Not a lot of really interesting new records out lately, so I’m filling the gaps in my vinyl collection with the help of the brilliant Discogs online marketplace. I recently found two Lani Hall LPs there after reading James Gavin’s profile of the singer in the December JazzTimes magazine: the 1975 “Hello It’s Me” and the 1979 “Double Or Nothing”. I even found the pretty rare 1982 solo LP from Candye Edwards who sang with Al Hudson and the group One Way for several years (and billed as Candyce Edwards).
Meanwhile, let’s hope we’re going to get some great new output by singer Laurin Talese who has won this year’s Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. Congratulations. Judges included Nnenna Freelon, Stefon Harris, and Jon Faddis. Past winners were Cyrille Aimée (2012) who will be back with a new album with Sondheim songs in early 2019, Jazzmeia Horn (2013) who recently played at the Berlin Jazz Fest, Ashleigh Smith (2014), Arianna Neikrug (2015), Deelee Dube (2016) with Sinne Eeg coming up second that year, and Quina Lynell (2017).
Laurin is from Cleveland, Ohio and has already released an album in 2016 called “Gorgeous Chaos” with producers Ulysses Owens Jr. and Adam Blackstone and she has worked with diverse artists such as Robert Glasper, Bilal, Vivian Green, Christian McBride, or the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg, Austria.
In other important competition news, this year’s Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz competition featured the piano as the main instrument and the winner is Tom Oren of Tel Aviv, Israel. The judges were top-notch peers such as Monty Alexander, Renee Rosnes, Danilo Pérez, Jason Moran, Cyrus Chestnut, Herbie Hancock, and Joanne Brackeen. The Gala concert last Monday at the Kennedy Center in Washington also featured a tribute to the late Aretha Franklin with guest spots from Ledisi, Roberta Gambarini, Jazzmeia Horn and Lisa Henry.