The editors of JAZZIZ have the good fortune of being able to listen to new music before it’s officially released in stores and streaming platforms. And because we’re listening to new tunes all the time, we know just what to recommend. That’s why, each week, we’ll be bringing you a roundup of ten songs, featuring music from our favorite new albums, singles and other tunes that may have flown under your radar.
Our playlist opens with Samara Joy’s light-swinging take on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” “Baila Mulata” is the third single from Roberto Fonseca’s new album, La Gran Diversión, skillfully crafting an affectionate and contemporary homage to the sounds of Cuba’s golden age of the ‘50s and the ‘30s Paris cabaret, Cabane Cubaine. Angelica Sanchez explores the brilliantly nuanced hues of the nocturnal environment on Nighttime Creatures, presenting eleven new compositions and arrangements for a nonet, including “Lady of the Lavender Mist.”
“We Wish You the Merriest” is the title track from Seth MacFarlane and Liz Gillies’ collaborative holiday albumMeshell Ndegeocello released “The Atlantiques” as a bonus track from her Blue Note debut, The Omnichord Real BookKeyon Harrold‘s new single, “Foreverland,” features Laura Mvula and Chris Dave, plus Robert Glasper on keyboard and synthesizers, and serves as the title track from his new album, which will be released on January 19.
Norah Jones and Laufey blend jazz and pop, and combine their distinctive sounds on Christmas With You, featuring their playful new co-written original, “Better Than Snow.” Jazz collective Incognito present a blend of jazz, funk and soul with “Keep Me in the Dark,” featuring vocals by Natalie Duncan and included in their latest album, Into YouRay Gallon fulfils his longtime ambition of recording in a trio with Grand Company, including the up-tempo and inventive “Acting Up.” Our conclusive track is Christian Sands’ cinematic take on “Jingle Bells” from Christmas Stories.
JAZZIZ Discovery… Tonal colors are something more than a metaphor to saxophonist Emma Rawicz. The U.K.-based jazz artist is what’s known as a “synesthete,” that is, one who experiences external stimuli — in this case, music — through various senses. So, when she hears music, she also processes it as color. That unique ability, also known as “chromesthesia,” informs her new release, Chroma (ACT Music), whose song titles — with one exception — are named for the colors that inspired the melodies. Listeners can add “Phlox,” “Rangwali” and “Xanadu” to their palettes, shades that extend the usual Crayola assortment and are vividly realized in Rawicz’s compositions.

The saxophonist wrote “Middle Ground,” the sole track whose title deviates from the theme, for her father, relating to JAZZIZ contributor Michael Roberts that it evoked a certain light blue hue for which she had no name. The piece, our selection, begins with a mood-setting intro stated by pianist Ivo Neame, bassist Conor Chaplin and drummer Asaf Sirkis. The trio is soon joined by Immy Churchill, whose wordless vocals are doubled by Rawicz’s tenor, and then followed with a plummy solo by the leader. Guitarist Ant Law also lends his distinctive sound to the mix, blending beautifully but, like the others, hardly sublimating his individual voice. Rawicz, who began composing for piano and violin at age 7, came to jazz and sax in her teens. Joe Henderson and Wayne Shorter were major touchstones and she follows their example here.