Wadada Leo Smith Among Winners of 2017 JJA Awards

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Wadada Leo Smith was named Musician of the Year in the 2017 Jazz Journalism Awards.

(Photo: Courtesy of the artist)

The Jazz Journalists Association has announced the winners of its 21st annual Jazz Awards, celebrating 41 categories of excellence in music and music journalism.

Piano players young and old featured prominently in this year’s results, with 78-year old McCoy Tyner receiving a Lifetime Achievement in Jazz award and 13-year-old Joey Alexander hailed as Up and Coming Musician of the Year. Kenny Barron was named Pianist of the Year, and Some Other Time: The Lost Session from the Black Forest (Resonance Records), a previously unissued album by the late Bill Evans, won Historical Recording of the Year.

Robert Glasper was acknowledged for his use of electronic effects, taking home an Electronics Player of the Year award, and Vijay Iyer was cited for his role in Duo of the Year for his work with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith.

Smith, who was the subject of a cover story in the November 2016 issue of DownBeat, fared well in the JJA awards as well, capturing the esteemed Musician of the Year award.

The JJA’s Record of the Year honor went to Brian Lynch’s interpretive Madera Latino—A Latin Jazz Perspective On The Music Of Woody Shaw (Hollistic MusicWorks), and Lynch was also named Trumpeter of the Year.

Another musician honored with two awards was Anat Cohen, who topped the categories Clarinetist of the Year and Multi-reeds Player of the Year.
 
In recognizing outstanding achievements in music journalism, the JJA bestowed its highest honor for media members, the Lifetime Achievement Award in Jazz Journalism, to Ted Gioia, who helped establish the jazz studies program at Stanford University (where he has served on the faculty). In addition to his 10 nonfiction books on jazz, Gioia serves as editorial director of Jazz.com.

Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus and diverse musical collaborations received the Jazz Blog of the Year Award for his acclaimed site, Do The Math. The Jazz Book of the Year award went to author Krin Gabbard for Better Git It In Your Soul: An Interpretive Biography of Charles Mingus (University of California Press).

DownBeat was named Jazz Publication of the Year, a category that it also won in 2016. (The category combines two previous categories: Jazz Publication of the Year and Jazz Website of the Year.)

Jane Ira Bloom was named Soprano Saxophonist of the Year, and Claire Daly took top honors for baritone saxophone. The Flutist of the Year award went to Nicole Mitchell.

Maria Schneider topped the category for Arranger of the Year (for her work with her namesake orchestra), and Mary Halvorson was named Guitarist of the Year.

Winners of the Jazz Awards were determined by the two-stage voting of full JJA members—writers, broadcasters, photographers, videographers and other media professionals engaged in disseminating news and views of jazz.

The awards for musical excellence will be presented at winners’ performances throughout the U.S., on dates and at venues to be announced.
 
A complete list of winners is posted at the JJA Jazz Awards website. DB
 



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