Inaugural Jazz Music Awards Announce 2022 Nominees and Winners

The Jazz Music Awards winners (top row – left to right: Wayne Shorter, James H. Patterson, McCoy Tyner…bottom row – left to right: Henry Threadgill, Dr. Lenora Helm Hammonds, Ambrose Akinmusire)

*The global awards ceremony to exclusively celebrate Jazz music, The Jazz Music Awards: Celebrating the Spirit of Jazzand its creator and executive producer, Wendy F. Williams today announce the recipients of six honorary awards and the nominees in eight competitive award categories. These special accolades, along with the thirty-three nominees, honor individuals who have made—and continue to make—enduring 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, October 22, 2022to Cobb Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Atlanta, Georgia. Tickets are on sale now, click here for more details.

The Lifetime Achievement Award will go to the 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 Ambroise Akinmusire will receive the Jazz Innovator Award; avant-garde saxophonist, woodwind player and composer Henry Threadgill will be honored with the Jazz Composer Award; singer and composer, 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 John and Marcus Bayloralso known as The Baylor Project received three nominations for its release, Generations; in the same way Orrin Evans with two nominations for The magic of today and EEE (Eubanks-Evans-Experience) with a well-known television personality Kevin Eubanks; 2023 NEA Jazz Master and Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Kenny Garrett with two nominations for The sounds of the ancestors; eight-time Grammy Award-winning bassist Christian McBride with two nominations with his band Inside right for Live at Village Vanguard; acclaimed jazz harpist Brandée Young with two nominations for somewhere different; and contemporary jazz keyboardist Brian Culbertson with two nominations for The Red Trilogy.

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Jazz Music Awards
Jazz Music Awards

Also nominated are the acclaimed jazz singer Horn Jazzmeia with His Noble Strength (Best Duo, Group or Big Band); veteran organ master Joey DeFrancesco (Best Mainstream Artist); contemporary flautist at the top of the charts Ragan Whiteside (Best Contemporary Artist); contemporary jazz keyboardist and producer Bob Baldwin (Best Contemporary Album); multi-instrumentalist and producer Ben Chope, better 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 Shawn Monteiro (Best Vocal Performance); multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Mark Hasselbach (Best Contemporary Album); and the Count Basie Orchestra, under the direction of Scotty Barnart (Best Duo, Group or Big Band).

Jazz Music Awards nominations also recognize a wide range of rising artists, including the French vibraphonist Simon Moullier (Best New Jazz Artist); Grammy-nominated jazz singer Stacey Kent (Best Vocal Performance); Kazemby GeorgeBrooklyn-based saxophonist, composer and beatmaker (Best New Artist); Julieta Engenio, Argentine-born tenor saxophonist, composer and conductor (Best New Artist); neo-traditionalist Samara Joy (Best New Artist); acclaimed Rwandan-Ugandan jazz singer and playwright Somi (Best Vocal Performance); Teen multi-instrumentalist of South African origin 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 done 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 from several acclaimed jazz vocal talents: NEA Jazz Master and Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award-winning artists. Dee Dee BridgewaterGrammy Award-winning artist Ledisiprominent jazz/gospel/blues singer Lizz Wrightand four-time Grammy-nominated artist Horn Jazzmeia. All performances will be under the musical direction of NEA Jazz Master and three-time Grammy Award-winning artist and composer Terri Lyne Carringtonwho serves as musical director and co-executive producer for the inaugural ceremony.

“The Jazz Music Award is a necessary and important platform for the jazz community,” says Carrington, who is also the founder of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. “It is essential that we highlight and celebrate artists from all jazz hybrids, many of whom have been overlooked or unrecognized throughout their careers.”

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.

For a complete list of nominees and winners, please visit jazzmusicawards.com.

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