Hope on the Horizon: New Albums from Konitz, Palmieri, Thundercat


New album releases from Lee Konitz (left), Eddie Palmieri and Thundercat will enliven the season’s jazz offerings.

(Photo: Courtesy of the artists)

Several new releases by artists young and old will help lift the winter blues. Album announcements from alto saxophone master Lee Konitz, piano trailblazer Eddie Palmieri and bass wizard Thundercat signal a spring awakening in the jazz world.

Konitz, a 2015 DownBeat Hall of Fame inductee, gets the ball rolling early with the Feb. 10 release of Frescalalto, his first-ever release on Impulse! Records. The album features the sax legend alongside pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington, a quartet with whom he shares an intersecting history: Forty years ago, Kenny Washington made his recording debut playing with Konitz on his 1977 LP, Lee Konitz Nonet. The two performed together again on 1992’s Jazz Nocturne, which also featured Barron.

Thundercat, the bassist and producer also known as Stephen Bruner, will release his third full-length studio album, Drunk, on Feb. 24 via Brainfeeder. The album is a 23-track excursion through the creative process of the Grammy-winning artist, and features a host of chart-topping jazz, hip-hop and r&b artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Wiz Khalifa, Kamasi Washington and Brainfeeder label head founder Flying Lotus. 

Thundercat is also set to tour internationally in support of the album, including a return performance at Coachella Music & Arts Festival, which runs April 14–23 in Indio, California.

Palmieri, who turned 80 years old on Dec. 15, has chosen to celebrate the milestone with the gift of new music. Sabiduria, his first project since his back-to-back Grammy wins in 2005 and 2006, will be released by Ropeadope Records on April 21. Characteristics of the pianist’s eclectic background are woven tightly throughout Sabiduria, with funk, soul, jazz and pop all sharing space in the stylistic mix. He has recruited a diverse ensemble to join him in this effort, including Donald Harrison Jr., Marcus Miller, Alfredo de la Fe, Joe Locke, Johnny Rivero, Ronnie Cuber and David Spinnoza. DB

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