8 new Jazz artists for 2021

Image Credit: Jens Thekkeveettil

Discover emerging musicians from across the whole spectrum of the jazz music world in 2021.

No group of musicians has felt the isolation of the past year harder than the jazz community. Jazz is built upon live performance and interaction between players. But the genre also has deep foundations of improvisation and reinvention, and jazz musicians will be just as tenacious and creative over the next few months as they have been all along. Here are eight jazz artists to explore as they launch new projects in 2021.

Johanna Burnheart

A newly-emerged German jazz violinist, vocalist and composer based in London, Burnheart was the first jazz violin undergraduate student at Guildhall School of Music and Drama when she enrolled there in 2013. Her work on debut album Burnheart mashes together the inspirations of modal jazz and Berlin techno, taking the violin to new mind-bendingly experimental places.

Charlotte Dos Santos

EP Harvest Time is out now from the Brazilian-Norweigan singer, a mystical mix of jazz and neo-soul. Latin-American rhythms playful lie over the RnB beat of ‘Helio’ and in the flamenco flutterings of ‘Padre’, and Dos Santos’ jazz vocal soars above them all.

Puma Blue

Cutting a solitary figure, Puma Blue’s smooth voice croons soulfully over crisply produced lazy guitar, electronic beats and tinkering piano. After slowly circling the edge of the London Jazz scene for a few years, his debut album due for release in February 2021 will no doubt introduce him to a wider audience.

ARTEMIS

ARTEMIS is an international jazz supergroup of seven women at the top of their musical game: pianist and founder Renee Rosnes, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, drummer Allison Miller, vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, clarinetist Anat Cohen and bassist Noriko Ueda. Spanning generations and nationalities, they released their self-titled debut last year, a collection of covers and originals that features their individual sounds complimenting each other with astonishing ease. It would be a headache logistically for the group to arrange a live tour at the best of times, but just imagine the awe-inspiring outcome.

Georgia Cecile 

Nominated for Jazz FM’s Vocalist of the Year 2020. Cecile’s debut album releases this year, and track ‘Always Be Right For Me’ shows an assured, confident jazz star on the rise.

GeeJay

GeeJay are powerful vocalist and songwriter Gina Jane and talented producer, saxophonist and keyboard player Jacob Lobo, putting out neo-soul jazz grooves. After Covid left them unemployed they moved out of London and took jobs helping elderly and vulnerable people across the UK, leading them to contribute the poignant ‘Lose My Mind’ to Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place compilation. Keep an eye out for whatever fresh sounds they have in store for us in 2021.

Keleketla!

UK-based Coldcut, creators of the Ninja Tune record label, partnered with South African musicians to make a record for the In Place of War charity, and Keleketla! is the result. A dizzying array of styles, gqom beats and Afrobeat drums, built up from a jazz foundation. Use this album as a jumping-off point to discover the treasure trove of artists who gathered to create it.

Moses Boyd

Drummer Moses Boyd’s Mercury Prize-nominated debut album saw him cement his place firmly at the top of the London jazz scene. This year Boyd will continue to create and collaborate and when the world allows him to perform Dark Matter, a stand-out album of 2020 and a masterful combination of electronic jazz and Afrobeat, it will be well worth the wait.

A year is a long time, and hopefully live jazz will return before long, with performers back in their rightful place interacting with bandmates and enthralled audiences. Look out for virtual shows and new music from these jazz musicians in the meantime.
Madeleine Amos
I write about music for RouteNote, sharing fun stuff, news, and tips and tricks for musicians and producers. Also a saxophonist and hater of marmalade.

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