25 Modern Jazz Artists You Need to Hear in 2023

by Alex Harris

30th April, 2023

25 Modern Jazz Artists You Need to Hear in 2023

Jazz is a genre that never goes out of style. It has a rich history of innovation and creativity and continues to evolve and inspire new generations of musicians and listeners.

Jazz is not only a music of the past but also a music of the present and the future.

In this article, we will introduce you to 25 modern jazz artists reinventing the sound of jazz in 2023.

These artists are influenced by the legends of jazz but also by other genres such as hip-hop, rock, soul, electronic, and world music.

They are pushing the boundaries of jazz and creating original and exciting music that deserves your attention.

If you are a jazz aficionado or a curious newcomer, you will find something to enjoy in this list of modern jazz artists.

Here are 25 names you need to hear in 2023.

1. Kamasi Washington

Kamasi Washington – Street Fighter Mas

Kamasi Washington is one of the most influential and popular modern jazz artists today.

The Los Angeles-based saxophonist and composer has collaborated with hip-hop stars like Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg, as well as jazz legends like Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.

His debut album, The Epic, was a sprawling three-hour masterpiece that showcased his visionary blend of spiritual jazz, funk, soul, and orchestral music.

His latest album, Heaven and Earth, was equally ambitious and impressive, exploring themes of duality and transcendence.

2.Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding – Crowned Kissed (Official Visualizer)

Esperanza Spalding is a bassist, singer, composer, and educator who has won four Grammy awards, including Best New Artist in 2011.

She is known for her virtuosic skills and eclectic musical vision, which range from jazz fusion to chamber music to Brazilian pop.

She has collaborated with legends such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Prince and has also performed at the White House for Barack Obama.

She released her latest album, 12 Little Spells, in 2018, which explores the healing power of music and the human body.

3. Alfa Mist

Alfa Mist – “Variables”

Alfa Mist is a talented pianist and music producer from Newham, East London.

He weaves heavy beats into his music, and creates a unique blend of jazz, hip-hop, soul, and classical influences.

He released a solo piano project entitled On My Ones in 2020, which captured the mood of the global pandemic quarantines.

One of his popular songs, Keep On, from his debut EP Antiphon, has received over 5 million Spotify streams and showcases his contemporary jazz elements.

He has also collaborated with other British jazz and R&B artists such as Tom Misch, Jordan Rakei, and Barney Artist.

4. Cherise

CHERISE – Secrets (Official Video)

Cherise is a singer with a voice of silk who has already been recognised as Jazz FM’s Vocalist of the Year for 2020.

She released her EP REMEDY in 2021, which features a refreshing blend of vocal jazz, soul, and modern R&B.

She is influenced by legends such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Nina Simone, but also adds her flair and personality to her songs. She is a modern jazz artist to watch in the years to come.

5. Masego

Masego – Who Cares Anyway (Visualizer)

Masego is a multi-talented musician who can sing and play various instruments, especially the saxophone. He was born and raised in Virginia and has a distinctive style that he calls TrapHouseJazz, which combines jazz, trap, soul, funk, and afrobeat.

He has collaborated with artists such as FKJ, SiR, Kehlani, and GoldLink, and has gained a loyal fanbase with his charismatic performances and catchy songs.

One of his hits is Queen Tings’, a refreshing example of a contemporary jazz song celebrating black women. He released his latest album Studying Abroad: Extended Stay, in 2021.

6. Venna

Venna – ’99

Venna is a Grammy award-winning producer and saxophonist who has worked with artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Anderson.Paak, SZA, and Robert Glasper.

He recently released his sophomore project EQUINOX in 2021. It features a slew of luxurious singles that capture the essence of the best of modern jazz today.

He blends smooth jazz melodies with hip-hop beats and soulful vocals, creating a soothing and stimulating sound.

He is also a member of the West Coast Get Down collective which includes, Kamasi Washington, Terrace Martin, Thundercat, and Ronald Bruner Jr.

7. Shabaka Hutchings


Shabaka Hutchings is an award-winning multi-reed player who can alternate between saxophone and clarinet.

He was born in London and raised in Barbados, where he started out playing with calypso bands.

He is now regarded as the doyen of the UK’s contemporary jazz scene and leads three different bands: Shabaka & The Ancestors, an octet that explores spiritual jazz; Sons Of Kemet, a quartet that fuses jazz with Caribbean rhythms; and The Comet Is Coming, a futuristic trio that blends electronics with modern jazz and a punk-like attitude.

He is also a keen collaborator with other jazz musicians from around the world.

8. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah: The New Chief 

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah is a trumpeter and composer from New Orleans who has developed his own style of jazz that he calls stretch music. He defines it as “a genre-blind musical form that stretches the rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic conventions of jazz to encompass many musical forms, languages, thought processes, and cultures”.

He has released several albums that showcase his innovative approach to jazz, such as The Centennial Trilogy, Ancestral Recall, and Axiom.

He has also collaborated with artists from different backgrounds and genres, such as Saul Williams, Terrace Martin, Vic Mensa, and Xiomara Laugart.

9.Nubya Garcia

Nubya Garcia: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

Nubya Garcia is a saxophonist and composer from London who is part of the vibrant UK jazz scene.

She’s influenced by jazz, soul, reggae, hip-hop, and Afro-Latin music and has a powerful and soulful sound that captivates audiences.

She has performed with Shabaka Hutchings, Moses Boyd, Ezra Collective, and others.

She has led her own projects, and released her debut album, Source, in 2020, which was nominated for the Mercury Prize and received critical acclaim.

10.Makaya McCraven

Makaya McCraven – Full Performance (Live on KEXP)

Makaya McCraven is a drummer and producer from Chicago who deconstructs and reconstructs the language of jazz with hip-hop sensibilities.

He has been dubbed a beat scientist for his innovative approach to creating music, which involves recording live improvisations and then editing, looping, and remixing them in the studio.

He released several acclaimed albums, such as In The Moment in 2015, Universal Beings in 2018, and We’re New Again in 2020, a reimagining of Gil Scott-Heron’s final album.

11. Snarky Puppy

Snarky Puppy: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

Snarky Puppy is a collective of musicians led by bassist and composer Michael League.

They are known for their fusion of jazz, funk, rock, world music, and jam band styles.

They have won three Grammy awards, including Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for Culcha Vulcha in 2017.

They have collaborated with artists such as David Crosby, Lalah Hathaway, Jacob Collier, and Metropole Orkest.

They released their latest album Immigrance in 2019, which showcases their dynamic and diverse sound.

12.Jazzmeia Horn

Jazzmeia Horn – Full Performance (Live on KEXP)

Dallas native Jazzmeia Horn has a stunning voice, combining technical mastery with emotional depth.

She receives influence from jazz legends such as Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter, Nancy Wilson, and Abbey Lincoln but also adds her own modern twist to her songs.

Jazzmeia Horn won the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition in 2015 and has since released two albums: A Social Call in 2017 and Love And Liberation in 2019.

She has also performed at major festivals such as the Newport Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival, and the Montreux Jazz Festival.

13. Joel Ross

Joel Ross LIVE at Jazz Is Dead

Joel Ross is a young vibraphonist from Chicago hailed as one of the most exciting new voices in jazz.

He has played with jazz luminaries such as Christian McBride, Ambrose Akinmusire, Makaya McCraven, and Marquis Hill, and has also been a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

He released his debut album KingMaker in 2019, which showcases his impressive technique and expressive style.

He followed it up with Who Are You? in 2020, which features his band Good Vibes and explores themes of identity and belonging.

14.Elena Pinderhughes

Elena Pinderhughes- Strasbourg / St. Denis

Elena Pinderhughes is a flutist and vocalist from Berkeley praised for her virtuosity and versatility.

She has performed with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Esperanza Spalding, and Common.

She has also been featured on the soundtrack of the movie Miles Ahead, directed by and starred Don Cheadle as Miles Davis.

She released her debut album, Voices, in 2018, which features her original compositions and expressive voice.

15. Ashley Henry

ASHLEY HENRY: Worldwide Awards 2020

Ashley Henry is a pianist from London who blends jazz with hip-hop, grime, soul, and classical music.

He has performed with artists such as Christine And The Queens, Loyle Carner, Keyon Harrold, and Terence Blanchard.

He released his debut album Beautiful Vinyl Hunter in 2019, which features guest appearances from Makaya McCraven, Judi Jackson, Binker Golding, and more.

He has also been nominated for the Jazz FM Breakthrough Act of the Year award in 2020.

16. Camille Munn

Camille Munn- Sippin’

Camille Munn is a singer and songwriter from London who creates soulful and self-produced jazz music.

She released her debut album, Eighteen in 2019, which features songs such as Coulda Woulda Shoulda and Sippin’.

She followed it up with her second album, Sunsets With You, in 2020, which showcases her smooth vocals and her skills on guitar, piano, bass, drums, and trumpet.

She cites influences such as D’Angelo, John Mayer, Amy Winehouse, and Chet Baker. She is also a member of the band Yakul, which blends jazz with neo-soul and funk.

17. Poppy Ajudha

Poppy Ajudha – NO!

Poppy Ajudha is a singer and songwriter from London who creates soulful and self-produced jazz music.

She grew up in a nightclub in south-east London that was owned by her father, where she was exposed to jazz, roots, and rocksteady music from a young age.

She has released several singles and EPs, such as Love Falls Down, Tepid Soul, The Man You Aim To Be, and Patience. She has also collaborated with artists such as Tom Misch, Kojey Radical, and Steam Down.

She is influenced by singers such as Nina Simone, Erykah Badu, and Lauryn Hill.

18. Robert Glasper

Robert Glasper • Black Radio III Live 

Robert Glasper is a pianist and producer who has bridged the gap between jazz and hip-hop like no other.

He has worked with some of the biggest names in both genres, such as Jay-Z, Kanye West, Erykah Badu, Common, and Q-Tip.

He has also formed his own successful bands, such as the Robert Glasper Experiment and R+R=NOW, which fuse jazz with elements of R&B, soul, funk, and electronic music.

His albums Black Radio and Black Radio 2 won Grammys for Best R&B Album, while his album Covered won a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

19. GoGo Penguin

GoGo Penguin – Everything Is Going to Be OK

GoGo Penguin is a trio from Manchester that creates acoustic-electronic music inspired by jazz, rock, classical, and minimalism.

They have been described as the Radiohead of British jazz and have been nominated for the Mercury Prize twice for their albums v2.0 in 2014 and Man Made Object in 2016.

They have also signed to the legendary jazz label Blue Note Records and have performed at prestigious venues such as Royal Albert Hall and Sydney Opera House.

They released their self-titled album GoGo Penguin in 2020.

20.Gretchen Parlato

Gretchen Parlato – Flor (Full Album)

Gretchen Parlato is a singer from Los Angeles with a distinctive style that blends jazz with Brazilian, African, and pop music.

She is influenced by singers such as João Gilberto, Elis Regina, Joni Mitchell, and Björk.

She has won several awards, including the Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocals Competition in 2004.

She has also collaborated with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, and Robert Glasper.

She released her latest album Flor in 2021, which features songs in English, Portuguese, and French.

21. Kamaal Williams

Kamaal Williams live at Flesh and Bone Studios

Kamaal Williams is a keyboardist and producer from London who creates jazz-funk music with a futuristic edge.

He is also known as Henry Wu, under which name he has released several EPs and albums that explore house, broken beat, and soul music.

He was formerly part of the duo Yussef Kamaal, which won the Jazz FM Breakthrough Act of the Year award in 2017 for their album Black Focus.

He has since released two albums as Kamaal Williams: The Return in 2018 and Wu Hen in 2020.

22. Marquis Hill

Marquis Hill & WDR BIG BAND – She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

Marquis Hill is a trumpeter and composer from Chicago who combines jazz with hip-hop, soul, R&B, and spoken word.

He won the Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Trumpet Competition in 2014 and has since released several albums that showcase his lyrical and melodic style.

He leads his band, The Blacktet, which features saxophonist Josh Johnson, vibraphonist Joel Ross, bassist Junius Paul, and drummer Makaya McCraven.

He released his latest album Soul Sign in 2020, which features collaborations with Maimouna Youssef, King Legend, and Braxton Cook.

23. The Comet Is Coming

The Comet Is Coming: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

The Comet Is Coming is a British trio that creates futuristic jazz music with a punk-like attitude.

They are influenced by sci-fi literature, cosmic philosophy, electronic music and by jazz legends like Sun Ra and John Coltrane.

They use saxophone, keyboards, drums, and electronics to create sonic landscapes that are both chaotic and hypnotic.

They have released three albums: Channel the Spirits, Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery, and The Afterlife.

They have also collaborated with rapper MF DOOM on a track called Super Zodiac.

24. Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier – Never Gonna Be Alone (Piano Version)

Jacob Collier is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer from London known for his prodigious talent and an innovative use of technology.

He rose to fame with his YouTube videos, where he performed multi-layered arrangements of songs using a split-screen technique.

He has since released four albums as part of his ambitious Djesse project, which features collaborations with artists such as Daniel Caesar, Lianne La Havas, Tori Kelly, and Chris Thile.

He has also won four Grammy awards and has been praised by legends such as Quincy Jones and Herbie Hancock.

25. Mathilde Widding

Love (and everything between)

Mathilde Widding is a singer and songwriter from Norway who creates soulful and smooth jazz music.

She has a powerful voice that blends jazz, R&B, and pop influences. She made her debut in November 2022 with the song Halfway, which showcases her playful and warm style.

She followed it up with a double-single, Stronger / Love (and everything between) in April 2023, which features contrasting and distinctive sounds that exhibit her 60’s soul influences.

She is influenced by singers such as Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone, and Minnie Riperton.

These are just some of the modern jazz artists who are making waves in 2023. They are not only keeping the jazz tradition alive, but also pushing it forward with their innovative and diverse styles.

Whether you are a longtime jazz fan or new to the genre, you will find something to enjoy and inspire you in this list of contemporary jazz artists.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and listen to their music and discover the sound of jazz today.

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