Jacques Loussier has died aged 84. The pianist composer was best known for his jazz interpretations of the music of J. S. Bach. In 1959, he formed his first Play Bach Trio and sold millions of records with his various Play Bach records. More via Libération.

The Japanese pianist has entered the Billboard jazz chart at no. 3 with Echo. The album includes guest appearances by Kyle Eastwood, Marcus Miller, Robben Ford, Gretchen Parlato and more.

Good to see them back.

Ilmiliekki Quartet return next month with Land of Real Men. 

The Finnish four piece of trumpeter, Verneri Pohjola, pianist Tuomo Prättälä, bassist Antti Lötjönen and drummer Olavi Louhivuori have not had a new album in more than a dozen years.

They return in style with a double vinyl/CD/digital WeJazz Records release. Check a taste of the release above.

Remarkably Both Sides is legendary Scottish singer Carol Kidd’s first studio album in a decade. Carol is quoted as saying: “This new album marks my hopes for the future, it’s my way of telling everyone what has been going on in my life. I have come through a period of adversity and the last ten years have been tough but Both Sides Now is marking a big positive step forward. I love Scotland, I love singing. Everything I have ever done singing-wise has always brought me happiness, it has never been a hardship and the fact my audiences have always been 150 per cent behind me has really helped me through these troubling times. Now I want to say thank you in the form of this new body of work, I want to share songs that are close to my heart with them.” 

A sax icon of the UK jazz scene Dave O’Higgins has signed to go-ahead UK indie label  Ubuntu for the first outing of his new band. Expect a release in the autumn. Also on the label’s radar who follows suit is new generation guitarist Rob Luft who joins O’Higgins, drummer Rod Youngs and Belfast organist Scott Flanigan on a project that encompasses the work of Monk and Coltrane.
O’Higgins says: “Rob called me for some ‘blowing’ gigs last year. It wasn’t difficult to find a common repertoire, and a predilection for Monk and Trane tunes was apparent. We had such fun that I suggested trying to get a short tour together and a recording and before we knew it there were 40 dates in the book and a new CD planned with Ubuntu.
“The music we’ve chosen to play focuses on lesser known Monk compositions and some of the songs Coltrane chose to record in the late 50s, more than the usual few Monk tunes and modal Coltrane so often heard. The choice of Scott Flanigan on organ changes our course from the obvious sonority associated with either musician.”

Now there's a relative rarity, a new George Benson album in prospect. The guitar great/vocalist returns with Walking to New Orleans due for release in April. Walking to New Orleans is Benson’s first recording since his 2013 Nat King Cole-inspired album Inspiration. With Benson on the new release are drummer and musical director Greg Morrow, guitarist Rob McNelley, pianist Kevin McKendree, and bassist Alison Prestwood.

Obituary via The New York Times

Tori Freestone

Details on the Whirlwind website... the new album is a trio affair to be released in May with saxist Freestone joined by  drummer Tim Giles + bassist Dave Manington due for a May release. Dates coming up include Derby (1 March).