Summer usually brings about a plethora of good things. Chief among them are new releases and Summer 2017 certainly hasn’t disappointed. While there are plenty of lists out there that highlight the best releases of the year so far, we’ve distilled our offering to three albums worth your attention in the jazz world today. One of them is the second installation of a huge undertaking. The other sees a well-established sideman stepping out into the forefront to commandeer his own artistic sensibilities. Another record sees a seasoned producer bring to life another beautiful work of art that accommodates our everyday experiences. Take a look down below to see what made it to our recommended listening list.

Kenneth WhalumBroken Land

We got wind of Kenneth Whalum’s solo effort back in winter 2015 when “Ghost Town” dropped. Known for providing his horn to some of the biggest names like D’Angelo, Maxwell, and Jay Z, Whalum’s latest project Broken Land addresses a myriad of topics including police brutality in “Might Not Be Ok” featuring rapper Big K.R.I.T.

“This s a very personal project for me,” Whalum shares via a press release. “I believe so deeply in the reality of my emotions that I find a hard time releasing music until every single thing reflects the feeling. I did this with this album. I took the time to experience pain. I didn’t run from it. You hear that on these songs. You feel the heartache but you also feel the victory and joy that comes from those experiences. Sonically it is a very clear statement of all these things.”

Christian Scott Atunde AdjuahDiaspora

Continuing with the second part of his three part series titled The Centennial Trilogy, Diaspora is defined in the broadest sense of the term. While the word “diaspora” usually refers to the African diaspora, Christian Scott is trying to deliver a more global experience. “We’re trying to highlight the sameness between seemingly disparate cultures of sound,” Adjuah explained to NPR, “as a means of showing a broader reverence and love for the people who create the sound and the experiences that lead them to those places.”

Featuring contributions from rising stars like Elena Pinderhughes, Braxton Cook, Sarah Elizabeth Charles, and Corey Fonville, the second installment of The Centennial Trilogy sees the founder of Stretch Music reaching for the ultimate pinnacle of human creativity.

Terrace Martin Presents The PollyseedsSounds of Crenshaw Vol. 1

There’s very few things that Terrace Martin isn’t doing at the moment. From hitting the road with Herbie Hancock, producing tracks for Kendrick Lamar, YG, and Rapsody to name a few, it seems that Martin is either always in a studio or backstage waiting to play to a sold out concert. Despite his very busy calendar, Martin was still able to roll out Sounds of Crenshaw Vol. 1 featuring Los Angeles-based band The Pollyseeds.

Backed by some of the heaviest hitters in the music scene today, Sounds of Crenshaw Vol. 1 contains contributions from the likes of Robert Glasper, Kamasi Washington, Robert “Sput” Searight, and Trevor Lawrence Jr. to name a few. With a line-up of all-stars, Martin’s 2017 effort certainly doesn’t disappoint. From a summer cook-out joint with “Intentions,” to a look into Martin’s personal diary in “Funny How Time Flies,” all the way to the message of love and hope in “Don’t Trip,” Sounds of Crenshaw Vol. 1 acts like Martin’s prescribed soundtrack to everyday life.

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