Esperanza-SpaldingA common misconception with Jazz is that it’s a vintage style of music, consigned to Detroit bars and Madison Avenue hotel lobbys. That’s just not the case. Sure, you don’t see as many Jazz artists in the charts any more but when is the last time you listened to the Top 10 on a Sunday afternoon and didn’t hear at least a single horn? Amy Winehouse was regularly topping the charts and lots of her songs made use of saxophones and trumpets, not to mention the brass craze that’s sweeping Dance and House music this summer.

But when it comes to true Jazz artists, you’d have a point in saying that they don’t get as much exposure as they used to. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist…

Phronesis

What do you get if you combine an outstanding double-bassist from Denmark, a Norwegian percussionist and a Kent-born pianist called Ivo? Phronesis is an eclectic trio of excellent musicians with entirely different backgrounds, an array of disparate talents and completely different styles of play. But it works. It works really well.

Audiences around the world are being captivated into silence just watching these three guys perform, with no vocal accompaniment whatsoever. An incredible ability to compose music that sounds for all the world like the best freeform you’ve ever heard, the jewel of Phronesis’ discography so far is their complex and jaw-droppingly-impressive piece entitled Abraham’s New Gift.

Esperanza Spalding

Spalding is a Portland born and bred multi-instrumentalist with a heavy inspiration in Jazz. An incredibly talented cellist, bassist and vocalist – Spalding is keeping the American Jazz sound alive with songs like Black Gold, an incredible hark back to the days of the 1940s. Not yet 30, this talented singer from Oregon has already racked up four Grammy Awards yet her name isn’t as well known as some chart singers who haven’t won a thing. She is also the first Jazz artist in history to win the Best New Artist grammy.

Her personality shines through in all of her music and her talent with any instrument she lays her fingers on is evident. Her high, lilting voice has a soulful depth to it and she brings Jazz into the 21st century, mixing it with all manner of American and South American genres to make fusion music that you can relax to as much as you can jive to it.

Melody Gardot

The classically beautiful and classically talented Gardot could have stepped out of any Paris noir flick, but this exemplary Jazz artist is actually from Philadelphia. Commonly compared to Nina Simone, her pitch-perfect voice and tremendous mastery of stringed instruments has won her plaudits from some of the most respected musicians of the genre.

Melody Gardot is also an incredibly lucky and interesting lady, having been bed-bound in hospital for a year in 2003 after suffering serious head and spinal injuries and breaking her pelvis in two places. The victim of a car accident whilst she was out cycling, Gardot had to learn how to walk, brush her teeth and live her life; from scratch. Whilst she made a full recovery, she has been left hyper sensitive to both sound and light which is why you’ll see her sporting sunglasses in almost every performance. She used music to aid her recovery and her newfound sensitivity to pitch and note left her able to key her voice into absolutely any sound she needed to. You will notice her music, live or recorded, seems almost too pitch-perfect to be true.