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Untangling the Options in Our Fall Preview: An Annotated Listening Session, on The Checkout

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Whirlwind Recordings
Bassist and composer Harish Raghavan, whose 'Calls For Action' is part of the WBGO 2019 Fall Preview

What does our music sound like now?

We mean “now” as in right now — fall of 2019? There’s no simple answer to that question, but The Checkout is here to help. Taking our cue from the WBGO Fall Preview, a rundown of 88 picks for the new season, we’ll explore some of the albums poised to make an impact in the weeks to come.

Simon Rentner welcomes Nate Chinen — WBGO’s editorial director, and author of Playing Changes: Jazz For the New Century — to talk about those albums, from a diverse crop of artists. We’ll discuss breakout debuts, like the one by bassist Harish Raghavan, pictured above; we’ll catch up with old favorites in new phases, like The Bad Plus.

Also in the mix are Tomeka Reid, a cellist at the center of so much vital avant-garde expression; The Comet is Coming, the electro-acoustic party-starters from London; Guillermo Klein, the Argentine composer, bandleader and pianist; and Chris Lightcap, whose latest features a boffo band he calls SuperBigmouth.

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Credit Mimi Chakarova
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Kris Davis, center, with the musicians on 'Diatom Ribbons': Trevor Dunn, Val Jeanty, Terri Lyne Carrington, Tony Malaby, Gregory Tardy, Esperanza Spalding

More still: We’ll touch on percussionist Adam Rudolph, who combined two large ensembles On Ragmala – A Garland of Ragas. We’ll talk about how pianist Kris Davis branched into new sonic territory on Diatom Ribbons, with Val Jeanty on turntables and Terri Lyne Carrington on drums.

Last but not least, we’ll stand in awe of Matana Roberts, whose Coin Coin Chapter Four: Memphis continues a bold series, presenting her not only as saxophonist and composer but also conceptualist, family folklorist and shaman.

For more about these albums, consult the WBGO Fall Preview.

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A veteran jazz critic and award-winning author, Nate Chinen is editorial director at WBGO and a regular contributor to NPR Music.
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.