Two young jazz talents won their first Juno Awards on Friday night, emerging as the victorious underdogs in a lineup of nominees that included some serious experience.
Debut releases by Sammy Jackson and Jocelyn Gould joined repeat winner Andy Milne in claiming the jazz prizes at the 2021 Juno Awards, which were announced in a virtual ceremony hosted by Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe.
Sammy Jackson’s first recording With You won the Juno for vocal jazz album of the year, after facing tough competition from Diana Krall, Laila Biali and more. The singer-songwriter’s distinct sound fuses elements of jazz, R&B and pop, with thoughtful lyrics and genre-melding compositions.
Guitarist Jocelyn Gould’s debut album Elegant Traveler claimed the prize for jazz album of the year: solo, a category in which all of the nominees were up for their first Juno. On this quartet recording — with additional brass and sax musicians featured on several tracks — Gould displays her influence from guitar greats such as Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, Kenny Burrell and Joe Pass, turning in seven smartly crafted original compositions along with arrangements of tunes by Cole Porter, Duke Ellington and Richard Rodgers.
In the final jazz category, Andy Milne and Unison’s The reMission won the award for jazz album of the year: group. This comes two years after Milne won his first Juno Award for The Seasons of Being. The reMission is the pianist, composer and bandleader’s first foray into the piano trio format, following his award-winning work with his Dapp Theory quintet.
Afro-Cuban jazz group OKAN’s sophomore album Espiral was named world music album of the year. Led by Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne, OKAN’s debut record Sombras was nominated for the same award in 2020.
The award for blues album of the year went to Church House Blues by Crystal Shawanda, who previously won a Juno in 2013 for her album Just Like You.
The weekend’s biggest winner was pop star The Weeknd, who took home four Junos for album, artist, single and songwriter of the year. Among the other major award winners were Arkells for group of the year, JP Saxe for breakthrough artist of the year, and Crown Lands for breakthrough group of the year.
Here are all the 2021 nominees in the Junos’ jazz and related categories, with the winners in bold.
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
World Music Album of the Year
- Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra – VelkomBak
- Lengaïa Salsa Brava – The Gold Diggers
- Mazacote – Patria
- OKAN – Espiral
- Zal Sissokho – Kora Flamenca