Pianist Emmet Cohen, who appeared on the cover of the April 2021 Jersey Jazz Magazine, had the Number 1 album, Future Stride (Mack Avenue) on the JazzWeek Top 100 Charts for 2021. When the album was released, JazzTimes’ Veronica Johnson wrote that it, “pumps new life into the stride tradition.”
The album’s title tune was co-written by Cohen and his drummer, Kyle Poole. The concept, Cohen told Jersey Jazz’s Schaen Fox, “comes from taking two things that are seemingly polar opposite and playing off the paradox to fill in the gaps of the possibilities that lie between them.” The album also contained music that was written during the stride era such as “Symphonic Raps” composed by Bert Stevens and Irwin Abrahams and recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1928. Cohen said his trio (which also includes bassist Russell Hall) listens “to a lot of music when we are on the road, and Louis Armstrong is one of our favorites. This is one of our favorite Louis Armstrong tracks. It’s such a unique song built on ‘Tiger Rag’ but with an incredible intro . . . It’s a great vehicle and ties our world together with the stride of the future.”
The other albums in JazzWeek’s Top Five, in order, were: The Baylor Project’s Generations (Be a Light); Veronica Swift’s This Bitter Earth (Mack Avenue), Vincent Herring’s Preaching to the Choir (Smoke Sessions), and Greg Abate’s Magic Dance: The Music of Kenny Barron (Whaling City Sound).