International Jazz Artist of the Year Sponsored by Yamaha
Kamasi Washington is a Los Angeles born jazz saxophonist and composer who’s pursued a musical career from a remarkably young age, forming his first Jazz band, ‘The Young Jazz Giants’ in his senior year of high school. Kamasi received a full scholarship to UCLA where he studied a plethora of non-western musical cultures from across the globe. After recording his first album with his high school band he went on to go on his first national tour with west coast hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg.
Continuing his trend of working with a musically diverse group of musicians including the likes of Flying Lotus, Herbie Hancock and Lauryn Hill, Kamasi has more recently worked on Kendrick Lamar’s acclaimed 2015 album “To Pimp A Butterfly.” In 2015, Kamasi released his groundbreaking solo album “The Epic.”
The album is a fantastic 172-minute, triple-disc masterpiece, featuring Kamasi’s ten-piece band “The Next Step” along with a full string orchestra and full choir. Kamasi composed 13 of the 17 tracks on the album and arranged and produced every single one solidifying his position near the head of the current Jazz world.
Marcus Miller, winner of two Grammy Awards, the 2013 Edison Award for ‘Lifetime Achievement in Jazz’, the 2010 Victoire du Jazz and appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2013, is not only a world-renown bassist and multi-instrumentalist but also a highly gifted composer and producer. The album “Tutu,” written and produced for Miles Davis, sealed his international fame when Marcus was only 25. Marcus has produced his own genre-defying albums, among them The Sun Don’t Lie, Tales, M2, Silver Rain, Free, and Renaissance, which gave him the occasion to tour internationally with a new band of gifted young musicians, perhaps reminding his audiences of a certain Miles Davis who had done the same for Marcus and other young talented musicians like Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.
After an absence from the scene in 2014, devoted mainly to composing new music inspired by his role as UNESCO's spokesperson for the Slave Route Project, Marcus recorded a new album to be released at the beginning of 2015. He will return to performing live in 2016 with a new band of young musicians showcasing an array of new music from the jazz mastermind.
Maria Schneider’s music has been hailed by critics as “evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, and beyond categorization.” She and her orchestra became widely known in 1994 when they released their first recording, “Evanescence”. Schneider began to develop her personal way of writing for what would become her 18-member collective, made up of many of the finest musicians in jazz today, tailoring her compositions to distinctly highlight the uniquely creative voices of the group.
Schneider and her orchestra have a distinguished recording career with twelve Grammy nominations and five Grammy awards. Schneider and her orchestra were awarded two Grammys at the 2016 ceremony. The first, ‘Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals’, recognised the excellence of her collaboration with David Bowie on the track “Sue (Or in A season of Crime)” which appeared in a modified form on his acclaimed album ‘Blackstar’. The second GRAMMY was given for ‘Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album’ acknowledging her brilliant work on “The Thompson Fields”.