|Judi Jackson cast a spell over the world of jazz, her undoubted world class talent earning her the accolade of Vocalist of the Year at the 2020 Jazz FM Awards. Further fuelled by her single ‘Crashing Down’, that honour sparked anticipation for Judi’sfull-length debut album ‘Grace’, which is out now on streaming/digital formats. |
‘Grace’ is the creation of an artist with a voice that only comes along every so often. Warm and powerful here, crystalline and delicate there, it’s one that runs the gamut of emotions: the joy of life, the tenderness of new love, the despair of heartbreak, the feeling of triumph and possibility that accompanies starting over. Pitch-perfect whether hitting magnificent highs or sliding into sultry depths, Judi’s voice recalls some of music’s great divas.
While her voice is timeless, Judi’s songs unite London’s modern jazz scene with respect for the genre’s storied heritage and explorations into the world of neo-soul. If you’re a newcomer to Judi’s charms, the track ‘River’ is an ideal starting point. A deeply affecting ballad which seems to exist out of time and space, it flows very naturally from grief to resolution to peace, with Judi’s eloquently poised vocal expressing every nuance of emotion.
A gifted collaborator, Judi co-wrote ‘River’ with Nicolas Littlemore of Empire of the Sun, with production courtesy of Tommaso Colliva (Erykah Badu, Damon Albarn’s Africa Express) and string arrangements from the Grammy Award-winner and regular Coldplay collaborator Davide Rossi.
Colliva is the main producer throughout the album, while Rossicontributes to three key tracks. It’s almost immediately apparent that Judi is not an artist who is easy to pigeonhole. It’s clear that she isn’t going to repeat the same idea or even style twice, as moves confidently from the live trip-hop leanings of ‘Strawberry Lady’ to the Stevie Nicks-tinged majesty of ‘Magic’ via a true space oddity with the galactic synths and staccato rhymes of the Blue Lab Beats collab ‘Space Gyal’. ‘Sunrise’ features an unlikely guest in the shape of Arthur Verocai, the cult Brazilian artist whose self-titled 1972 album is regarded as a great undiscovered classic. Finally, Judi departs with ‘Grace’, a song of such unadorned elegance that it couldn’t be titled anything else. The majority of the ‘Grace’ album was recorded in London or Milan between 2019 and 2021, with all fifteen songs written or co-written by Judi. Other notable collaborators include Reuben James (John Legend, Nile Rodgers), Tim Baxter (Jasmine Thompson, Muse), and Tom Excell, leader of the UK’s acclaimed afro-jazz collective Nubiyan Twist.
The album’s digital release will be followed by CD and vinyl formats on January 28th and available to pre-order / pre-save HERE. Judi Jackson grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, playing piano and singing in the church choir. Inspired by the greats – Bettie Carter, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone – her career started to take shape in her teens.
She was just 16 when she opened for Mavis Staples, and two years later, teamed with jazz fusionists Snarky Puppy to record her own song, ‘Only Love’, for their Grammy-winning album ‘Family Dinner: Volume One’. She later moved to London, where she channelled influences such as Joni Mitchell, Sade and Erykah Badu into her acclaimed EP ‘Blame It On My Youth’.
‘Strawberry Lady’ ‘Crashing Down’ ‘Space Gyal’ ‘Magic’ ‘Little Sunflower’ ‘Sunrise’ ‘River’ ‘Strangest Engagement’ ‘Spring’ ‘Blue Baby’ ‘Soliloquy’ ‘Two of Us’ ‘In the Night’ ‘Over the Moon’ ‘Grace
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