For all those smooth jazz listeners, it’s International Jazz Day today! The origins of jazz go back to the mid 19th century in New Orleans from the African American community. And from there, it grew, spreading to different continents and giving way to numerous styles of jazz music. Jazz has and continues to influence a lot of modern day music, giving way to interesting blends of genres and sounds. When I think of the different kinds of music playing today, it is my opinion that a lot of popular music today is quite timely. But jazz, and all the different styles of jazz, is timeless because its influences are so pervasive in our music culture. Here are some of my recent favorite artists with jazz sounds (who could and should totally collaborate together):
Grace Kelly has been playing jazz music since she was young and is quickly becoming one of the rising stars of jazz music. With her smooth alto sax, her light voice, and her insatiable curiosity, Kelly creates music that blends easily with popular genres of today. She released her most recent album, Trying To Figure It Out, back in February, which you should definitely check out. Her site is here.
Khalil Fong was born in Hawaii, but his music career is in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Much of his earlier music features elements of jazz with heavy notes of funk and soul. He cites Stevie Wonder as one of his biggest musical inspirations and even did a pretty awesome cover for one of his songs. Now, Fong is working on a new label that focuses on fusing Chinese and Western sounds and introduce a truly multicultural music experience. His YouTube channel is here.
Connie Han released her first jazz piano album in December 2015 called the The Richard Rodgers Songbook and is quickly being recognized by the music community as a great addition to the “jazz piano legacy.” She has been called an innovator and a true devotee to jazz music, bringing a refreshing contemporary style to the classic sounds. Bonus: Han and Grace Kelly will be at the Asian Heritage Jazz Festival in Los Angeles in June this year. Check out her site!
Cuong Vu is a Grammy award-winning trumpet aficionado and known for his unique sounds and compositions. His music is truly nothing I have ever heard before and if you’ve heard his music before, than you understand: Vu uses many modern sounds in combination with an avant garde trumpet playing style to create out-of-this-world music and pieces. It’s one of a kind.
Cristina Gatti is known for singing classy and incredible covers for the YouTube channel, Postmodern Jukebox. PMJ is all about putting an old-fashion spin to today’s song, but Gatti’s voice is seriously not of this century. Her voice is so versatile, but she always sounds raw and sophisticated. I seriously hope to hear her live or in a swanky establishment with her voice captivating the entire audience. Check her Instagram for the latest.