, and the traditions of the Mardi Gras Indians. 



Hasaan Ibn Ali, METAPHYSICS: THE LOST ATLANTIC ALBUM (Omnivore, $17.98) – The pianist Hasaan Ibn Ali practiced with John Coltrane in the 1950s, and according to Odean Pope, was “the most advanced player to ever develop [in Philadelphia].” He is best known for the 1965 Atlantic album, The Max Roach Trio featuring the Legendary Hasaan. The next album he recorded, in August and September, 1965, was never issued, and the master tapes went up in flames in 1978. Now, a copy of long-lost reference acetates have been restored, and the performances—with a young Odean Pope on tenor, Art Davis on bass, and Kalil Madi on drums—are finally issued for the first time. 

Listen to Kevin Whitehead’s review on the NPR Fresh Air

Don Cherry, CHERRY JAM (Gearbox Japan import, $14.98) – Recorded in 1965 for a radio broadcast in Copenhagen, Cherry Jam, in Nate Chinen’s words, “finds Cherry in the company of some top-drawer Danish musicians: pianist Atli Bjørn, tenor saxophonist Mogens Bollerup, bassist Benny Nielsen, and drummer Simon Koppel. Their output doesn’t suggest an incendiary avant-garde so much as an extended post-bop language, cool-tempered and abidingly hip.” 

Yusef Lateef, LIVE AT RONNIE SCOTT’S: January 15, 1966 (Gearbox Japan import, $17.98) – Multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef was backed by the house band of pianist Stan Tracey, bassist Rick Laird and drummer Bill Eyden. The repertoire played comes from “Lateef’s earlier recordings for Savoy and Prestige such as Jazz Moods and Eastern Sounds. Lateef plays flute on “Last Night Blues” (it was the last night of the run). He plays the shenai (the Indian double reed) on “Blues for The Orient”, the xun (a Chinese flute) on “Song of Delilah,” and tenor sax on “Yusef’s Mood.”