• From The Critic's Desk: A Preview Of 2017 In Jazz

    January 30, 2017

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    Miguel Zenón's Típico is on Nate Chinen's list of albums to look forward to in 2017. (Image Credit: Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist)

    It's become a January tradition for NPR to look ahead to some of the most anticipated jazz albums of the year. Bassist Christian McBride, who hosts NPR's Jazz Night In America, and jazz critic Nate Chinen of NPR Member station WBGO join NPR's Audie Cornish to preview three albums coming out in 2017.

    Read some of McBride's and Chinen's thoughts below, and hear more of their discussion — including a reflection on the relationship between musicians and critics — at the audio link.

    Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

    3 Albums To Watch For In 2017

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      Miguel Zenón, 'Típico'

      A multiple Grammy-nominee saxophonist, Miguel Zenón has taken the folkloric music of Puerto Rico and put it into a jazz context. His newest album, titled Típico, comes out Feb. 10.

      Christian McBride: "Miguel's music almost feels like where jazz was in the early '70s. We're getting out of the traditional way of thinking and into more world influences."

      Nate Chinen: "He's taking all of these elements from Puerto Rican culture, Afro-Cuban culture — and he doesn't have to check the box or flip the switch. It's just all in there."

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      Craig Taborn, 'Daylight Ghosts'

      Craig Taborn is a pianist and composer who happens to have recorded recently with McBride. His new album is called Daylight Ghosts.

      McBride: "Knowing Craig as a person and musician, I think what I love about this recording is that there seems to be no pretense. I don't get the sense that Craig is vehemently trying to show us what a clever musician he is. There's something very pure, very natural, very organic, yet very thought out here. His compositional skills are incredible and his musicianship skills are incredible. ... He's a musician's musician."

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      Kevin Eubanks, 'East West Time Line'

      This final pick is from Kevin Eubanks, whom some might know from his days as the leader of The Tonight Show Band with Jay Leno. His new album is titled East West Time Line and comes out April 7.

      McBride: "Kevin didn't do a lot of recording while he was on the show, but all of us in the jazz community have known for years that Kevin is one of the titans of jazz guitar. If you lived out in Los Angeles and you got to be on that scene, you got a chance to jam with Kevin and see him play a lot more than the audience at large did. So maybe you could call this a comeback..."

      Chinen: "I'm gonna call it a comeback. I'm a New York jazz critic, so for me Kevin Eubanks was frustratingly off the scene during all those years that we saw him on TV. He's released a few albums before this one, but this album, especially with this band — that is a wrecking crew. That's a band deserving of Kevin's talents, and he knows how to work with them and how to really bring out the fire."

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