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DC Jazz Festival Crowns Two Winners at Sixth Annual DCJazzPrix Finals in Unprecedented Tie

Christian Wissmuller • News • September 14, 2021

Photo: Jati Lindsay

The DC Jazz Festival® (DCJF) is pleased to introduce the Giveton Gelin Quintet and Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé, who finished in an extraordinary tie vote as co-winners of the 6th Annual DCJazzPrix™ Finals on September 5th as part of the recently concluded 17th Annual DC JazzFest. Launched in 2016, DCJazzPrix is the DC Jazz Festival’s international competition created to recognize and support top rising jazz band talent.

Each of the winning bands specialize in electrifying expressions of 21st century jazz. These brilliant young bands were selected following the DCJazzPrix Finals, which took place before an enthusiastic, standing-room-only audience at Union Stage as part of DC JazzFest at The Wharf.
Giveton Gelin Quintet and Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé, both based in New York City, competed as two of three DCJazzPrix finalist bands that also included British saxophonist Camilla George’s vibrant quintet. All three bands presented exceptional 20-minute sets, rousing a packed audience to its feet and significantly raising the bar for our judges’ deliberations.
Trumpeter and Nassau, Bahamas native Giveton Gelin was mentored by the great trumpeter Eddie Henderson and the late trumpeter Roy Hargrove. He leads the Giveton Gelin Quintet, a classic jazz, tradition-based and original composition-fueled acoustic ensemble with piano, bass, drums and saxophone. Self-taught from the age of 10, Gelin studied at the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory and The Juilliard School, and was selected for the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead education intensive at the Kennedy Center. His current release is True Design.
“The highlight of the night for me was watching the events of the competition, not to mention, the staff’s far and beyond support of all artist’s. When the winners were announced, I thought about how our passion for music led to our success in this year’s competition” said Giveton.
Havana, Cuba-born pianist-keyboardist Dayramir Gonzalez founded Habana enTRANCé in 2004. The ensemble specializes in an infectious brand of Afro-Caribbean jazz expression and includes musicians from Argentina and Chile. Gonzalez’s first professional affiliation came at age 16 with former Irakere member Oscar Valdés’ Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble Diákara. He matriculated at the renowned Berklee College of Music and has been mentored by Cuban master pianist-bandleader and DCJF Lifetime Achievement Award winner Chucho Valdés. Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé’s current release is The Grand Concourse (Machat).
“The whole DC Jazz Festival experience was fantastic” said Dayramir. “Through its platform, I was able to connect with a lively audience who listened, cheered and danced to my music and also appreciated my Cuban culture all together. It was an amazing way to continue building musical bridges between Cuba and the US, latin and jazz. “
“It is exciting to identify and promote the careers of emerging jazz artists committed to the creative and professional development of their very own excellent bands,” said DC Jazz Festival President and CEO Sunny Sumter. “DCJazzPrix is unique in that it recognizes bands over soloists. It allows jazz artists to pause and concentrate on band identity on multiple fronts, increase performance opportunities, and sustain collective output.”
In addition to a $15,000 cash prize, the Giveton Gelin Quintet and Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé have earned a year-long association with the DC Jazz Festival for professional development consultation and business support addressing their varied needs, such as publicity, artistic and financial management, booking and touring, audience and social media engagement, grant writing, commissioning of new works, and brand development. Each band also will receive a paid 2022 DC Jazz Festival mainstage engagement.
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