Top 10 Jazz Artists Worth Listening to in the 21st Century

Tags: #Jazz ,   #JazzMusic ,   #JazzMusician ,   #NorahJones

Mark Kirchman

Mark Kirchman

Last updated:  2022-12-01 18:00:08

Jazz is a beautiful music genre that has been around for quite a while. It listens, and it improvises, just like it has always done. With a single artist or multiple member bands, jazz always lifts up spirits and controls the mood in the room. Whether in a small space or crowded arena, a virtuoso instrumentalist or a singer can always be breathtaking. Admittedly, jazz isn't everybody's cup of tea, but we are confident there are artists out there according to your taste. Therefore, here is our choice of the top ten jazz artists performing and recording in the 21st century.

10. John Zorn

John Zorn knows how to easily take his listeners through many genres

This maestro is somebody who should definitely be heard! Zorn has been active on the music scene since the 1970s, making him well-established. You could say he belongs to the avant-garde type of jazz artist, and his performances are oozing energy. He successfully mixes several genres such as rock, classical music, metal, and jazz, of course.

In 2011, Zorn was introduced into the Long Island Hall of Fame. He's signed under several hundred recordings as a solo artist and a group member. Furthermore, his 2021 "New Masada Quartet" is an eight-track masterpiece filled with burning solos, telepathic group interaction, heartfelt lyricism, and hypnotic grooves.

9. Dave Douglas

Here's some of the most refreshing jazz you'll hear today!

Musician, composer, and an excellent bandleader, this artist is someone you should definitely catch in the act if possible. Like our previous musician, this one has been active for quite some time, and he's not thinking of stopping. Mostly playing the trumpet, Dave Douglas has several hundred recordings in his career and his own record label.

We could say that his style incorporates mainly jazz and electronic music into some sort of free jazz. Dave's record from 2015, "Brazen Heart," with its 11 tracks, will slightly take you back to the 1960s with a bit of improvisation. Besides his music career, he's also devoted himself to teaching in several music schools.

8. Camille Munn

Camille Munn shines in "Sippin'" music video

What this young lady has given us so far is undoubtedly of excellent quality, and we can't wait to hear what she'll offer us in the future. As a songwriter, Camille had her debut album "Eighteen" in 2019, followed by "Love me B4" and "Sippin'"(2021). As she says, she has been creating music for a while but only later put it on the internet.

She has not published many music videos online, but these are certainly art pieces. We recommend you go to her YouTube channels and take a look. Camille is signed there as a creative director, and we can be sure that she expresses more than her music in her performances. We could describe Camille's style as a mixture of jazz, soul, and electric sound, making it some sort of neo-soul genre.

7. Amina Figarova

Amina is one hell of a piano player!

Amina Figarova was born in Azerbaijan, but she's traveled the world with her skillful fingers playing over the piano keyboard. Her music style is uplifting jazz, and who wouldn't like to listen to good piano and flute, performed by her husband, Bart Platteau. Amina has many albums in her discography, and "Persistence" (2020) is a must-hear!

Furthermore, she nicely fuses funk, R&B, reggae, and Latin music while performing on the highest level. Her band is building its reputation quickly, so we invite you to jump on the Figarova train! Melodies this band performs have pulsive rhythms and excellent sophistication. That's why we can't wait for her new songs!

6. Christian Scott

A good jazz band like this one can always lift up your spirit

Christian Scott already has five Grammy Awards nominees, which says enough about his quality. He is most known for playing the trumpet and already has many albums, including those made as a group member. Christian is also known under the name aTunde Adjuah.

His recording from 2015, "Stretch Music," definitely justifies its name. As a young artist, he understands other genres effortlessly, and with a good choice of notes, delivers pure joy music. In 2020, Christian recorded the live album "Axiom," made from one of his last performances before the pandemic.

5. Kamasi Washington

A true masterpiece!

Usually playing tenor saxophone, you can't confuse Kamasi Washington with anyone else thanks to his afro hair and music. Critics write that his work is fearless, highest level artistically and politically. Yet, no matter what others say, his music is smooth and easy to listen to, which is the most important. 

So far, he has several albums as a bandleader, and we can confidently say that they all nicely add up to each other while staying unique. Kamasi pulls you into his world of thought and enjoyment like a skillful craftsman and shows you the way. He's already a well-established artist, and we can't wait to hear what else he's preparing for us.

4. Carla Bley

Listen to this calming and relaxing music performed by a jazz legend

Even though Carla isn't a newcomer, she is definitely somebody you should listen to and consider a relevant artist in the 21st century. She's most known for her jazz opera "Escalator over the Hill" recorded in the late 1960s alongside Paul Haines. Carla's music takes you on a wide variety of paths, and many people enjoy it.

Her album "Life Goes On" is a studio-recorded project with Andy Sheppard and Steve Swallow from 2020. Anyone already a fan of jazz music knows those names, as they represent notable figures in contemporary jazz. Songs from this record will resonate in your head for a long time.

3. Marcus Miller

Marcus is here with another talented young musician, Selah Sue

A multi-instrumentalist, but mostly playing bass guitar, Marcus Miller is one of a kind artist whose range of music genres is outstanding. People know him as a jazz musician, which he definitely is, but let's not put aside a wide variety of artists he worked with over the years. Just some of them include legendary Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, as well as David Sanborn and others.

As a bandleader, he already has more than a dozen albums. The "Laid Black" from 2018 is an exciting mixture of hip-hop and rap with a jazz background. With his recognizable slap bass playing style, he introduces listeners to the original sound breaking barriers of what jazz music should sound like. We can't wait for his new songs, and we highly recommend his music.

2. Norah Jones

Here is Norah performing one of the songs from her album "I Dream of Christmas"

Norah Jones was chosen as the top jazz artist of the 2000s decade, so is there something more to say? Also, she has won multiple Grammy Awards. Most importantly, she hasn't stopped winning people's hearts since she released the debut album "Come Away With Me" (2002). The talented star smoothly incorporates country, folk, and pop music into her work, combining it into her own jazz style.

In 2021 Norah Jones won her fans once again with an album entitled "I Dream of Christmas." The title says it all, so those Christmas tracks should be played during the festive season. Elegant and charming, music from this album would also be perfect for you to listen to if you haven't heard of this exquisite artist.

1. Gregory Porter

"Dry Bones" is one the best songs by Gregory Porter!

We finish our list with an artist considered one of the new legends of jazz music. Gregory Porter is a singer with an outstanding band behind him and a few Grammy Awards. He is influenced by religion and church, as shown in his musical career. We can say his style is uplifting jazz with a considerable gospel influence, and that's evident to everyone from the moment they start listening to his songs.

His biggest achievement is the album "Liquid Spirit "(2013), for which he won his first Grammy Award. In that album, he performs confidently, and the whole band is so polished that no one can stay indifferent. 

Jazz music is terrific for its performers as they are usually willing to experiment and improvise. If artists know what they are doing, they can create a masterpiece that takes you on a lifetime journey.

Do you love some of these jazz artists? Is there anyone else deserving the place on our top ten list?

Photo: tatlin/Pixabay


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Diehard Says:

Camille Munn is excellent, yet her YouTube channel statistics are tragic. With so many artists and music, some will stay underappreciated for a long time.

September 01 at 08:41:54 AM

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