Spanning four categories, including Vocal Jazz Album of the Year, Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year, Traditional Jazz Album of the Year and Instrumental Album of the Year, this years’ JUNO nominations in jazz feature some of Toronto’s best musicians. We’d like to congratulate all the musicians involved.
Let’s begin with the Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year category. Adrean Farrugia and Kelly Jefferson are by no means strangers to the JUNO roster, but are celebrating their first nominations as band leaders! Adrean Farrugia’s RICOCHET (featuring Kevin Turcotte, Kelly Jefferson, Andrew Downing, and Anthony Michelli, with special guests Sophia Perlman, Sundar Viswanathan, William Carn, Ravi Naimpally and Kiki Misumi) is the pianist’s second independent release, which debuted at the 2010 TD Jazz Festival main stage.
Kelly Jefferson’s NEXT EXIT (featuring David Braid, Marc Johnson and Mark McLean, with special guest Emile-Claire Barlow) is also Jefferson’s second release as sole leader, this time released on Vancouver’s, Cellar Live label.
By far, the record with the most Toronto talent is John MacLeod Rex Hotel Orchestra’s OUR FIRST SET, up for Traditional Jazz Album of the Year, which features John Johnson, Andy Ballantyne, Mike Murley, Perry White, Bob Leonard, Al Kay, Terry Promane, Rob Somerville, Colin Murray, James Macdonald, Janet Anderson, Jason Logue, Steve McDade, Brian O’Kane, Jon Challoner, Jim Vivian, David Braid, Joey Goldstein and Ted Warren. With a cast of musicians spanning several generations and a name – the Rex – that rings so familiar to Torontonians, this one is definitely a homegrown gem.
Up in the same category, we have Kirk MacDonald’s SONGBOOK VOL. 2 (featuring David Virelles, Neil Swainson and Barry Romberg) put out on Toronto’s own, Addo Records label. It is great to see the success of Songbook Vol. 1 followed up with an equally strong release.
The Vocal Jazz Album of the Year category hosts some fierce acts, including Emilie-Claire Barlow’s third JUNO nomination, THE BEAT GOES ON (featuring Reg Schwager, Ross MacIntyre, Kelly Jefferson and Davide DiRenzo, with special guests Kevin Turcotte, John Johnson, Tom Sczesniak, Mark Kieswetter, Bill McBirnie, Jason Logue, and Justin Abedin).
New York-Toronto-Vancouver vocalist Laila Bilai is also nominated for her independent release, TRACING LIGHT, which features Larnell Lewis, George Koller, Kelly Jefferson, Guido Basso and Rob Piltch.
Topping off the category alongside Kellylee Evans’ NINA (featuring a cast of New York and Parisian heavyweights – Marvin Sewell, François Moutin and André Ceccarelli) is Montreal’s Nikki Yanofski, as well as Jeff Healey’s posthumous release.
Finally, Instrumental Album of the Year reminds us that music categories are becoming less and less meaningful and increasingly varied and broad. Hence, with no surprise, we find some of Toronto’s best, jazz musicians in this category as well. Past JUNO award winner, David Braid is up again with Canadian Brass for SPIRIT DANCE on the Opening Day (Universal) label.
Also Jayme Stone’s release, ROOM OF WONDERS, features Toronto jazz well-knowns Kevin Turcotte, William Carn and Nick Fraser, aside Jayme’s regular cast comprised of Casey Driessen, Grant Gordy and Greg Garrison.
Listen to samples of each nominated record on the JUNO website at http://junoawards.ca/2011-juno-award-nominees/
The Purple Cabbage