Jazz Innovation of the Year (Sponsored by Mishcon De Reya)

Christian Scott is a two-time Edison Award winning and Grammy Award nominated trumpeter, composer, producer and music executive.  Christian’s Grammy nominated international recording debut, “Rewind” was called “arguably the most remarkable premiere the genre has seen in the last decade” by Billboard Magazine, earning Christian an inclusion in their list of “Ones to Watch in 2006.” Since 2002 Scott has released seven critically acclaimed studio recordings and two live albums, the most recent being the explorative album “Stretch Music”.

The album comes as an effort by Scott to ‘stretch’ jazz’s rhythmic, melodic and harmonic conventions to encompass as many musical forms, languages and cultures as he can. It is an attempt to demonstrate that Jazz should not be a rigid definition of a genre rather a term that is used to describe a form of music. Scott states that because his work is inherently jazz does not mean that it is exclusively jazz.  The album itself is a blend of a clear variety of styles and genres that goes together to create something as new as it is exciting.

 

 

Black Top began in 2011 when Jazz Warrior and multi-instrumentalist Orphy Robinson came together with pianist Pat Thomas to form a shape-shifting unit dedicated to exploring the intersection between live instruments and lo-fi technology. Their freely improvised performances combine twisted loops, samples and dub-effects, which draw on their Afro-Caribbean roots, with a spontaneity and daring rooted in experimental free-jazz and the spirit of pure improvisation.

The result is always a journey that conjures evocative and dramatic soundscapes, which mirror Black Top’s expansive global worldview. While Orphy and Pat throw around random phrases like ‘Archaic Nubian Step Dub’ this meeting of musical minds is dedicated to developing working relationships with virtuoso musicians from across the cultural spectrum who can match their own technical dexterity and handle the element of surprise. Black Top will always keep improvisation at the core of its Step Dub explorations promising in an intense inspection of black influences on sound but not necessarily from an African American perspective. Black Top will always keep improvisation at the core of its Step Dub explorations promising in an intense inspection of black influences on sound.

 

Cuban born pianist and composer David Virelles grew up in a musical home. He started classical training at a young age whilst being exposed to the rich wonders of Cuban musical traditions like the comparsa music of Carnival, the sounds of abakuá processions and the dance music of popular bands such as Irakere and NG La Banda. Virelles is now based in Brooklyn and elements from both his Cuban and New York environments have had clear influences on his musicianship. The exploration of Afro-Cuban sacred and ritual music through the use of contemporary technology and materials is a focal point for his work.

Virelles’ most recent album, “Mboko” was released in late 2014 and is an intelligent record that makes use of a pianist, two double basses, a Drum set and traditionak Cuban percussion instrument the Biankoméko Abakuá. The record is an exploration of Cuban culture and traditions and receives a vital input from Cuban folk musician and multi-instrumentalist Román Diaz who takes charge of the Cuban Abakuá. Virelles has used computer generated rhythms, Yoruba traditions and improvisation in his previous projects resulting in an intelligent and interesting performance.