“Afrodeezia” was inspired by bassist Marcus Miller’s role as a UNESCO Artist for Peace and spokesman for the organization’s Slave Route Project. It was recorded in locations around the world including Paris, Morocco, Rio, New Orleans and Los Angeles, and features a wide range of guests including vocalist Lalah Hathaway, keyboardist Robert Glasper, trumpeters Ambrose Akinmusire and Etienne Charles, and guitarist Keb’ Mo’. “For this project, I collaborated with musicians from West Africa, South America, the Caribbean, the southern U.S. and the large northern cities of the U.S.,” Miller explains. “This is my way of paying tribute to the long journey of my African ancestors who became African-Americans.”
“Ernestine Anderson Swings the Penthouse” is a previously unreleased set featuring the great singer in the full bloom of youth as you may have never heard her before—live in front of an appreciative audience. It’s the 34-year-old Anderson singing with exuberance and spontaneity in the intimate setting of Seattle’s legendary jazz club, the Penthouse, in 1962. Her first record had come out just a few years prior to this performance, Time Magazine had touted her as the “best new voice in the business…perhaps the best-kept jazz secret in the land” and Down Beat’s Critics Poll had named her the New Star of the Year.
Also this week, Denver-based trumpeter Al Hood and pianist Dave Hanson lead their H2 Big Band, with special guest vocalist Rene Marie, on “It Could Happen”; saxophonist Jovan Alexandre, a product of the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music, makes his debut as a leader with “Collective Consciousness”; and trombonist Steve Turre unveils his first release for the new Smoke Sessions label with “Spiritman.”