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2015 JJA Jazz Awards Honor Musical Excellence

Jazzed Magazine • News • May 28, 2015

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ae38c1b8-aba7-4b3d-9889-3bdb00fba3b8The 19th annual JJA Jazz Awards celebrates Randy Weston, 89-year-old pianist, composer, lecturer, and Brooklyn-born Africanist with its top honor, the Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Award. Recording for six decades and still touring widely, Weston is a frequent presence at Jazz Foundation of America benefits and also played memorably with conguero Candido Camero at the JJA’s Jazz Awards party in 2010. African Rhythms, Weston’s autobiography written with JJA founding member Willard Jenkins, was nominated for the JJA’s Book of the Year Award in 2011.

Piano jazz is a major focus of the 2015 Jazz Awards, as pianist Jason Moran, artistic director of jazz at the Kennedy Center, is cited as Musician of the Year, and pianists Kenny Barron, Chick Corea and composer-arranger-orchestra leader Arturo O’Farrill receive awards in other categories. Besides being deemed Pianist of the Year, Kenny Barron with bassist Dave Holland wins the Duo or Trio of the Year Award, and their album The Art of Conversation (Impulse!) is Record of the Year.

Guitarist Mary Halvorson and vibist Warren Wolf are first time winners of Jazz Awards, while Gregory Porter, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Pedrito Martinez, Nicole Mitchell, Christian McBride, Anat Cohen, Ambrose Akinmusire, Miguel Zenon, Brian Blade, and Edmar Castañeda are among the repeat honorees.

Winners of 2015 Jazz Awards for excellence in media categories will be announced at the Blue Note cocktail party with music by bassist-vocalist Mimi Jones’ band, singer Antoinette Montague accompanied by keyboardist Dannie Mixon, and Fula Flute, the duo of Bailo Bah and Sylvain Leroux. Musician winners of 2015 JJA Jazz Awards and 2015 Jazz Heroes are invited to the Jazz Awards party at the Blue Note as guests of the JJA, but must reserve tickets.

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