Tuesday, July 25, 2017
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2016 Juno jazz nominations move westward, and in unexpected categories

The 2016 Juno Award nominations, announced this morning, include one Ottawa jazz group, and many jazz or jazz-related artists who have appeared in Ottawa. But not all their nominations are in jazz categories – even for the jazziest artists.

Emilie-Claire Barlow showcased songs from her Juno-nominated CD, Clear Day, in a holiday show with the NAC Orchestra in December. The CD is nominated in two categories. ©Brett Delmage, 2015Ottawa's Souljazz Orchestra released its latest CD, Resistance, here in September, and then toured it across Europe. It's nominated in the World Music category.

Emilie-Claire Barlow debuted several of her songs from her new album, Clear Day, with the NAC Orchestra in December. That album is nominated in two categories: Vocal Jazz and Producer of the Year, where Barlow and her co-producer, Steve Webster, are co-nominated for two songs, “La Llorona” and “On a Clear Day”.

Other vocal jazz nominees include Alex Pangman (who was warmly received at Merrickville's Jazz Fest in October), trumpeter/vocalist Tara Kannangara (at Brookstreet's Options Jazz Lounge in May and in February with Elizabeth Shepherd), and Jaclyn Guillou. But most unexpected entry in this category is drummer Dan Brubeck, whose Live from the Cellar album celebrates the music and lyrics of his father and mother, Dave and Iola Brubeck, and features bassist and vocalist Adam Thomas.

The Jazz Album of the Year: Group category includes the second album from the Allison Au Quartet, which played many of the songs from this CD in its show at Merrickville's Jazz Fest in October, as well as new material from the Jerry Granelli Trio (which presented its Charlie Brown Christmas tribute again in Ottawa this year). Also nominated are the Brad Turner Quartet, Mark Kelso & The Jazz Exiles, and Peripheral Vision (which includes Ottawa-born drummer Nick Fraser).

Saxophonist Allison Au previewed songs from her new album in her quartet's show at the 2015 Merrickville's Jazz Fest. ©Brett Delmage, 2015In the Jazz Album of the Year: Solo section, pianist Robi Botos, who received a well-deserved standing ovation at last year's Ottawa Jazz Festival, is nominated for Movin' Forward. He's joined by saxophonist Tara Davidson (who played in the Mike Murley Septet at Ontario Scene last May), drummer Curtis Nowosad (who appeared with Keith Price at Brookstreet last October and at the 2014 Ottawa Jazz Festival), bassist Rich Brown, and trumpeter Al Muirhead.

Vocalist Diana Krall sold out the NAC's Southam Hall in May, 2015, on the release tour for Wallflower. That album is nominated in the Adult Contemporary section, not too surprisingly since it contains all pop songs.

Jazz-funk-rap group BADBADNOTGOOD, who have appeared in Ottawa twice in the last few months, are nominated in the Rap category for their 2015 album with Ghostface Killah, Sour Soul. Banjo player Jayme Stone, who performs at the NAC in March, is nominated in the Traditional Roots section for his Lomax Project album. Canadian-Cuban guitarist and vocalist Alex Cuba, who will present his Healer album at the NAC Studio on March 5, is nominated in the World Music category.

The Instrumental Album of the Year is always an interesting group of unclassifiable music, including this year a collaboration between a string quartet and a scratch DJ. It also includes veteran Alberta jazz pianist Tommy Banks together with classical trumpet player Jens Lindemann, in a live album recorded in Calgary. If Banks wins this category, it will join his first Juno – from 1978! Banks also played on Al Muirhead's Juno-nominated album.

Saxophonist Colin Stetson, who played a strongly improvised show with Hamid Drake at the 2014 Ottawa Jazz Festival, is nominated in the Instrumental category for Never Were The Way She Was, his collaboration with violinist Sarah Neufeld, while the chamber jazz group Esmerine is included for its album Lost Voices. Lost Voices is also nominated in the Recording Package category.

With the exception of Emilie-Claire Barlow and Colin Stetson, Quebec musicians are completely shut out of the Juno jazz categories this year, and there are no francophone jazz musicians nominated. On the other hand, there's a much larger contingent of Prairie musicians – Curtis Nowosad, Al Muirhead, Tommy Banks – and B.C. musicians – Brad Turner, Jaclyn Guillou, Dan Brubeck, Alex Cuba – as well as Jerry Granelli from Halifax. As usual, the biggest contingent of nominees is from the Toronto area.

The 2016 Juno winners will be announced on April 2 and 3 in Calgary, Alberta.

    – Alayne McGregor

Full list of Juno 2016 nominees in jazz and jazz-related categories:

Juno Vocal Jazz Album of the Year

  • Alex Pangman / New [Justin Time*Universal]
  • Dan Brubeck Quartet / Live from the Cellar [Blue Forest]
  • Emilie-Claire Barlow / Clear Day [Empress*eOne]
  • Jaclyn Guillou / This Bitter Earth [Independent]
  • Tara Kannangara / Some Version of the Truth [Independent]

Juno Jazz Album of the Year: Solo

  • Al Muirhead / It's About Time [Chronograph*Outside]
  • Curtis Nowosad / Dialectics [Cellar Live*Conveyor]
  • Rich Brown / Abeng [Independent]
  • Robi Botos / Movin' Forward [A440*Universal]
  • Tara Davidson / Duets [Addo*Conveyor]

Juno Jazz Album of the Year: Group

  • Allison Au Quartet / Forest Grove [Independent]
  • Brad Turner Quartet / Over My Head [Groundhog*Independent]
  • Jerry Granelli Trio / What I Hear Now [Addo*Conveyor]
  • Mark Kelso & The Jazz Exiles / Stealing From My Youth [Independent]
  • Peripheral Vision / Sheer Tyranny of Will [Independent]

Juno Instrumental Album of the Year

  • Afiara Quartet and Skratch Bastid / Spin Cycle [Centrediscs*Naxos]
  • Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld / Never Were The Way She Was [Constellation*Outside]
  • Cris Derksen / Orchestral Powwow [Tribal Spirit*Independent]
  • Esmerine / Lost Voices [Constellation*Outside]
  • Jens Lindemann and Tommy Banks / Legacy Live [Independent]

Juno World Music Album of the Year

  • Alex Cuba / Healer [Caracol*Fontana North]
  • Boogat / Neo-Reconquista [Maisonnette*Select]
  • Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra / Revuelta Danza Party [Productions Girovago*Outside]
  • Lemon Bucket Orkestra / Moorka [Independent]
  • The Souljazz Orchestra / Resistance [Do Right*Outside]