Brad Mehldau and John McLaughlin have each shared new music in an effort to raise money for the Jazz Foundation of America’s emergency relief fund for musicians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, Mehldau released Suite: April 2020, an album that includes 12 new songs he wrote about his experience sheltering at home with his family in the Netherlands this year. It also features covers of songs by Neil Young, Billy Joel and Jerome Kern. Mehldau was able to safely record at an Amsterdam studio, and the resulting record is now available as a limited-edition deluxe 180-gram vinyl LP.
The pianist and composer has made 1,000 numbered and signed copies available for $100 exclusively from the Nonesuch Store, Bandcamp and Discogs, and at least $90 from each sale will be donated to the Jazz Foundation of America’s COVID-19 Musician’s Emergency Fund. The album is also available digitally right now, and CDs and standard vinyl albums are coming Sept. 18; a portion of those sales will also be donated to the Jazz Foundation’s relief fund.
“Suite: April 2020 is a musical snapshot of life the last month in the world in which we’ve all found ourselves. I’ve tried to portray on the piano some experiences and feelings that are both new and common to many of us,” said Mehldau.
The songs trace the experience of learning through struggle, the memory of normalcy, the fear of the unknown and the opportunity to connect more closely with family.
Also this week, McLaughlin shared a new song called Lockdown Blues on YouTube to benefit the Jazz Foundation’s relief fund.
The guitarist is joined remotely by the 4th Dimension — keyboardist Gary Husband, bassist Etienne Mbappe and drummer Ranjit Barot — marking the first time the band has released new music in about five years.
“The pandemic has thrown hundreds of thousands of musicians out of work — and nobody knows for how long,” said McLaughlin, known as a pioneer of jazz fusion. “So, if you donate something — even something really small — thank you. If not, enjoy the music.”