Updated: Jan 31, 2021
Over the past week, we've been announcing the nominations for the inaugural Jazz Revelations Awards - a digital end-of-year celebration of some of the finest jazz-based musicians, albums and EPs on the scene in 2020.
There are so many artists who have astounded us throughout the year, all deserving to be recognised for their achievements. 2020 has been a difficult year for so many of us and music has, once again, proven to an overwhelming source of solace, joy and hope.
We have spent hours listening to, musing over and debating the incredible music which has been released throughout the year.
These are the artists and the music which has really stood above the rest for us...
Jazz Revelations Awards 2020 Winners:
UK Artist of 2020 - Jazz Revelations Awards 2020
The ‘UK Artist of the Year’ is awarded for an outstanding jazz-orientated UK figure or group, whose impact in 2020 cannot be understated. This year, UK Artist of 2020 is being given to Emma-Jean Thackray.
The hyper-talented multi-instrumentalist, beat-maker and producer Emma-Jean Thackray has had a superb year. Over the past 12 months, she’s launched her own label, releasing a cracking visceral EP (Rain Dance), a brilliant expansive passion project with Night Dreamer, recently reissued her first two works as well as creating a series of cracking beat-laden remixes. Her depth of musicality and creative vision never fails to impress me.
In a year which has been tough for all, particularly those within the performing industries, Emma-Jean Thackray has been able to distinguish herself in an outstanding field of artists. Her contribution to the UK and international jazz scenes is boundless and should be recognised widely for her tireless work.
Ally J Steel
International Artist of 2020 - Jazz Revelations Awards 2020
‘International Artist of 2020’ will be awarded to a remarkable jazz-orientated figure or group, whose musical influence and contribution has transcended international borders. Our International Artist of 2020 goes to Butcher Brown.
An accomplished and distinguished international artist; the Virginia-based quintet Butcher Brown have had an incredible year. They released their first LP on legendary label Concord Jazz, titled #KingButch, as well as continually providing enjoyment through lockdown with their YouTube covers series ‘#MothershipMondays’. Having been commissioned to create a new version of Little Richard’s ‘Rip It Up’ for ESPN’s Monday Night Football coverage in the US too, they have really pushed themselves over the past year in taking the opportunity to establish themselves as one of the most dynamic and progressive artists in the jazz world.
Delving a little deeper into #KingButch, they fuse contemporary hip-hop, 70s fusion, 60s jazz and funk in a sublime manner that makes you want to bop and chill at the same time - the sound is tight, and they just sound fucking cool. The album has been on repeat by everyone at Jazz Revelations and is a firm favourite. They are deserved winners as the past year is just the tip of the iceberg after years of astounding releases and great online presence.
Breakthrough Artist of 2020- Jazz Revelations Awards 2020
‘Breakthrough Artist of the Year’ will be awarded to a jazz-orientated figure or group whose sound has broken through the musical mould, making the industry sit up and take notice. Our Breakthrough Artist of 2020 is b-Ahwe.
Leeds’ b-Ahwe shared her debut extended-release Nuance this year and it was golden. Her vocals completely draw you in, cascading through different tones seamlessly as she uses her voice to act like an ambient instrument but also to flow quickly through different lyrics in a neo-soul and hip-hop style. Her sound can be delicate and heavenly as much as it can cut through, with her band providing stabs for her melodies to subtly hit you - ‘Sweet’ is THE track that does it all and it’s already a classic for me.
Having performed with various Leeds artists over the last couple of years as well as being a part of Leeds quintet Yaatri, B-ahwe certainly won’t find it hard to continue her upward trajectory out of Leeds into wider recognition, both on her own and through collaborating other artists. There really isn’t much more an unsigned, underground artist could do on a first full-length release; the recognition she has earned so far is justified but she deserves more. There’s a bright future ahead for B-ahwe.
EP of the Year - Jazz Revelations Awards 2020
‘EP of 2020’ will be awarded to a jazz-orientated extended play release which captivated us and stood out amongst the fold in a highly packed 2020. .EP of 2020 goes to 44th Move for their self-titled EP 44th Move.
44th Move - 44th Move
Two titans of the London scene, Alfa Mist (keys) & Richard Spaven (drums) blended their beautiful rhythms and styles together on this highly listenable eponymous EP. A freely moving, modern sound, featuring Alfa Mist’s haunting storytelling on the microphone in ‘Hope’. Introducing trumpeter Takuya Kuroda, was the cherry on top. A modern collision of the scene’s best sounds, intertwined so perfectly. Everything we love here at Jazz Revelations in a nutshell.
44th Move nailed every element of this EP. Their aura of drama and emotion is so honest. Alfa Mist’s striking observational songwriting drummed within the pair’s nu-soul jazz was faultless. This coming together of unique musical identities is a credit to the highly collaborative UK jazz scene. A stand out project on all accounts.
Album of 2020 - Jazz Revelations Awards 2020
‘Album of 2020’ will be awarded for a full-length jazz-orientated release whose quality is supreme in a year flowing with the highest quality music. This year, our Album of 2020 goes to Greg Foat for Symphonie Pacifique.
Greg Foat - Symphonie Pacifique
Lush, expansive and nothing short of magnificent. UK-based composer and pianist Greg Foat’s Symphonie Pacfique calls upon a mighty force of strings, choir and a multi-generational array of fine musicians (including drummer Moses Boyd) to chart this courageous outing. In a 2020 which has been testing for all, Greg’s musical odyssey has been a temptatious source of joy.
Symphonie Pacifique really is a titanic journey which flows with grace and awe. It swells with rich harmonies, passionate solos and brilliant voicing. We cannot commend this record enough - it’s a modern masterpiece.
Ally J Steel
We cannot stress enough that there are so many artists who have blown us away this year. If you haven't seen our 2020 nominees, you can see them here.