February 2023
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Jazz February 2023

What should you expect from jazz this month? Welcome to our February 2023 selection of albums that have already been released or will soon be released this month (“What to Wait For”). These albums got our full attention and are worth your time. They are listed in order of release date.

Jazz New Releases February 2023

February 2023 Selection

Aki Takase Carmen Rhapsody

Aki Takase

Carmen Rhapsody
(BMC Records)

This is Aki Takase own’s vision of Carmen, seen as a rhapsody, in collaboration with mezzo-soprano opera singer Mayumi Nakamura, saxophonist Daniel Erdmann, and cellist Vincent Courtois. It was elaborated on during their residency at the Budapest Music Center and performed live on August 18, 2022, at the Opus Jazz Club.

“Carmen, one of the most popular operas ever, focuses on a strong and proud woman ruled by her own law. On her new album, iconic jazz pianist Aki Takase takes up this convention-breaker figure, labeling her interpretation of Carmen as a rhapsody. As a seemingly loose sequence of lightly floating, dance-like musical thoughts, which are based on the themes of Carmen by Bizet, not bound to any form and thus verging on anarchy.”
–BMC Records

Aki Takase: piano, harpsichord; Mayumi Nakamura: mezzo-soprano; Vincent Courtois: cello; Daniel Erdmann: tenor and soprano saxophones
Release date February 3, 2023

Xenofox The Garden Was Empty


The Garden Was Empty
(Audio Semantics)

If you remember and were touched by Faust’s Concerts Vol 1 & 2 (1994), with their unique industrial sounds framed as sonic events, then you will love The Garden Was Empty. The sound is similar in its uniqueness, but instead of building on short motives and repetitiveness, Olaf Rupp and Rudi Fischerlehner explore the endless possibilities that free improvisation offers. Rudi Fischerlehner even pulls off cymbal scrapes!

The Garden Was Empty is as raw as it is original. Try it and please let us know what you think in the comments!

Olaf Rupp: electric guitar; Rudi Fischerlehner: drums, percussion
Release date February 3, 2023

James Brandon Lewis Eye Of I

James Brandon Lewis

Eye Of I

This music showcases modern American jazz in all its beauty and greatness. For those who loved the amazing Jesus Wagon—one of the best, if not the best, releases of 2021—you will find many bridges that connect to Eye of I, such as the melancholic beauty and majestic delicateness naturally embedded into James Brandon Lewis’ playing … but there is more!

Discover the full review of Eye of I.

James Brandon Lewis: tenor saxophone; Chris Hoffman: cello, pedals; Max Jaffe: drums, sensory percussion
Release date February 3, 2023

Lao Dan Region Music and Practice Vol 1 February 2023

Lao Dan

Region, Music, and Practice Vol​​​.​​​1

This is a very surprising but interesting release by Lao Dan featuring a lot of flutes and mouth harps, but also some effects—particularly on the last track (listen below), which is an improvisational piece, in which the serene Chinese atmosphere is turned upside-down to become a mechanical, electronic, unformed ballet. It is as distressing as it is fascinating.

Lao Dan: flutes, effects; Mamer: sherter, mouth harp, percussion; Xalhar: dombra, mouth harp
Release date February 5, 2023

Joëlle Léandre Zurich Concert

Joëlle Léandre

Zurich Concert (live)
(Intakt Records)

It certainly takes all the stoicism of the Swiss—whom we envy for all the anthological performances held in their country—to cordially applaud such a performance, but it’s an excellent choice for a recording, as any other place would certainly have seen the audience faint or go into endless standing ovations!

Read the full review of Zurich Concert (live)

Joëlle Léandre: bass
Release date February 17, 2023

Julia Strzalek Cornelia Nilsson

Julia Strzalek & Cornelia Nilsson

Scenery Somewhere
(Frim Records)

Scenery Somewhere is an album by saxophonist Julia Strzalek and drummer Cornelia Nilsson, playing for the first time together. So very pleasant, this could be one of the beloved albums in your collection.

Read the full review of Scenery Somewhere.

Julia Strzalek: alto saxophone; Cornelia Nilsson: drums
Release date February 24, 2023

The Necks Travel February 2023

The Necks

(Nothern Spy Records)

The Necks are an Australian band. Travel is their 19th studio album. In this latest release, we find the band improvising through four long tracks of 20 minutes each, in which jazz becomes a minimalist, ambient, static discovery. They are hypnotic, intelligent, and relaxing.

“Listen to how Lloyd Swanton’s double bass is played with an alluring firmness that’s rounded out by Chris Abrahams’ organ flourishes. The only sound that erupts from this homogeneous space is Tony Buck’s occasional strike of a cymbal bell; its similarity to that of a blacksmith’s hammer is a reminder of The Necks’ endlessly irresistible and impossibly tight improvisations.”
–Joshua Minsoo Kim, NPR Music

Chris Abrahams: piano, Hammond organ; Tony Buck: drums, percussion; Lloyd Swanton: bass
Release date February 24, 2023

Jazz February 2023 – New Records Selection

  • Aki TakaseCarmen Rhapsody (BMC Records)
  • Xenofox The Garden Was Empty (Audio Semantics)
  • James Brandon LewisEye Of I (Anti-Records)
  • Joëlle LéandreZurich Concert (live) (Intakt Records)
  • Julia Strzalek, Cornelia NilssonScenery Somewhere (Frim Records)
  • The Necks Travel (Nothern Spy Records)

Next, discover the selection of our Best Jazz Albums 2023.


Listen to these tracks on our Spotify playlist ↗.

Filed under: 2023, Month

About the Author

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Hi, I am Paul, blogger at Best of Jazz and Jazz enthusiast since 1995.

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