Artists of the Year - 2021
After much thought we have chosen two artists of the year; one for JAZZ and one for BLUES. Blues. Both artists offer a contemporary take on the golden years of jazz and blues, the time before WW11 and the few decades after when big music came out of small clubs scattered across the country from the urban centers to the Mississippi Delta.
Today the jazz fans on-line seem to crave the jazz of old but cling to the memories of Miles and Coltrane and Sarah without giving much thought to the many young musicians that are keeping jazz alive with a fresh look. Blues music seems to have fallen into the hands of white rockers who appreciate the downhome sound but can’t quite capture the spirit. Both of these artists of the year are just what the doctor ordered to cure the yearning for the real deal.
Veronica Swift - Jazz
Veronica Swift is a few years from 30 and one jazz critic has already declared that …”she might be the best scat singer since Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day Sarah Vaughn and Mel Torme.” She is a young, old school jazz vocalist who sings as though she is always looking back into the past. She is headed for first name fame, soon to be known simply as Veronica.
Amythyst Kiah - Blues
Kiah may be the most interesting and different performer to come on the Blues scene maybe ever. She is from East Tennessee and plays both the guitar and banjo and sings both Blues and Country music. You can hear in her voice that sound that represents the long ago influence of Black blues singers on the country music of Appalachia. Down-home blues is gone. It died with Etta James and Koko Taylor and Esther Phillips but its spirit is alive and well in the soul of an openly queer Black woman who may be the best living female blues singer around.