2017 was the 100th anniversary of the first jazz recording as well as the centennial of many jazz greats: Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and Ella Fitzgerald to name a few. If the following releases are an indicator of anything it is that the jazz tradition is still going strong. All the albums below feature one or more alumni of the Vail Jazz Workshop, noted by bold face followed by the year they attended. To get more information about any of these releases, click on the album cover!

The Centennial Trilogy- Christian Scott

Alto Saxophone- Braxton Cook (’09)

Bass- Kris Funn, Luques Curtis (’00), Josh Crumbly

Drums- Corey Fonville (’06), Marcus Gilmore (’02)

Flute- Elena Pinderhughes (’11)

Guitar- Cliff Hines, Matt Stevens, Dominic Minix

Piano/ Keyboards- Lawrence Fields

Tenor Saxophone- Stephen J. Gladney

Trumpet/ Flugelhorn- Christian Scott (’01)

On this ambitious 3 part release, Scott melds the music of New Orleans with hip-hop and African Rhythms. What he presents is a truly unique amalgamation of Black American Music

A Rift in Decorum- Ambrose Akinmusire

Bass- Harish Raghavan

Drums- Justin Brown

Piano- Sam Harris

Trumpet- Ambrose Akinmusire (’00)

The first album from this Oakland-based trumpeter was recorded at the Village Vanguard in New York City. His genre-expanding compositions and fearless improvisations earn this album a place next to others recorded in this hallowed institution.

One of a Kind- Benny Benack III

Bass- Alex Claffy

Drums- Ulysses Owens Jr.

Guitar- Yotam Silberstein

Saxophones- Joel Frahm

Trumpet/ Vocals- Benny Benack III (’08)

Benny’s first record as band leader showcases all the abilities the young musician has at his disposal: composing, trumpet playing, singing, and producing a record likely to stand the test of time.

Somewhere in Between- Braxton Cook

Backing Vocals- Lauren Desberg

Drums- Jonathan Pinson

Electric Bass- Joshua Crumbly

Guitar- Andrew Renfroe

Piano- Samora Pinderhughes

Piano, Electric Piano- Mathis Picard

Vocals, Alto Sax- Braxton Cook (’09)

Cook’s first release with his own band is a true blend of the music that influences him. He truly shines on this release as a singer, songwriter, and saxophonist.

Our Point of View- The Blue Note All-Stars

Bass- Derrick Hodge

Drums- Kendrick Scott

Guitar- Lionel Loueke

Piano- Robert Glasper (’98)

Piano- Herbie Hancock

Saxophone- Marcus Strickland

Saxophone- Wayne Shorter

Trumpet- Ambrose Akinmusire (’00)

This release from blue note records is the label’s statement on the future of jazz. This record includes appearances from jazz legends Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, an indication that the genre and label are in good hands.

Live at the Vagabond- Butcher Brown

Bass- Andrew Randazzo

Drums- Corey Fonville (’06)

Guitar- Morgan Burrs

Trumpet- Marcus Tenney

Keyboards- DJ Harrison

This is Richmond-based Butcher Brown’s 5th album and it encapsulates what they bring to jazz . The group relies heavily on the tight rhythms of Fonville to make a bedrock on which musical explorations of the jazz-funk genre can occur.

Onward- Chad Lefkowitz-Brown

Bass- Raviv Markovitz (’08)

Drums- Jimmy Macbride (’08)

Piano- Steven Feifke

Tenor Saxophone- Chad Lefkowitz- Brown (’07)

Trumpet- Randy Brecker

On Chad’s second release as a leader he continues to show his  virtuosic saxophone playing while keeping the music accessible. He is joined by veteran jazz-fusion trumpet player Randy Brecker on several tracks adding another layer to the album.

The Mugician- Keyon Harrold

Bass- Burniss Travis

Drums- Mark Colenburg

Piano- Robert Glasper (’98)

Saxophone/ Bass Clarinet- Marcus Strickland

Trumpet- Keyon Harrold (’98)

After his role playing trumpet for the Miles Davis biopic, Miles Ahead, Harrold returns to making his own music. The Miles Davis influence can be seen as the album has fusion elements from other genres like hip-hop, R&B, and many others. Through all of this, Harrold’s trumpet pierces through as a unifying element to this masterful piece of work.

Tributary Tales- Gerald Clayton

Piano- Gerald Clayton (’02)

Alto Saxophone- Logan Richardson

Tenor Saxophone- Ben Wendel

Baritone Saxophone- Dayna Stephens

Vocals- Sachal Vasandani

Drums- Justin Brown

Percussion- Henry Cole, Gabriel Lugo

Bass- Joe Sanders (’01)

Spoken Word- Sachal Vasandani, Carl Hancock Rux

Clayton delivers yet another album of music that seems almost self-aware in the way it moves. The horn players on this album play intertwining lines that work with the solid rhythm section to produce an album based in both comfort and the exploration of new sounds.

Touch My Beloved’s Thought- Greg Ward & 10 Tongues

Alto Saxophone- Greg Ward (’99)

Bass- Jason Roebke

Cornet/ Trumpet- Russ Johnson, Ben LaMar

Drums- Marcus Evans

Piano- Dennis Luxion

Tenor Saxophone/ Baritone Saxophone- Tim Halderman, Keefe Jackson

Trombone- Norman Palm, Christopher Davis

Ward uses his ten-piece band expertly: no notes or sounds are wasted, unintentional. This album showcases his compositional strengths. Ward uses the palette of sounds masterfully to create changing moods that propel the listener through this modern jazz epic.

Volume 1: Inter-be- Mae.Sun

Soprano Saxophone, Vocals- Hailey Niswanger (’07)

Bass- Aaron Liao

Drums- David Frazier Jr.

Guitar- Andrew Renfroe

Piano- Axel Tosca

Vibraphone- Nikara Warren

Hailey’s first release with her newly formed band, Mae.Sun, is a true cross-genre piece of work. Her soprano saxophone paired with the ambient comping of the guitar, piano, and vibraphone creates a dizzying whirlwind of songs that together make a powerfully spiritual album. It is interesting to note that the album was recorded and mixed by Zach Brown (’07) a Vail Jazz Alumni from the same year as Hailey.

Handful of Keys- Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

Piano- Joey Alexander, Dick Hyman, Myra Melford, Dan Nimmer, Helen Sung, Isaiah J. Thompson (’14)

Isaiah J. Thompson was hand picked by the director of Juilliard’s jazz program Wynton Marsalis to play on an album showcasing the evolution of the jazz piano over the last century of the genre. Supported by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Thompson shines as he plays the music of Fats Waller and Oscar Peterson.

Effectual- Jamire Williams

Drums, Sounds- Jamire Williams (’01)

On his first album under his own name and his first almost entirely solo drum album, Williams showcases his ability to make music without the help of other musicians. This daring project weaves a rhythmic web which will leave even the most stoic of listeners tapping along.

Humanity- Joe Sanders

Bass- Joe Sanders (’01)
Drums- Eric Harland
Piano- Aaron Parks
Saxophone, Clarinet- John Ellis

This tour-de-force ryhtm section led by Sanders is sure to excite any veteran jazz fan. This whole album is full of music that will make you want to move and groove along.

Synesthesia – Justin Kauflin and Thomas Fonnesbaek

Bass- Thomas Fonnesbaek

Piano- Justin Kauflin (’03)

This drum-less duo album offers up a heavily rhythmic collaboration between Kauflin and Fonnesbaek. As the title suggests, the songs will take you to new places that you “see” when hearing the two play off of each other.

Offbeat- Katie Thiroux

Bass, Voice- Katie Thiroux (’05)

Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone- Ken Peplowski

Drums- Matt Witek

Piano- Justin Kauflin (’03)

Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone- Roger Neumann

Katie’s second release, this album sees her alongside veteran jazz sidemen as well as fellow Vail Jazz Workshop Alumni Justin Kauflin. Thiroux offers up her fresh takes on jazz standards as well as clever originals to round out the project.

Uprising- Miles Mosley

Bass, Vocals- Miles Mosley (’96)
Drums- Tony Austin
Piano- Cameron Graves
Keyboards- Brandon Coleman
Tenor Saxophone- Kamasi Washington, Zane Musa
Trombone- Ryan Porter (’96)
Trumpet- Christopher Gray, Dontae Winslow

This jazz-rock album tears at the boundaries between the genres while expanding what both are capable of. Mosley’s distorted bass-lines takes the wheel and shape this album into something entirely new and wholly memorable.

Exchange- The Juju Exchange

Bass- Lane Beckstrom

Drums- Everett Reid

Piano- Julian Reid

Trumpet- Nico Segal (’10)

While best known for his work with grammy-winning artist Chance the Rapper, Segal decided to explore a new realm of music in his first release with The Juju Exchange. Exchange is a jazz album made up of the synthesized sounds found in popular music of today.

Terrace Martin Presents the Pollyseeds Volume 1

Alto Saxophone, Vocoder- Terrace Martin (’97)

Drums- Robert Sput Searight

Guitar- Marlon Williams

Piano- Robert Glasper (’97)

Tenor Sax- Kamasi Washington

A veteran producer for Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, and Quincy Jones, Terrace Martin presents his own group of collaborators: The Pollyseeds. This funk and R&B influenced project showcases the best of what Martin has to offer.

Killing Bugs- Blaque Dynamite

Keyboards- Jordan Walker

Bass- Max Gerl (’12), Matt Ramsey

Percussion- Ethan Worland

Guitar, Keyboards and Vocals-Ben Hixon

Vocals and Keyboards- Jon Bap

Flute- Elena Pinderhughes (’11)

Saxophone- Jonathan Mones

“Everything.”- Mike Mitchell aka Blaque Dynamite (’11)

This album is an envelope-pushing experiment with strong jazz, hip-hop, and R&B influences. Mitchell pushes the boundaries of what can be done with drumming incorporating acoustic and electric drums with a myriad of effects but making them all sound good together.