Ear to Ear: 10 jazz artists to watch in 2020

Every day we hear many new releases, in the hope of finding a few songs with that indefinable “magic” that will allow you to listen to Excellence In Jazz on CapRadio. By evaluating recent releases, our jazz team found ten artists that we recommend you keep a close ear for in 2020!

Gary G. Vercelli

Catherine russell

Singer Catherine Russell’s CD “Alone Together” topped the JazzWeek 2019 national broadcast table, bringing together 5,465 station rotations across the country (including many on CapRadio!). What sets Russell apart from his peers is his energy, clear diction, and ability to touch your soul with his candid interpretation of standards. Watch for Cat Russell’s more energetic excitement in 2020.

Remarkable track: “Early in the morning”

Work for me

Posi-Tone Records producer Marc Free regularly brings together unique groups of young emerging musicians. Works for Me is essentially a modern bop quintet with a guitarist instead of a trumpet. On a brilliant overhaul of Joe Henderson’s “Jinrikisha”, guitarist Tony Davis and saxophonist Alexa Tarantino both shine with effortless solos. Watch for Davis and Tarantino in 2020, both as members of this collective and as leaders of their own groups.

Remarkable track: “Jinrikisha”

Christian mcbride

Christian McBride is everywhere! Host of NPR’s Jazz Night in America and Sirius XM’s The Lowdown: Conversations with Christian, McBride is also arguably the most sought-after bassist in modern music. McBride demonstrates his skills as a songwriter, arranger and lyricist on “The Movement Revisited,” a five-part sequel saluting four key figures in the civil rights movement. Expect Christian McBride to add to his incredible body of work in 2020.

Remarkable track: “Soldiers (I have a dream)”

Rachel & Vilay

Rachael Price has a distinctly recognizable voice. Although obviously influenced by Billie Holiday, she is also delightfully original as she performs new songs composed by Vilray that sound like they could have been standards in the 1940s or 1950s. Guitarist Vilray writes some refreshing new material which is stylistically linked to a bygone era. Check out the witty lyrics on “At Your Mother’s House”.

Remarkable track: “At your mother’s house”

Andrew Mills


This predominantly female group from the United Kingdom produced, according to this writer, the best jazz album of 2019 with “Blume”. Their fresh, revolutionary sound and unique compositions blend the sounds of classic Blue Note recordings from the mid-1960s with modern styles, such as hip-hop and afrobeat. Jazz fans around the world should be excited to see what they have in store for us in 2020.

Remarkable track: ” Birth “

Sahra gure

Another UK-based artist, 22-year-old singer Sahra Gure is already making waves on London’s exciting and highly competitive jazz scene. In 2019, she graduated from the Trinity Laban Conservatory of Music and Dance, won the Musicians’ Company Young Jazz Musician Award and released her debut EP, “Love Me with Me”. She began her career as a classical violinist, but the sound of this record, which Gure wrote and produced, is unmistakably neo-soul. His is definitely a career to watch.

Remarkable track: “Better dream”

Joel ross

Joel Ross is a phenomenon. The young vibraphonist plays with such fluidity and creativity that one cannot help but concentrate on each note produced by his mallets. I’m told he’s even better live. Her debut album, “Kingmaker”, was released in May 2019 and was a great success. Ross didn’t stop there, however, as he’s already made his mark as a featured artist in 2020 on saxophonist Jure Pukl’s upcoming release, “Broken Circles”. With a busy performance schedule and new recordings in the works, Joel Ross deserves to be watched this year.

Remarkable track: “Sustained optimism”

Avery jeffry

Jose james

Known for his role in blending modern jazz and soul with hip-hop, baritone singer José James has been releasing solid albums and collaborations for over 10 years. It’s no surprise then that he is causing a sensation in 2020. James’ new album, “No Beginning No End 2”, will be released on March 6 and is a sequel to his 2013 Blue Note debut, which featured big hits. contemporary hitters like Robert Glasper and Pino Palladino. This time around, he’s working alongside Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah ​​and Laura Mvula. If the first single is any indication, I would say this album will be a success.

Exceptional track: “I need your love”

Jazzmeia horn

They always say that the second album is the most important for a new artist to prove himself. If so, then Dallas, Texas-born singer Jazzmeia Horn raised the bar pretty high with a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album of 2019. Released last year on Concord, ” Love & Liberation “is full of blues, R&B and lots of wonderful post-bop swing. Horn proves his ability to compose and rejuvenate old classics alongside pianist Victor Gould, bassist Ben Williams and drummer / singer Jamison Ross. Pay attention to her in 2020, as she will surely continue to prove herself throughout the New Year.

Remarkable track: “Free your mind”

Jon batiste

If there’s one artist showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon, it’s pianist, composer and conductor Jon Batiste. He has become quite well known on television since becoming the Music Director and house group leader of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”. in 2015 and released two albums last year, both recorded live at Village Vanguard in New York City. The two sessions, titled “Anatomy of Angels” and “Chronology of a Dream,” capture Batiste and his group, Stay Human, in their perhaps most comfortable and engaging atmosphere. Be sure to watch out for this rising star as he continues to honor and innovate black American music in 2020.

Remarkable track: “Soul”

Ada J. Kenney