Jazz victories: discover the prestigious 2021 winners

The 2021 winners of the Victoires du Jazz, reinforced with a trophy for world music, was unveiled on Tuesday evening, October 5, 2021, at the Sacem auditorium in Paris. Sacred are saxophonist Pierrick Pédron (instrumental artist), singer Isabel Sörling (vocal artist), clarinetist and saxophonist Michel Portal (jazz album), double bassist and singer Sélène Saint-Aimé (revelation), the Belmondo Quintet (group of l year) and the San Salvador collective (world music album). Pianist Alain Jean-Marie received a Victoire d’honneur.

If the 2020 winners included winners tied in three categories, this is not the case for the 2021 harvest, which is also fairly balanced in terms of parity and diverse in terms of the generations represented (26 years old for the youngest, 85 years old for the dean). The winners, as well as several nominated artists, were presented on the occasion of a beautiful documentary filmed at the end of June at the Folies Bergère, offering wide musical ranges and allowing to hear very personal testimonies from the musicians. Directed by Damien Cabrespines and Magali Cesari, it will be broadcast on November 5 on France 5 in the second part of the evening.

Instrumental artist: Pierrick Pédron

It was when he celebrated his 50th birthday with a musical diptych, Fifty-Fifty (Gazebo), which opened during the winter of 2021 with a first acoustic component recorded in New York, which saxophonist Pierrick Pédron received – finally – his first Jazz Victory. Nominated four times since 2007 (including three since 2012), the alto saxophonist native of Saint-Brieuc, Django Reinhardt Prize 2006 from the Académie du jazz (which also distinguished him for two albums), equally at ease in the bebop than in more electro and rock explorations, wins the Victory of the instrumental artist of the year. If the first outbreak of Fifty-Fifty was recorded with American sizes, the second, expected this fall, features representatives of the French jazz scene gathered in Paris.

Vocal artist: Isabel Sörling

Swedish vocalist born in Ulricehamn (120 km east of Gothenburg), Isabel Sörling has lived in Paris for many years. She leads an eclectic and brilliant career there, with her baggage a dreamlike and ardent universe, sprinkling with volcanic sparks her many artistic collaborations: the pianist Paul Lay, the trumpeter Airelle Besson, the drummer Anne Paceo, the guitarist Paul Jarret, the group November by Antonin-Tri Hoang, the You trio … Without forgetting his own solo career and his astonishing last album to date, Mareld (Iki Records), released in Spring 2020.

Revelation (Frank Ténot Prize): Sélène Saint-Aimé

Double bassist and singer, Sélène Saint-Aimé released her first album, Mare Undarum (Komos), at 25, in September 2020. Of Martinican and Ivorian origin through her parents, she fell in love with the double bass during a concert by Israeli jazzman Avishai Cohen, then the incredible opportunity to do his arms in New York following a meeting with saxophonist Steve Coleman, a very great figure in contemporary jazz. She recorded her first album with a great team made up in particular by the drummer and percussionist Sonny Troupé and the violinist Mathias Levy.

Group: Belmondo Quintet

The famous brothers Stéphane and Lionel Belmondo, respectively trumpeter and saxophonist, have been leading a jazz quintet since 1993. Ten years after their last joint album, they made their comeback to the record in March 2021 with the well-named Brotherhood (B Flat / Jazz & People), recorded with a brilliant formation where we find the essential Eric Legnini on the piano. Within a completely new repertoire, they slipped a tribute to their father Yvan, himself a musician, who was their mentor, who died in 2019.

Jazz album: “MP85” by Michel Portal

He wanted to celebrate his 85 years in music, ten years after his last record Balador (2011). Well it took him: MP85 (Label Bleu), titled in reference to his initials and his age, earned Michel Portal the Victory for the jazz album of the year. We find a formation that saw the light of day on the stage of the Europajazz festival, in Le Mans, in the spring of 2018, and in which appears in particular the pianist Bojan Z (in the production of the disc). The illustrious clarinetist and saxophonist invites the listener on various trips around the world, from Africa to Armenia, but above all to the land of his eternal youth and enthusiasm.

World music album: “La Grande Folie” from San Salvador

Ensemble of voices and percussions with bewitching energy and almost shamanic power, San Salvador launched its first album, The Great Madness (Pagans / MDC / Pias), in January 2021, after having shone on the stages of many festivals. Founded in Corrèze, in Saint-Salvadour, the group of childhood friends (which also houses two brother-sister duets) offers a repertoire written in Occitan, inspired by stories and traditional themes.

Victory of honor: Alain Jean-Marie

Alain Jean-Marie, 75, famous Guadeloupe pianist, has cultivated for decades the links between jazz and Caribbean music, first of all biguine, but also Latin music. Discreet, modest and eclectic, he performs with equal grace as a soloist or as a sideman. An inconic and highly respected personality of French jazz, he was awarded his Victoire by Archie Shepp by the honorary president of the Victoires du jazz 2021, at the end of June at the Folies Bergère, in a particularly touching sequence to be discovered in the documentary which will be broadcast on November 5 on France 5.

Instrumental artist : Airelle Besson (trumpet), Naïssam Jalal (flute), Pierrick Pédron (saxophone)
Vocal artist : Camille Bertault, Élise Caron, Isabel Sörling
Revelation (Frank Ténot Prize) : Louise Jallu (bandoneon), Tony Paeleman (keyboards), Sélène Saint-Aimé (double bass, vocals)
Group : Belmondo Quintet, Multiquarium Big Band, Supernatural Orchestra

Jazz album
: Abrazo by Émile Parisien and Vincent Peirani, Love is Everywhere by Laurent Bardainne and Freshwater Tiger, MP85 by Michel Portal
World Music Album : The Great Madness from San Salvador, On / Off by Bachar Mar-Khalifé, Tempo by Dom La Nena

> Find the winners 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013.

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