Two Manitoba artists return home from Toronto with new Juno Awards weighing down their suitcases.
Will Bonness, a University of Manitoba jazz studies professor and longtime pianist at jazz shows around Winnipeg, won his first Juno Saturday night for Jazz Album of the Year.
It was the second major award Bonness’s album, Change of Plans, has earned since its release in 2021. It also won a Western Canadian Music Award last October.
The Color — the Manitoba pop band of Jordan Janzen, James Shiels, Larry Abrams and Tyson Unrah, whose songs focus on Christian faith — won for Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year for the 2021 album No Greater Love.
"We are honoured to take this one home. There are so many people that helped bring this album to life and there aren’t enough words to express our gratitude toward each and every one of you. We are grateful!" the Color posted on its Instagram account.
It’s the second Juno win for the Color, with the first coming in 2018 for its last record, First Day of My Life. Shiels and Janzen put the band together in the early 2010s, combining their high school passion for music with their ministry. The Color released its self-titled debut in 2012; No Greater Love is its fifth album.
Bonness’s Change of Plans proved an appropriate title for his record. He had hoped to release it in 2020 but it was put on hold owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A launch party was planned for the fall of that year, and then in January 2021, but both were scrapped when Delta variant numbers soared.
Bonness and Change of Plans will finally get their due May 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Park Theatre. Tickets ($24.55 including fees) are available at eventbrite.ca.
It will be a Juno reunion of sorts: among those who performed on his album were his partner, guitarist Jocelyn Gould, who won the jazz Juno last year; and saxophonist Jon Gordon, Bonness’s U of M’s Desautels School of Music colleague, who was also nominated this year.
"We all play on each other’s records; I’m on Jon’s and he’s on mine," Bonness said in March when the Juno nominations were announced.
Other Manitobans up for Junos included pop singer Faouzia, who was nominated for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, and Roberta Landreth, who earned a nod for Album Artwork of the Year for her work on Steve Bell’s 2021 record Wouldn’t You Love to Know.
Alan Small has been a journalist at the Free Press for more than 22 years in a variety of roles, the latest being a reporter in the Arts and Life section.