What to Expect from Jazz Music in 2021

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


As we move into 2021, there are a few things we can expect from the world of jazz music. Here are some of the things to look out for!

Upcoming Releases

Jazz music has been around for over a century, and it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, there are many jazz musicians who are still actively releasing new music. So, what can we expect from jazz music in 2021?

Miles Davis- “Bitches Brew”

Miles Davis’s experimental album “Bitches Brew” is set to be re-released on March 26th, 2021 by Columbia/Legacy. This deluxe version will include four discs of previously unreleased material, including alternate takes, outtakes, and live recordings.

John Coltrane- “A Love Supreme”

One of the most beloved and influential albums in jazz history, “A Love Supreme” was recorded over four days in December 1964 by saxophonist John Coltrane and his classic quartet featuring pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones. The album is a suite in four parts: “Acknowledgement,” “Resolution,” “Pursuance,” and “Psalm.” In the liner notes Coltrane wrote:

“A Love Supreme” was the result of my communion with God. I’d like to tell you that Iplanned it that way, but actually it happened spontaneously. On December 9, 1964 I went into the studio with my quartet, which at that time consisted of Elvin Jones on drums, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and McCoy Tyner at the piano… I fully realized from then on that there was nothing more for me to do but give thanksgiving. For me A Love Supreme is both personal and transcendental.”

This newly remastered version features alternate takes of all four parts of the suite, as well as previously unreleased versions of “Acknowledgement” and “Psalm.” It also includes a 24-page booklet with essays by Ashley Khan and Ben Ratliff, as well as never-before-seen photos and Coltrane’s original liner notes.

Charles Mingus- “The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady”

One of the most iconic and influential albums in jazz history, Charles Mingus’ “The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady” is a landmark recording that still sounds fresh and vital today. Recorded in 1963, the album is a Suite in 12 Parts that Mingus wrote as a reaction to Duke Ellington’s “Far East Suite.” Mingus used the same large ensemble (10 pieces) as Ellington, but he gave his musicians more freedom to improvise and express themselves. The result is an explosive and dynamic work that swings hard and features some of the most creative soloing ever captured on record. “The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady” is an essential album for any jazz fan, and it remains one of Mingus’ best-loved works.

New Artists on the Scene

The past year has been a big one for the jazz world, with a number of new artists releasing their debut albums. Here’s a look at some of the most promising new artists on the scene.

Kamasi Washington

As one of the most innovative and exciting new artists on the scene, Kamasi Washington is quickly gaining a reputation as a master of jazz. His unique blend of spiritual and political themes, coupled with his exceptional musical skills, make him a force to be reckoned with in the world of jazz.

Washington’s debut album, “The Epic,” was released in 2015 to critical acclaim, and he has continued to wow audiences with his live performances. In 2021, he is set to release his highly anticipated follow-up album, “Heaven & Earth.” This promises to be an even more ambitious and experimental work than “The Epic,” and is sure to cement Washington’s reputation as one of the most exciting and talented young Jazz musicians around.

Robert Glasper

Robert Glasper is a name you should remember. The New York-based jazz pianist has been turning heads since he emerged on the scene in the early 2000s, and he shows no signs of slowing down. His latest album, “Covered,” is a prime example of his skill as a musician and arranger, as he takes on tracks by Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar, and Nina Simone. With his combination of virtuosity and genre-bending creativity, Glasper is sure to be one of the most exciting voices in jazz for years to come.

Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding is a bassist, singer and songwriter who is taking the jazz world by storm. She first came to prominence in 2006 when she won the Best New Artist Grammy, becoming the first jazz artist to do so in over 60 years. Since then, she has released a string of critically acclaimed albums and cemented her place as one of the most talented and innovative musicians of her generation.

Her latest album, ‘Exposure’, was released in 2017 to widespread acclaim. The New York Times described it as “a radical act of self-exposure…delivered with disarming casualness”. The album sees Spalding experimenting with her sound, incorporating elements of R&B, pop and hip hop into her distinctive jazz style. It is an exhilarating and deeply personal record that confirms Spalding as one of the most exciting and boundary-pushing artists working today.

If you’re looking for something truly unique and ground-breaking, Esperanza Spalding is definitely an artist to watch out for in 2021.

Festivals and Events

Jazz music has long been a favorite among music lovers and this year is shaping up to be no different. There are several festivals and events happening around the country that are sure to please any fan of the genre. from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to the San Francisco Jazz Festival, there is something for everyone.

Newport Jazz Festival

The Newport Jazz Festival is one of the most iconic and important festivals in the history of jazz music. It was founded in 1954 by George Wein, and it has been held annually in Newport, Rhode Island, since its inception. The festival is a celebration of jazz music and its history, and it features some of the genre’s most celebrated performers.

The Newport Jazz Festival is typically held over the course of three days in early August. It features a wide range of performances, from traditional jazz to more experimental styles. In addition to live music, the festival also offers educational programs, film screenings, and panel discussions.

Tickets to the Newport Jazz Festival are typically very affordable, and the event is open to all ages. If you’re a fan of jazz music, or simply want to experience one of America’s most iconic festivals, the Newport Jazz Festival is definitely worth checking out.

Detroit Jazz Festival

The Detroit Jazz Festival is one of the biggest and best-known jazz festivals in the world. It takes place every Labor Day weekend in downtown Detroit, and features a lineup of world-renowned musicians. If you’re a fan of jazz, this is a festival you won’t want to miss. Check out the website for more information.

Monterey Jazz Festival

The 61st edition of the Monterey Jazz Festival is slated for September 17–19, 2021. One of the world’s longest-running and most prestigious jazz festivals, Monterey has been home to many legendary performances over the years. Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk are just a few of the giants who have graced the festival’s stages.

With more than 50 performances on nine stages spread across the grounds of the Monterey Fairgrounds, there’s something for everyone at this storied event. In addition to three nights of headline concerts featuring some of today’s biggest names in jazz, the festival offers a world-class lineup of educational programs, competitions, and clinics led by top musicians. With so much to see and do, Monterey is a must-attend event for any true jazz fan.

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