Canadian Jazz: Big Noise From the Great White North
by Felix Contreras
Last week the nominations for Canada's Juno Awards were announced. It reminded me: we don't pay enough attention to our jazz friends up north.
One of the headlines is that jazz vocalist Diana Krall is a triple threat this year: Artist of the Year, Album of the Year (for her latest, Quiet Nights) and Vocal Jazz Album of the Year.
It's cool to see a jazz artist nominated for Artist of the Year. You don't see that too often with the Grammys, if at all.
Among the nominees for the three jazz categories (Vocal Jazz, Contemporary Jazz, Traditional Jazz) there are some names I recognize because their CDs are released here or they tour regularly in the U.S. Like Cuban-born pianist Hilario Duran, who has been living in Canada for quite some time. In addition to his own activities, he's also been a member of fellow Canadian and saxophonist Jane Bunnett's band.
Other nominees are names to explore. For those of us interested in cross-cultural jazz experiences, check out the Instrumental Album of the Year category. There are definitely jazz influences in the music of the group Beats On Canvas.
By the way, the Junos are awarded much like the Grammys are in the U.S.: by members of the Canadian recording academy. The Juno Web site indicates this is the 40th anniversary of the awards, and that tickets for this year's show on Mar. 27 sold out in 14 minutes.
Here's a link to all the nominees. There are bios of each musician, and a link to a short stream from the nominated recordings.
Related At NPR Music: Oh, Canada! Jazz From The True North
2:21 PM ET | 03-11-2010 | permalink