NEW YORK CITY – The 2011 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards, the 15th annual announcement of honors for great music presented by an international organization of professional music writers, photographers, broadcasters and new media producers, is shaping up as the nationwide jazz party of the year.
The Awards Gala on June 11 from 1 to 5 pm EDT at City Winery in New York City – tickets are available to the general public at www.JJAJazzAwards.com — is attracting jazz-glamour attendees such as veteran vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, acclaimed newcomer Gregory Porter (who will perform), saxophonist-composer-bandleader Joe Lovano, alt. jazz guitarist Marc Ribot and National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master/Guggenheim Fellow pianist Randy Weston (who will perform). The entire four hour jazz-insider event – also featuring performances by the Wallace Roney Sextet, flutist-soprano saxist Jane Bunnett with Cuban pianist Hilario Duran, and the Hammer Klavier Trio from Germany — will be accessible via Ustream.com as live streaming video to anyone who has an internet connection.
In addition, jazz fans are gathering at JJA satellite parties in Berkeley and Arcata, California; Portland, Oregon; Phoenix, Seattle, Chicago, Nashville, Tallahassee, Boston and Washington DC to watch the Awards, Tweet about them and schmooze about their local jazz scenes. Localization is a theme of this year’s Jazz Awards – which the JJA notes is the only non-profit effort to raise the profile of jazz excellence everywhere as the summer jazz festival season begins with a bang.
“We have great things happening in New York City,” says Howard Mandel, JJA president, blogger at ArtsJournal.com/JazzBeyondJazz, author, editor and award-winning music journalist. “Besides the Awards this weekend there’s the Vision Festival and multi-venue Blue Note Jazz Clubs Festival. But the music isn’t only in New York: also this weekend the 33rd annual Playboy Jazz is at the Hollywood Bowl, the Chicago Blues Festival, the Healdburg [CA] Jazz Festival – and more coming right up! By naming local ‘Jazz Heroes’, having satellite parties, and live-streaming from the gala at City Winery in New York, the JJA hopes to wake people up to the festivity of the jazz all around them, and point to some of the best of the best.”
Recipients of 2011 Jazz Awards for excellence in music-making and music documentation will be announced at the Jazz Awards gala and on the live-streaming video. There will also be introductions of the JJA’s “Jazz Heroes,” people who act especially in local circles as advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz. These heroes are: singer and drug abuse counselor Ed Reed (Berkeley), drummer and festival organizer Mike Reed (Chicago), Dr. Maitreya Padukone (dentist doing pro bono work for the Jazz Foundation of America, New York City), cultural philanthropist Peggy Cooper-Cafritz (Washington, D.C.), festival and jazz tour organizer Don Z. Miller (Phoenix), executive director of Earshot Jazz John Gilbreath (Seattle), Roger Spencer and Lori Mechem of the Nashville Jazz Workshop, managing co-owner of Bohemian Caverns Omrao Brown (Washington, D.C.) and Elynor Walcott and her sons, proprietors of Wally’s Café Jazz Club (Boston). Bios of the Jazz Heroes, list of all nominees for 2011 JJA Jazz Awards, details about the satellite parties and information about the Jazz Awards’ industry sponsors (33 at last count, including ASCAP, BMI, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Motema Music, Alma Records, Blue Note Records, and media sponsor CityArts – New York) are available at the Awards website www.JJAJazzAwards.org.
While most of the Jazz Heroes will be at the satellite parties, well-known musicians attending the Jazz Awards’ New York gala include: Darcy James Argue, Sue Mingus, Kenny Barron, Rebecca Martin, Gretchen Parlato, Adam Rudolph, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Lew Tabackin, Darius Jones, Sam Newsom, Steve Swell, Larry Grenadier, Jane Ira Bloom, Antonio Hart, Gary Smulyan, Christian Howes; journalists include Dan Morgenstern, Gary Giddins, Nate Chinen, Marc Myers, Larry Blumenfeld, Lena Adesheva, Russ Davis, Gwen Calvier, Jim Macnie, Willard Jenkins, Ted Panken, Hank Shteamer, Olaf Maikopf, Lee Mergener, Elzy Kolb, Michal Shapiro, David Adler, Arnold Jay Smith, Laurence Donohue-Greene and Andrey Henkin from the New York City Jazz Record; representatives from Alma Records, Blue Note Records, Doxy Records, ECM, Jazzhead Records, High Note/Savant Records, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Motema Music, the New School Jazz Program, Palmetto Records, Pi Recordings, Sunnyside Communications and George Wein’s Festival Productions.
The Awards gala is a fundraiser for the JJA, a 501 (c) non-profit professional organization dedicated to training and networking the people who maintain the dissemination of news and information about jazz of all kinds in all media platforms. The JJA is currently running the highly successful eyeJAZZ program in which some 50 individuals from around the US and Canada are learning to create short-form video news pieces about jazz.
The JJA Jazz Awards is the only broad-based, independent, international celebration of jazz excellence. Begun in 1997 as a collaboration between the Jazz Journalists Association and Michael Dorf (then executive director of the Knitting Factory, now director of City Winery), it has been produced annually since 1999 by the JJA.