Matt Dusk, Barbra Lica and Heather Bambrick – “Juno Mash-Up” (independent): Here’s one of the coolest Juno Award-related initiatives we’ve come across in a while. Matt Dusk, Barbra Lica and Heather Bambrick are all nominated in the Vocal Jazz Album category this year, and Dusk came up with the idea for this project, one in which the three fine singers pool their talents on a mash-up/medley of some of the best-known songs up for a 2017 Juno.
Produced by Dusk and Marc Rogers (who adds guitar, bass, and keys), the medley incorporates hits by Shawn Mendes ("Treat You Better"), The Weeknd ("Starboy"), Alessia Cara ("Here"), Sia ("Cheap Thrills"), and Drake ( "One Dance/Hotline Bing"), all given a jazz twist.
The results transcend gimmickry, as the new renditions are both smoothly-executed and highly entertaining. Drummer Ben Riley and horn players Steve Macdonald & Alex Kudakcioglu add depth, and the three nominees display the vocal chops that make them so popular.
This exercise does show that within the Canadian jazz scene, camaraderie takes precedence over cut-throat competitiveness, and we applaud that attitude.
Read our profile of Juno nominees for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year here