When people think about the greatest jazz musicians their minds automatically go to Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and many of the other legends of the last century.
Jazz music has evolved over the last 100 years and if you want to stay relevant, you should be looking at the up and commers on the jazz scene that are bringing with them a lot of followers and immense talent.
Gregory Porter is well known throughout America and won the MOBO award in 2017.
He has already earned a title as Outstanding Contribution to Music and has topped the charts in the UK with his most recent album, Nat “King” Cole and Me reaching number three on the charts.
Gregory keeps a busy touring schedule with appearances at jazz, blues, and musical festivals, as well as his own headlining tours around the world.
He currently has eight albums released and was also a 2016 JJA Jazz award nominee. Did we forget to mention the man has already earned a Grammy? In 2014 Gregory Porter won Best Vocal Jazz Album for his Liquid Spirit collection.
Gregory’s career first began twenty years ago but since earning his Grammy just a few years ago he has been emerging as a recognizable and talented jazz musician.
Gregory’s musical instrument is his baritone vocals but he is backed by Chip Crawford on piano, Emanuel Harrold on Drums, Aaron James on Bass, Yosuke Sato on Alto Sax, and Tivon Pennicott on tenor sax.
Gregory also uses trumpets and an organ in his ensembles.
The Hot Sardines
If you are looking for a brand-new jazz ensemble that exploded onto the scene super recently the Hot Sardines are a troupe you should be listening to.
These musicians came together in Manhattan and is led by Evan “Bibs” Palazzo and “Miz” Elizabeth Bourgeon who was born in Paris.
This troupe shows that early American jazz music still inspires the hot young musicians of today.
Recently, The Hot Sardines were named by Forbes Magazine as one of the best jazz bands in New York City.
This young, lively band has sold out shows at the famous Joe’s Pub and also participated in the Montreal International Jazz Festival.
The Hot Sardines is also providing music for Hollywood. “Bei Mir Bist du Schoen” will be used in Papillon, a movie that will release in late 2018 and features Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunam.
Even Starbucks love the Hot Sardines and included their rendition of Frank Sinatra’s holiday class, “Mistletoe & Holly.”
The Hot Sardines is a band of seven members total with Evan leading the band and Elizabeth focusing on vocals.
The accompaniment includes Jason Prover on trumpet, Alex Raderman on percussion, Nick Myers on clarinet and saxophone, and Mike Sailers on brass.
A native of Chicago’s South Side, Marquis Hill began playing percussion in fourth grade and soon found a love and passion for brass instruments, specifically the trumpet.
In 2014 Marquis performed in and won the Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition and has been hailed by The New York Times as “dauntingly skilled.”
Winning the competition earned Marquis a record deal and $25,000 scholarship.
Marquis released an album in 2016 produced by Concord Records titled, “The Way We Play.” This album combined traditional jazz with a lyrical, postmodern groove.
His current release, Mediation Tape King Legend/Mic We$t Takeover, is an instrumental beat tape that blends aspects of Black music such as hip-hop, R&B, blues, soul, and jazz.
Marquis is proof of where jazz is heading and how it is evolving with the young, new generation of jazz musicians.
Marquis Hill usually plays trumpet but also plays the flugelhorn. His ensemble consists of what he calls the Blacktet featuring Christopher McBride on Alto Sax, Justin Thomas on vibraphone, Joshua Ramos on Bass, and Makaya McCraven on percussion.
Marquis often includes special guests that play trombone, lend vocals, or spoken word.
Jamison Ross lives in New Orleans, where jazz was born and still flourishes. Jamison is signed with Concord Jazz and released his debut album in 2015. Jamison was nominated for the Best Jazz Vocal Album Grammy Award the same year.
He has worked with American jazz singer and legend in her own right, Carmen Lundy. Jamison has also worked with contemporary singer John Batiste.
Before becoming a rising star, Jamison also won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition for drums in 2012.
Jamison keeps up a busy touring schedule and often participates in Jazz festivals around the world. His current release, All for One, has helped earn him many other awards such as Rising Star-Male Vocalist 2018 in the Downbeat Critics Poll. This album combines rhythm and harmony.
Jamison is a singer and master drummer on his albums.
Melody Gardot has been performing professionally for several years, but this Grammy-nominated singer is gaining more notoriety with each album. Melody writes her own songs and plays the piano.
Her debut album released in 2008 and was produced by Glenn Barratt. This album, Worrisome Heart, is what launched Melody’s career and reputation as an edgy, intimate, and dramatic performer.
Melody just released a disc called Live from Europe that features pieces from her live performances while touring all over Europe. Melody grew up on the East Coast of the United States and has been compared to Joni Mitchell and Eva Cassidy because of her combination of jazz and pop music.
Several of her albums have reached the top 30 jazz charts in America and her most recent works include social conscious themes and lyrics.
Melody’s main instrument is her voice but she frequently plays both guitar and piano onstage.
One thing that all these up and coming jazz stars are showing the jazz community is that the genre of music is evolving to combine assorted styles of music.
In order top the charts, jazz musicians today need to be unique, edgy, new, and talented in many genres of music.
* We thank our friends at https://consordini.com for contributing this piece. As always, their views, opinions, musical tastes and style do not necessarily represent that of Ear to the Ground Music or it’s two illustriously handsome editors.