So far, 2020 hasn’t been the best year.
It’s been difficult to distract ourselves from the current situation, but there are still ways to feel normal and hopeful. Music helps with that. If we let music be our guide, maybe we can centre ourselves and stay positive.
That’s what these songs are for.
No matter what, artists will keep making beautiful art. This playlist features 10 recently released jazz tunes that are meditative and soul-soothing — perfect for calming the anxiety and making the best of time at home. On the flip side, some of them also happen to be fun, upbeat toe-tappers.
Either way, you can’t go wrong.
Pat Metheny – You Are
With his recently released album From This Place, guitarist and composer Pat Metheny brought his new lineup to the studio and delivered a beautiful and haunting record.
Joey Alexander – Fragile
Sixteen-year-old Indonesian pianist Joey Alexander breaks new ground on his latest recording Warna, and he breathes new life into this classic Sting composition.
Nina Simone – I Sing Just to Know That I’m Alive
One of Simone’s most obscure recordings and also one of her favourites, Fodder on My Wings is finally getting a proper release through Verve. Simone marked the end of the year 1981 with this short but upbeat opening track, which she went on to perform frequently in her later years.
Elmer Ferrer – Trova
The Cuban-Canadian guitarist dazzles on his latest recording Básico, No Básico y Dirigido, managing a great balance of fire, touch and taste.
Kurt Elling – Esperanto
One of Kurt’s best-known tunes gets a makeover on his new album Secrets Are the Best Stories, a collaboration with pianist and composer Danilo Pérez.
Local Talent – Blue Rainbow
James Hill, formerly of BADBADNOTGOOD, emerges with a new project called Local Talent and with it, a lo-fi jazz-fusion record called Higienópolis. This tune is a major showcase of the talents of bassist Rich Brown.
Kandace Springs – Devil May Care
The singer pays tribute to some of the geatest female singers in soul and jazz with her new album The Women Who Raised Me. “It really expresses my love for all of these singers and gratitude
for what they gave me,” she says. Here, she offers up a wonderful re-imagining of this song by Diana Krall.
June Garber – Windmills of Your Mind
This is a beautiful tune written by Michel Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman, produced by Lou Pomanti, and sung by the always delightful June Garber.
Kat Edmonson – A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes
With her latest album Dreamers Do, Kat Edmonson takes a deep dive into what our dreams mean to us as we get older, and it’s a whimsical journey thanks to her unique perspective.
Alex Goodman – In Heaven Everything is Fine
The Toronto guitarist Alex Goodman is starting to make major waves in his new home of New York. His latest recording Impressions in Blue and Red will only solidify his stature.
Jan Garbarek – Parce mihi domine
This one isn’t new (it was released in 1994), but consider it a bonus track. It’s worth including here simply because it’s so stunning. With Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek’s performance and the voices of the Hilliard Ensemble recorded in an Austrian monastery, it is truly transformative.