Jodi Proznick can’t believe the musicians she’s up against for a Juno award.
Diana Krall, Diana Panton, Holly Cole and Laila Biali — Canadian women whose songs she either grew up with or has worked with in the recording studio.
The Port Coquitlam upright bassist, composer, bandleader and educator had to pinch herself when she learned in late January that she was in the lineup for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year.
“It’s a pretty crazy category,” Proznick told The Tri-City News last week. “I just feel really grateful to be pulled out of the crowd.”
Proznick is up for her latest CD titled Sun Songs, featuring Biali on vocals.
It’s a work she released in 2017 to reflect on a decade of personal challenges and growth: the birth of her son with her pianist husband, Tilden Webb; and her mother’s diagnosis of early-onset dementia.
It’s also the second Juno nomination for Proznick, who got national praise for her 2008 traditional jazz album, with her quartet.
Still, this recognition has so much more poetry attached to it, she said.
At the start of the new year, her mom died. The next day, her musician friend — who had just performed at the Anvil Centre with Proznick — was killed in a car accident.
Three weeks later, a grieving Proznick learned Sun Songs was shortlisted for a Juno.
“It felt like it was this weird chapter in my life wrapping up,” she said. “This was just the gift that came with such tremendous loss. It’s like the universe said, ‘I have this present for you after all of this long haul.’”
With her mom gone, Proznick said her family is remembering so many stories.
A “horseback-riding girl from Saskatchewan” who made her life in B.C., Proznick’s mother was at nearly every music event she, her father and her siblings played at.
Today, when they listen to tapes from their past performances, they can hear her voice calling out “Yes!” after each tune. “It’s so amazing,” Proznick said. “She was always there for us.”
These days, she’s taking in the lessons from the loss of a parent. “I used to get really emotional and now I feel like I’m a tree that’s been through some storms. I’m in a stronger position now to write some more vulnerable music. And it’s all because of her.”
The Vocal Jazz Album of the Year award will be handed out at the Junos gala, next Saturday in London, Ont.