1998 Jazz Forecast

1998 Jazz Forecast
By S. H. Watkins, Sr.

  • Just like 1997 a female vocalist will rule record sales in the jazz world this year. Cassandra Wilson will replace Diana Krall as the top selling jazz act of the year. She’s done it before, but this time, unlike the pop oriented Full Moon Daughter, her new album Travelling Miles is a much more jazz oriented effort.
  • The sax of Art Porter will be ressurrected in great style with his last recordings before his tragic death, and the 100th anniversary of the birth of George Gershwin will make George and Ira seem like they are here with us. Ricky Schultz will have a big hit at Zebra Records, and the jazz world will find out that Lee Riternour is just as able a record executive as he is a musician.
  • We will hear a lot of Freddie Hubbard’s music, but still little of the trumpet man himself. The Blue Note Cover series will once again be a critical flop, but may find success at the cash register. Vibraphonist Stefon Harris will become the one young lion who gets the big push as one annually does. Lena Horne will look good and Gino Vannelli may be taken seriously.
  • Clint Eastwood and the Marsalis’ will once again be the beacons at their respective companies, and Wynton will continue his transformation into Duke Ellington. Christian McBride will finally make that James Brown album he’s been threating to do. Steve Backer will decide who he actually works for and Dave Grusin will make MCA wish he was still working for them.
  • Joe Sample will launch another verbal assault against jazz radio and nothing in the jazz world will be accomplished at the Gavin Convention. Eric Reed, Cyrus Chestnut and Benny Green will continue their fight as to who will rule the piano in the next millenium. There will be at least one tribute album a month but none will be on ECM. ECM will have a better year than Pat Metheny, but Metheny’s Imaginary Day will have a second life thanks to some heavy touring.
  • Al Jarreau will find a home and the world will be find out just who is Conrad Herwig. Chris Camozzi will keep on improving while, RCA will wonder what they ever heard in the Rippingtons.