|After winning Vocalist of the Year at the 2020 Jazz FM Awards, Judi Jackson has continued to put her world class talent in the spotlight. Last year saw her sell-out a prestigious London show at the Jazz Café, while her growing reputation was augmented as Jazz FM playlisted her track ‘River’.|
Now Judi Jackson again shines as her full-length debut album ‘Grace’ is released today on vinyl and CD, having been released initially for streaming and download last year. Both physical formats are available to order HERE. The album’s many highlights include ‘River’ and ‘Strawberry Lady’, both of which are now being serviced to radio. Judi celebrated the album’s release by headlining a special album launch show at Notting Hill Arts Club last night.
‘River’ is an engaging introduction to Judi’s organic cocktail of influences from the contemporary jazz scene to the world of neo-soul, while also respecting the authenticity of jazz’s deep history. ‘River’ is a deeply affecting ballad which seems to exist out of time and space, as it flows very naturally from grief to resolution to peace, with Judi’s eloquently poised vocal expressing every nuance of emotion. Judi wrote the song with Nicolas Littlemore, best known for his work with Empire of the Sun.
While ‘River’ presents a vintage touch singer vibe, ‘Strawberry Lady’ showcases a different aspect to Judi’s sound. Her exquisitely elegant vocal delivery adorns a hazy daydream of a track, with touches of trip-hop and modern R&B flavouring the essence of its jazzy grooves.
The two songs hint at the diversity and distinction of the ‘Grace’ album. It’s 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 between the glorious soul of ‘Crashing Down’ 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.
Judi says, “This album is a treasure chest of emotions from the tenderness of new love, the despair of heartbreak, the feeling of triumph and the possibility of starting over.”
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, while Tommaso Colliva (Erykah Badu, Damon Albarn’s Africa Express) is the main producer. The Grammy Award-winner and regular Coldplay collaborator Davide Rossi contributes string arrangements to three songs, while other notable collaborators include Reuben James (John Legend, Nile Rodgers), Tim Baxter (Jasmine Thompson, John Newman), Tom Excell, leader of the UK’s acclaimed afro-jazz collective Nubiyan Twist, and rising soul talent Benny Atlas.
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’.
Expect further news from Judi Jackson soon, including the launch of an official video for ‘River’ and a session for Jazz FM.
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