Welcome back to JUNO Week as we take a look at the Albertans nominated for JUNO Awards. If you need to catch up, you can find Day 1 here and Day 2 here, but today is Day 3! Almost as if we had a theme for today, we’ve got three album of the year nominees across three different categories.
Electronic Album of the Year
A Life Well Lived, AM Static
Simply described as “the collaborative effort of Calgary based Chris Austman and Nils Mikkelsen,” AM Static came together in the summer of 2011. Austman – who in addition to being a classical guitarist and singer/songwriter is also an actor, appearing in a number of filmed-in-Alberta productions like Hell on Wheels and Forsaken – and Mikkelsen – a sound engineer and music teacher – came together over shared love of electronic music, and the results have earned the duo their first ever JUNO nod.
A Life Well Lived is AM Static’s second release, and first full length album. It touches on multiple genres, including pop, folk, and jazz as they walk listeners through contemplations on the beginning, middle and end of life and what makes it well-lived.
Beatroute has a fantastic write-up of the band, including their journey and thoughts on the future. If you want to sample some of AM Static’s music, you can listen to the first track of A Life Well Lived below.
Instrumental Album of the Year
Legacy Live, Jens Lindemann and Tommy Banks
You might be surprised to know that Edmonton’s legendary Tommy Banks – Founding Chairman of the Alberta Foundation for the Performing Arts, guest conductor of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, jazz pianist and former Canadian Senator – has only won one JUNO award in his life. Now, at 80, Banks is in back in the running for another, not to mention lending a hand on Al Muirhead’s JUNO nominated album, which you can read about below.
Banks teamed up with trumpeter (and the first classical brass soloist to be named to the Order of Canada) Jens Lindemann at the Ironwood Stage and Grill in Calgary to record Legacy Live. Lindemann is no rookie; according to his JUNO write-up Lindemann is “hailed as one of the most celebrated artists in the trumpet’s history has played both jazz and classical in every major concert venue in the world. He’s played for royalty and world leaders all around the world. Even so, when asked about his preference in an interview with the Calgary Herald last year, Lindemann says he is “…especially fond of the Ironwood. My motivation is particularly to promote the idea of that club and clubs like it, places that provide grassroots support for young artists coming up. And those of us who have started to establish our careers, we don’t forget where we began.”
Check out the first track from Legacy Live, “Oblivion,” below
Jazz Album of the Year: Solo
It’s About Time, Al Muirhead
A trumpeter, composer, arranger, sideman and recording artist, Al Muirhead is a legend in the Canadian jazz scene. Dubbed the ‘Elder statesman of Jazz Trumpet in Alberta”, Calgary-based Muirhead started playing in the Regina Symphony at age 12 and went on to working with legends like Diana Krall, Paul Anka and Dizzy Gillespie.
Muirhead has contributed to 26 albums and now, at 80, has just released his first solo album. It’s About Time, which Muirhead has called a tribute album to his trumpet heroes, was produced with long-time friends and fellow Alberta musicians Tommy Banks and P.J. Perry. And, jazz fans will be happy to know, Muirhead has two more albums in the works!
That wraps up Day 3 of our JUNO profiles. Check back tomorrow for our final three nominees who all have a very certain something in common. What is it? You’ll find out tomorrow!