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A preview of 2 albums debuting in 2022

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

There's plenty of great new music coming in 2022, so we asked one of the people behind the show Jazz Night In America what he's heard so far. And he played us something quite stunning.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GHOST SONG")

CECILE MCLORIN SALVANT: (Singing) I tried to keep our love going strong.

NATE CHINEN, BYLINE: Hi, I'm Nate Chinen, editorial director at WBGO, and one of the albums I'm most excited about in 2022 is by the singer Cecile McLorin Salvant. It's titled "Ghost Song," and it releases on Nonesuch Records on March 4.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GHOST SONG")

SALVANT: (Singing) I'd like to keep our love going long.

CHINEN: Cecile McLorin Salvant has been one of the most exciting vocalists, in jazz and out of jazz, that we've seen in the last decade. She has increasingly upped the ante in her work, branching out from a foundation of jazz standards into more original material. But what really makes her a distinctive artist is the imagination that she brings to this enterprise. She's always interrogating her material, whether it's a songbook standard from the 1930s or something that she composed herself. And in the case of "Ghost Song," she's playing with this idea of ghosts and apparitions, and the ghost in question here is actually the memory of a love affair.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GHOST SONG")

SALVANT: (Singing) I'll dance with the ghost of our love. I will dance with the ghost of our long lost love.

CHINEN: She marshals all of the musicians around her into this style that feels connected to old blues and rhythm and blues, but also has this kind of very contemporary feeling. So there's something really fascinating happening on every track of this album.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GHOST SONG")

SALVANT: (Singing) Love.

CHINEN: Another album I'm really excited about in 2022 is by the alto saxophonist and composer Immanuel Wilkins, and his album is called "The 7th Hand." It releases on Blue Note Records on January 28.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CHINEN: Immanuel has in the last several years emerged as one of the most compelling instrumentalists in improvised music. There is a lot that he works with on this album that has to do with the sort of African American, diasporic, rhythmic and even spiritual message. But the thing that I think will speak to anyone who hears it is just this incredible aliveness that he brings to the interactions with his band and with his material. And on "The 7th Hand," I think everything comes together. This is the sound of the state of the art right now in 2022.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTINEZ: That's Nate Chinen of WBGO and Jazz Night In America. He recommends the albums "The 7th Hand" by Immanuel Wilkins and "Ghost Song" by Cecile McLorin Salvant.

(SOUNDBITE OF IMMANUEL WILKINS' "EMANATION") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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