Juno Awards 2021: A guide to the jazz nominees

Diana Krall, Laila Biali, Andy Milne and Brandi Disterheft are among the notable names in Canadian jazz that you’ll find on this year’s list of Juno Award nominations.

The list of nominees for the 50th annual Juno Awards also features other previous Juno winners such as Pat LaBarbera and Kirk MacDonald, as well as a number of first-time nominees including Florian Hoefner, Sammy Jackson and Jocelyn Gould.

International superstar Diana Krall has landed her first Juno nomination in 10 years for This Dream of You, a self-produced album of sessions recorded in 2016 and 2017. Nominated for vocal jazz album of the year, Krall has won eight Juno Awards to date — including both best artist and best album in 2002 — out of a total of 22 nominations.

In the same category, singer-songwriter Laila Biali has earned a nod for her latest album Out of Dustthe followup to her self-titled album that won the prize in 2019. Matt Dusk has netted his fifth Juno nomination with Sinatra, and newcomers Sammy Jackson and Sophie Day round out the lineup.


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Meanwhile, the nominees for jazz album of the year – solo are all first-timers. Out of Montreal, pianist Andrés Vial is nominated alongside trumpeter Rachel TherrienFrom Toronto, percussionist Junior Santos and guitarists Jocelyn Gould and Elmer Ferrer — the latter of whom has collaborated on other Juno-winning projects — each have a shot at the prize.

Finally, the category of jazz album of the year – group is stacked with established talent. Pianist Andy Milne has a chance to win back-to-back Junos after his last project won in 2019. Bassist Brandi Disterheft could land her first since 2008’s Debut (having been nominated twice since then). The quintet led by Pat LaBarbera and Kirk MacDonald — two stalwarts of Canada’s jazz scene — are nominated for their album Trane of Thought, while the Florian Hoefner Trio and the Emie R Roussel Trio are the de-facto underdogs as first-time nominees.

In the blues category, Dione Taylor is nominated for her record Spirits in the Wateralongside Angel Forrest, Crystal Shawanda, Rick Fines and Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar.


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Afro-Cuban jazz duo OKAN are nominated for world music album of the year for their album Espiral.

JAZZ.FM91 host Jesse King is nominated for reggae recording of the year for his song Roots Rock as Dubmatix. He has previously won two Junos out of 10 nominations.

John “Beetle” Bailey, known in the Canadian jazz scene for his work with Molly Johnson, Monkey House and others, is nominated for recording engineer of the year.

The 50th annual Juno Awards will be hosted in Toronto and presented from music venues across Canada on May 16, televised on CBC. The ceremony was originally scheduled to take place in March.

Jann Arden will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. The Tragically Hip will be the recipients of the Juno Humanitarian Award. Pegi Cecconi will receive the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award.

Here are all the 2021 nominees in the Junos’ jazz and blues categories.

Vocal Jazz Album of the Year
  • Diana Krall – This Dream of You
  • Laila Biali – Out of Dust
  • Matt Dusk – Sinatra
  • Sammy Jackson – With You
  • Sophie Day – Clémence
Jazz Album of the Year: Solo
  • Andrés Vial – Gang of Three
  • Elmer Ferrer – Básico, No Básico y Dirigido
  • Jocelyn Gould – Elegant Traveler
  • Junior Santos – Conpambiche
  • Rachel Therrien – VENA
Jazz Album of the Year: Group
  • Andy Milne and Unison – The reMission
  • Brandi Disterheft Trio with George Coleman – Surfboard
  • Emie R Roussel Trio – Rythme de passage
  • Florian Hoefner Trio – First Spring
  • Pat LaBarbera / Kirk MacDonald Quintet – Trane of Thought, Live at the Rex
Blues Album of the Year
  • Angel Forrest – Hell Bent With Grace
  • Crystal Shawanda – Church House Blues
  • Dione Taylor – Spirits in the Water
  • Rick Fines – Solar Powered Too
  • Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar – The Reckless One