Jazz is one of the most resilient forms of music, surviving and staying relevant through world wars, cultural revolutions, the frosted tips of the early 2000s, and now the explosion of electronics in music. The following are best new jazz tunes out there, fusing jazz, electronic, punk, and soul into a wild good time. This is a curated auditory journey that can be taken as is, or shuffled around to forge your own experience.
- “Weight Off” – Kaytranada & Badbadnotgood. This hard-driving dreamscape is a fantastic introduction to both Badbadnotgood, one of my favorite bands, and Kaytranada, producer for innovative hip-hop artists such as Anderson .Paak and Vic Mensa.
- “Shofukan” – Snarky Puppy. A frolicking good time from a hugely popular modern big-band jazz crew, the vocal solo will be stuck in your head for the rest of the night.
- “Zion” – Donnie Trumpet. Follow up that trumpet-heavy tune with another, this one wading into hip-hip with Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa under the guidance of the man who brought us “Sunday Candy.”
- “Obligatory Cadence” – Flying Lotus. Hold on tight and just let FlyLo’s experienced hands carry you through this ethereal, experimental, and marvelous wonderland. You won’t regret it.
- “Clair de Lune” – Kamasi Washington. Alongside Flying Lotus and Thundercat, Washington was instrumental in To Pimp a Butterfly by peerless Kendrick Lamar, making his eleven-minute rendition of Debussy’s impressionist classic all the more enjoyable. It is nostalgic, tasteful, cathartic, and overwhelmingly gorgeous.
- “No Sass” – Photay. Is this jazz? It is lithe, catchy, and compelling, and that’s jazz to me, cat. Photay is a rising star and a bright light for the future of music. Keep an eye on him.
- “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” – Takuya Kuroda. This Japanese Brooklynite took the world by storm with his jazz-soul-afrocarribbean fusion, and this is Takuya in top form–truly one of his masterpieces.
- “Bojack’s Theme” – Patrick Carney. A formidable track even outside the context of the show, it mixes high-quality electronic instrumentation and editing work with deft and skillful saxophone.
- “Fix My Life” – Melt Yourself Down. Turn up your speakers and get ready to go absolutely nuts. This song will knock you flat on your ass, chew you up, spit you out and have your grandmother over for a rager and you won’t know what’s going on, but it’ll vibe. Let the energy, psychedelia, and mood envelop you, and just let go for four minutes.
- “Time Moves Slowly” – Badbadnotgood ft. Sam T. Herring. Let the silky vocals of Future Islands lead singer tuck you in after your grannie rager, and once again lose yourself in the rich instrumentals of Badbadnotgood. This song is the sonic embodiment of cool, so kick back and recover.
Jazz might be seen as an antiquated genre, but these songs resuscitate it with new life, and help bring a classic into the modern era.