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2010’s Jazz Highlights

Blog
2010’s Jazz Highlights

28.01.2020

Text: Cem Kayıran

While we are stepping into 2020’s, here is a look back at what has happened in the jazz scene during the decade we left behind.

Esperanza Spalding won the “Best New Artist” Grammy award

Bass virtuoso and vocalist Esperanza Spalding won a Grammy in the “Best New Artist” category in 2011. While Spalding’s win over fellow nominee Justin Bieber created a mayhem in social media, the real success lies in the fact that she is the first jazz musician who won a Grammy in this category. Spalding won three more Grammy awards with the albums she released in the following years.

Lost record releases from iconic names 

2010’s was marked with the legacy of legendary musicians. Two major names of jazz history, John Coltrane and Miles Davis’ previously recorded but never released albums were shared for the first time. Coltrane’s 1963 record with his quartet -including McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones - Both Directions at Once, was released in 2018. Miles Davis’ Rubberband, which was left unfinished due to the preparations of the Tutu album, was released in 2019.

Christian McBride took the art director position at Newport Jazz Festival

One of the leading jazz festivals of the world, Newport Jazz Festival announced Christian McBride as the festival’s new art director. McBride became the first name who took the position after George Wein, who founded the festival in 1954. The Grammy winning musician joined the festival family in 2017, just before the 63rd Newport Jazz Festival.

“New jazz” vibes from London

In jazz history, it is possible to track the trends by matching various periods with different cities and countries. On that regard, 2010’s will surely be remembered with the new generation jazz that has spread from London. Grew out of South London and led by musicians who studied music in the city, this new trend caught world’s attention by the second half of 2010’s. This new jazz renaissance, which was shaped by versatile musicians such as Nubya Garcia, Shabaka Hutchings, Moses Boyd, Theon Cross and the inspiration they took from avant-garde and spiritual jazz; is surely going to be influential for long years to come.

Farewells from jazz legends 

2010’s was also marked by the loss of many important musicians who left their marks on various periods of jazz history. Composer of many jazz standards, Dave Brubeck; legendary American trumpeter / vocalist and one of the household names of Blue Note catalogue, Donals Byrd; the leading name of free jazz, Ornette Coleman; the diva of soul and gospel, Aretha Franklin; Spanish guitarist / composer and flamenco master Paco De Lucia, a prolific figure of fusion jazz, Alphonse Mouzon; Canadian composer / trumpeter Kenny Wheeler are some of the important jazz musicians who passed away in the last decade. 

The album highlights of 2010’s

Here is our selection of albums that will be remembered as a summary of the 2010’s jazz.

Christian McBride Big Band – The Good Feeling
(2011, Mack Avenue)

Talented musician Christian McBride, who accompanied many iconic names from Freddie Hubbard to Eddie Palmieri with his bass, released his debut as band leader, The Good Feeling, which brought him a Grammy win. The 70 minutes album became the best big band record of 2010’s thanks to the unmatched harmony of a 17 piece orchestra and McBride’s magnificent performance, which, according to many critics, is the best performance of his career to date.

Esperanza Spalding – Radio Music Society
(2012, Heads Up International)

One of the 2010’s leading modern jazz heroines, Esperanza Spalding’s fourth LP explores various disciplines like soul, gospel and big band swing with an impressive mastery. With its two Grammy awards, Radio Music Society is definitely an album to keep close, not only for Spalding’s virtuoso at the bass, but also for her masterful storytelling abilities.

Ambrose Akinmusire – The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint
(2014, Blue Note)

American trumpeter’s second Blue Note album, The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint, offers a unique listening experience with the musician’s masterful composition talent and perfect production skills. This is an innovative, courageous album that creates a whole from start to finish.

Kamasi Washington – Epic
(2015, Brainfeeder)

Quite a few music authorities divide 2010 jazz scene as before Epic and after Epic. Los Angeles based musician crowned his musical accumulation from performances and recordings with various musicians with an album that manages both to feed from the traditions and create a new path.

Sons of Kemet – Your Queen Is A Reptile
(2018, Impulse!)

A major figure from British new generation jazz, Shabaka Hutchings released over ten interesting records with his various projects in 2010’s. Among those, Your Queen Is A Reptile explores the African roots of jazz, salutes historical female figures and represents a polyphonic, rhythmical revolt. This is an album that leaves a mark on its audience.

Here are our other recommendations from 2010’s exciting and influential albums:

Jason Moran – Ten (2010)
Omar Sosa & NDR Bigband – Ceremony (2010)
Branford Marsalis Quartet – Four MFs Playin’ Tunes (2012)
Robert Glasper Experiment – Black Radio (2012)
Preservation Hall Jazz Band – That’s It! (2013)
Fire! Orchestra – Exit! (2013)
Snarky Puppy – We Like It Here (2014)
The Souljazz Orchestra – Inner Fire (2014)
Maria Schneider Orchestra – The Thompson Fields (2015)
Makaya McCraven – In The Moment (2015)
Uyama Hiroto – Freeform Jazz (2016)
Vijay Iyer Sextet – Far From Over (2017)
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah – The Centennial Trilogy (2017)
Nubya Garcia – Nubya’s 5ive (2017)
Bettye LaVette – Things Have Changed (2018)
 

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