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Best of 2017: The Checkout and WBGO's Director of Programming Discuss Four Favorites

Kiel Scott
Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah

This year supplied no shortage of notable and often inspiring music — sounds that flirt in and outside jazz. Here are a few you should listen to.

The Checkout, which celebrates musical diversity, takes pride in finding recordings on “the other side of jazz.” These recordings often don't get featured on terrestrial radio. And yet the artists are attracting huge, excitable, and growing audiences; note the grassroots followings of Snarky Puppy, Kamasi Washington and Thundercat.

The Checkout considers all of these changes to our musical landscape when voting for the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll. (Here you can find my ballot, which, as a mere Top 10, is incomplete.)

In this podcast, I'm joined by Steve Williams, the Director of Programming at WBGO, to discuss four notable releases that all naturally veer into many different stylistic paths: Jack DeJohnette’s nod to classic rock, Lizz Wright’s leanings to country, Mark de Clive-Lowe's venture into electronica, and Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s ambitious explorations in hip hop and rap.

The Checkout premiered one of these tracks in our Checkout Live at Berklee series. Here is Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah performing “Sunrise In Beijing.”


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For more than 15 years, Simon Rentner has worked as a host, producer, broadcaster, web journalist, and music presenter in New York City. His career gives him the opportunity to cover a wide spectrum of topics including, history, culture, and, most importantly, his true passion of music from faraway places such as Europe, South America, and Africa.