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5 Upcoming Jazz Artists to Look Out For

It is always exciting to discover a new generation of jazz artists and see what they have to bring to the table. These artists give hope of the art form continuing on through the years. Some of them even give a refreshing, more contemporary sound to the mix.

Below are five artists that you should check out. We’re sure you’ll love their music as much as we did!

Gregory Porter
Gregory Porter is a jazz, soul and gospel singer, songwriter, and actor born in California.

He started his music career performing in local jazz clubs where he met saxophonist, composer, and pianist Kamau Kenyatta. Kenyatta eventually became his mentor.

In 2013, he released his third album Liquid Spirit which became a huge success. It won him the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. In 2017, he took home the MOBO Outstanding Contribution to Music Award.

NPR tagged him as “the next great male jazz singer”.

Check out Porter’s latest album Nat “King” Cole & Me.

Esperanza Spalding
Thirty-one-year-old Esperanza Spalding is a world-renowned jazz singer, bassist, and cellist.

She is a musical prodigy. At five years old, she played violin with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon.

Her latest album Exposure was written and recorded in just 77 hours, with every second of the process broadcast live for a global audience.

Spalding has gone on to win four out of five Grammy nominations including Best New Artist of 2010 – the first jazz musician awarded this title – and Best Jazz Vocal Album for 2012’s Radio Music Society.

Linda May Han Oh
Linda May Han Oh is an Australian Jazz bassist and composer. She studied at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) where she graduated with first-class honors.

In her latest album, she found inspiration from one of Marcel Marceau’s best-loved pieces “Walking Against The Wind”. She used it as a metaphor for her own journey as one of the most respected bassists in modern jazz today.

Oh received an honorary mention at the 2009 Thelonious Monk Bass Competition and was awarded the 2010 Bell Award for Young Australian Artist of the Year.

Robert Glasper
“Robert Glasper heads down the fraught path of hip-hop jazz and gets it right… it feels like a blueprint forward.” -Rolling Stone

Jazz pianist and producer Robert Glasper fuses jazz with various genres like R&B and hip-hop. This is what makes him stand out among his contemporaries.

By his mid-20s, Glasper had already performed with jazz luminaries Terence Blanchard and Christian McBride.

He has won three of six Grammy nominations including Best R&B album in 2012 for Black Radio, Best Traditional R&B Performance, and Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media.

Cécile McLorin Salvant
Salvant grew up in Miami, Florida. She began studying voice at the age of eight with an interest in classical music. Then she transitioned into jazz while studying at the Darius Milhaud Conservatory.

Moving to France in 2007, she was able to study improvisation and vocal repertoire under respected reedist Jean-François Bonnel.

At 20 years old, Salvant won the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition. This prestige launched her career. Her record For One to Love won her the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album.

The New York Times called Salvant “the finest jazz singer to emerge in the last decade.”

Do you know of other up-and-coming jazz artists worth featuring? Share them in the comment section!