Whether you’re a jazz fan or musician, checking out what’s new right now – and who’s writing about it – is an interesting exercise.
Through our work running press campaigns for jazz musicians, we’re in touch with many writers, bloggers and editors around the world and wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some of the great American jazz blogs & websites – and the people writing for them.
As you’ll see, some are one-man/woman shows whilst others are jazz websites with multiple journalists.
Either way, we’ve included some info on a specific writer for each one, because it’s useful to know who’s actually behind the reviews.
ℹ️ Note to jazz musicians: if you’re pitching a new release for press coverage, think about reaching out the specific journalist you think will be most likely to dig it!
Keep in mind: whilst all these blogs are connected somehow to the USA, it’s not just the American jazz scene that they cover. Many of them present reviews of albums made all over the world, from small independent albums & artists, to the biggest international releases.
We hope you’ll find one or two new sites to check out here. This is a work-in-progress list so feel free to share any other suggestions in the comments section…
Bird Is The Worm
Kentucky-based American writer Dave Sumner who hosts this long-running blog states: “I’m not a reviewer or a critic. I’m a recommendation engine. I find the best of the best and I get the spotlight on it.”
The site lives up to this mantra, presenting a huge range of new music, from all corners of the jazz world.
The submission policy is clear: send us your music (in the required format) and we’ll check it out. As a result, independent releases and those pushing the boundaries of jazz – and mixing it up with a whole bunch of other influences – get plenty of coverage here.
If you’re looking for straight ahead, jazz standards, this probably isn’t the site for you. Want to discover some interesting new music that you might not otherwise have come across? Bird Is The Worm is a great place to start, as is the Bandcamp Daily jazz column which Dave also writes for.
From the writer: “I’m obsessively focused on jazz in the present tense. Every week, I scour the jazz new releases listings for anything that sounds interesting. I’m all over the self-produced and small-label releases. There is nothing that’s too obscure for me.”
Check it out at birdistheworm.com
All About Jazz
Of course, you probably know the All About Jazz website. But with any blog with a huge number of writers and contributors, it’s interesting to dig into the columns and threads of individual writers… we’ve picked a few of our American friends there to highlight…
Jazz Journal by American writer Doug Collette
Not to be confused with a British site of the same name, Doug states: “Jazz Journal is a regular column comprised of pithy takes on recent jazz releases of note, spotlighting titles that might otherwise go unnoticed.”
Check it out at: allaboutjazz.com
Ed Blanco out of Miami
Originally from New York and now in Miami, Ed Blanco has been writing for All About Jazz since 2005 and, alongside this, also hosts a jazz radio show on WDNA.
Check out his writing at: allaboutjazz.com
Michael Doherty’s Music Log
Michael Doherty started his blog to showcase some of the great music out there and states on the website that he only reviews CDs he likes. The result? A positive and eclectic collection of reviews from artists not just in America, but all around the world.
A with many of these sites, we’d highly recommend reading a few of the reviews to get started. If you find similarities between your tastes and Michaels, stay tuned. Because he’s listening to a lot of music each week and will be able to sift through the masses and bring you some hidden gems.
From Michael himself: “My musical tastes are all over the place. The music just has to speak to me or move me in some way, and I am all ears.
I am excited to hear new compositions as well as interesting interpretations of classic material.
And sometimes it is just about a beautiful voice reaching out to me in the darkness.”
Check it out at: michaelsmusiclog.blogspot.com
Debbie Burke Jazz Author
With a career taking in freelance journalism, editing, marketing and book-writing, Debbie Burke uses her website to showcase the hundreds (literally) of interviews she’s hosted with musicians, songwriters and promoters.
So often, it’s the stories behind the music that really connect fans and bands, and interviews like these help to build out the people behind the sounds.
Jazz musicians of all styles and from all countries – not just the USA – have been featured in the Q&A series, with more coming each month. If you have 5 minutes now, we’d suggest heading over and picking one at random. You might discover something you wouldn’t have otherwise heard…
Check it out at debbieburkeauthor.com
Whilst focused primarily on the New York jazz scene, Jazz Trail presents both new music reviews and interviews from local artists and those further afield.
In terms of musical style, they generally present a broad range of modern/contemporary jazz from all sources: major labels (Impulse!, ECM…) and well-established indies (Sunnyside, Clean Feed..) as well as artist-led collectives or self-releases.
The website is collaboration between writer Filipe Freitas and photographer Clara Pereira; something which is apparent in the gallery of live black & white photos from around New York jazz clubs. A quick look through recent months turns up shots of artists including Fred Hersch (The Village Vanguard), Chris Potter (The Jazz Standard) & Yotam Silberstein (Dizzy’s).
Check it out at jazztrail.net
Flea Market Funk
Flea Market Funk is a New Jersey-based blog focusing on Funk, Soul, Jazz, Hip Hop and Reggae music.
It’s led by self-professed vinyl fanatic Jamison “DJ Prestige” Harvey – who has gigged around America as a DJ for the last 20 years now – as a way of bringing his passion for this music to the masses.
Aside from record reviews, the blog also features a bunch of other sections including a vinyl store, an Ask Me Anything thread, a podcast and a playlist.
Check it out at fleamarketfunk.com
This blog covers Funk, Jazz and Soul Music in Atlanta and beyond. In terms of album reviews (as we’ve seen first hand with a German project we were working on) that can be anywhere in the world!
Several bands – most notably Snarky Puppy – have a whole section of the website dedicated to them and include set lists, line-ups, live reviews and more.
The focus on live shows is explained by the fact that Jake, the host, goes to around 100-150 gigs a year!
Check it out at funkcity.net
Something Else Reviews
Co-founded in America by S. Victor Aaron and Nick DeRiso, Something Else has a team of writers based both in the USA and overseas.
The website covers a big range of musical styles but jazz (along with fusion and ‘whack jazz‘) is placed prominently on the homepage and features a steady flow of new album reviews.
As with all multi-writer sites, it’s useful to do your homework on who’s covering what. And, in our recent experience, many of the jazz reviews are coming from either S. Victor Aaron or UK-based author & jazz journalist Sammy Stein.
Check it out at somethingelsereviews.com
So that’s it – our current list of some great American jazz blogs to check out in 2020. If you’re a jazz fan, I hope one or two of them will make it onto your bookmarks and help you discover some more great artists. And, if you’re a musician, maybe it will give you some extra inspiration on where to pitch your next release…