The first jazz music awards will award honors


ATLANTA, GA – The global awards show to exclusively celebrate jazz music, The Jazz Music Awards: Celebrating the Spirit of Jazz, and its creator and executive producer, Wendy F. Williams, today announce the recipients of six awards awards and nominees in eight competition award categories. These special accolades, along with the 33 nominees, honor individuals who have made — and continue to make — lasting contributions to this American art form. The finalists in each category are the result of the first round of nominations submitted during the eligibility period from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. These well-deserved honors will be presented at the Jazz Music Awards ceremony, scheduled for Saturday 1 october. 22, 2022, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center in Atlanta, GA. Tickets are on sale now, click here for more details.

The Lifetime Achievement Award will go to saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter; the Jazz Legend Award will be presented to the family of the late pianist and composer McCoy Tyner. There are three categories of Distinction Awards: Innovator, Composer and Educator. Modern jazz trumpeter and composer Ambrose Akinmusire to receive Jazz Innovator Award; avant-garde saxophonist, woodwind player and composer Henry Threadgill will be honored with the Jazz Composer Award; singer and songwriter, Dr. Lenora Helm Hammonds will receive the Jazz Educator Award; and veteran musician and educator James H. Patterson will receive the Jazz Impact Award.

Additionally, the final four nominees were announced in eight competitive categories; a tie in the Best Duo, Group, or Big Band category resulted in five nominees, while submissions in the Best International Artist category did not meet the Jazz Music Awards submission criteria, resulting in the removal of that award of the final ballot this year.

Four-time Grammy-nominated artists Jean & Marcus Baylor, also known as The Baylor Project, received three nominations for their release, Generations; with Orrin Evans with two nominations for The Magic of Now and EEE (Eubanks-Evans-Experience) with well-known television personality Kevin Eubanks; 2023 NEA Jazz Master and Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Kenny Garrett with two nominations for Sounds From The Ancestors; eight-time Grammy Award-winning bassist Christian McBride, with two nominations with his band Inside Straight for Live at the Village Vanguard; renowned jazz harpist Brandee Younger with two nominations for Somewhere Different; and contemporary jazz keyboardist Brian Culbertson with two nominations for The Trilogy Red.

Also nominated are acclaimed jazz vocalist Jazzmeia Horn with Her Noble Force (Best Duo, Group or Big Band); veteran organ master Joey DeFrancesco (Best Mainstream Artist); chart-topping contemporary flautist Ragan Whiteside (Best Contemporary Artist); contemporary jazz keyboardist and producer Bob Baldwin (Best Contemporary Album); multi-instrumentalist and producer Ben Tankard, best known as “the godfather of gospel/jazz” (best contemporary artist); and veteran smooth jazz guitarist Norman Brown (Song of the Year).

Other nominees in the Contemporary Jazz categories include popular bassist and producer Brian Bromberg (Best Contemporary Artist); jazz/pop singer Lindsey Webster (Best Contemporary Artist); master drummer Sonny Emory (best contemporary album); Jazz teacher and singer Shawnn Monteiro (best vocal performance); multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Mark Hasselbach (Best Contemporary Album); and the Count Basie Orchestra, conducted by Scotty Barnhart (Best Duo, Group or Big Band).

Jazz Music Awards nominations also recognize a wide range of up-and-coming artists, including French vibraphonist Simon Moullier (Best New Jazz Artist); Stacey Kent, Grammy-nominated jazz singer (best vocal performance); Kazemde George, Brooklyn-based saxophonist, composer and beatmaker (Best New Artist); Julieta Engenio, Argentine-born tenor saxophonist, composer and bandleader (Best New Artist); neo-traditionalist Samara Joy (Best New Artist); renowned Rwandan-Ugandan jazz singer and playwright Somi (best vocal performance); South African-born teenage multi-instrumentalist Justin-Lee Schultz (Song of the Year); and Alabama-based drummer/producer James “PJ” Spraggins (Song of the Year).

“We are honored to recognize and present a wide range of dynamic and innovative artists, including our six winners and our thirty-three nominees. I’m still amazed that in 2022, a global award show dedicated to jazz in North America has never been achieved at this level. I’m thrilled that we can step into this space to honor and recognize musicians and the genre as a whole in this way. We’re making history and we’re just getting started,” says Wendy F. Williams, creator and executive producer of the Jazz Music Awards, as well as general manager of NPR affiliate Jazz 91.9 WCLK. “Jazz music has been an essential part of the legacy of Jazz 91.9 WCLK, which will celebrate fifty years on the air in 2024, from its home on the campus of Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta. In recognizing our winners and nominees, we give thanks for their incredible artistry that reinforces the rich tradition of jazz, which is an integral part of American music and culture.

An added attraction during the Jazz Music Awards will be several live performances. These will include appearances by several acclaimed jazz vocal talents: NEA Jazz Master and Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award-winning artists Dee Dee Bridgewater, Grammy-winning artist Ledisi, eminent jazz singer/ gospel/blues Lizz Wright and four-time Grammy winner. Nominated artist Jazzmeia Horn. All performances will be under the musical direction of NEA Jazz Master and three-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist and composer Terri Lyne Carrington, who serves as Musical Director and Co-Executive Producer of the Inaugural Ceremony.

The inaugural Jazz Music Awards will establish a new platform to recognize the rich history, musical innovation and vital artistry that continue to inform America’s truly original art form – jazz music. As an essential component of the vast tapestry that weaves together African American contributions to the arts, jazz is the culture of America. It’s a unique sound and style that is loved around the world.

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Henry R. Wright