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27 'activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abetters' in 23 US locales

Meet the JJA’s 2016 Jazz Heroes!

Apr 1st, 2016 | By

2016 JJA Jazz HeroesThe 2016 class of “Jazz Heroes” — 27 activists of positive influence on their U.S. musical communities and beyond — have been announced by the Jazz Journalists Association, the non-profit organization of media professionals, in collaborations with grassroots groups and supporters in 23 U.S. communities. See names, detailed bios and portraits of the Heroes on the JJA’s website http://www.jjajazzawards.org/p/2016-jazz-heroes.html

Jazz Heroes join the JJA’s “‘A’ Team” of activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz. The 2016 roster of Heroes emphasizes the prominence of women, the power of couples and partnerships, and the individualistic diversity of people who devote themselves to jazz, which Congress has designated a “rare and valuable American national treasure.” The JJA’s “Jazz Heroes” campaign runs throughout Jazz Appreciation Month – April — culminating in International Jazz Day.

Among the 2016 Jazz Heroes are music presenters enlivening Albuquerque (Tom Guralnick), Boston (Yedidyah Syd Smart and Leonard Brown), the San Francisco Bay Area (Elena Serrano), Fayetteville AR (Robert Ginsberg), New York City (Rio Sakaira), Syracuse (Frank Malfitano) and Washington D.C. (Brian Hamilton and Dick Smith); broadcasters beaming locally and on the web from Fort Bragg (CA) (Douglas Moody), Miami (Maggie Pelleyá) and St. Louis (Dennis Owsley); philanthropists Edythe Bronston and Herb and Lorene Ely, providing a safety net, performance opportunities and generous financial aid; educators who’ve established and sustained community-based programs in Baltimore (Todd Marcus), Detroit (Marion T. Hayden), Philadelphia (Don Gardner), Pittsburgh (Geri Allen) and Seattle (Laurie de Koch), a devoted fan/volunteer-of-all-trades (Leslie Callen Hyland) and musicians who’ve promoted activities beyond their own creative interests in Atlanta (Joe Gransden), Boston (Mssrs. Smart and Brown), Chicago (Bradley Parker Sparrow and Joanie Pallatto), New Orleans (Germaine Bazzle), Seattle (Bobby Torres) and Tallahassee (Clarence Seay).

Jazz Heroes receive engraved statuettes, presented by JJA members and colleagues at celebratory events, most of them open without charge to the general public. Many receive official proclamations from local officials and offices.

Organizations collaborating on Jazz Hero events include A Place for Jazz (Albany), B Sharp’s Jazz Café (Tallahassee), the Carr Center (Detroit), the California Jazz Foundation (Los Angeles), Eastside Arts (SF Bay Area), Elastic Arts (Chicago), JazzBoston, the Outpost (Albuquerque), the Philadelphia Clef Club, Portland PDX Jazz Festival, the Western Jazz Presenters Network, and Westminster Presbyterian Church (Washington DC).

Sponsors of the Jazz Heroes initiative and Jazz Awards include the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation, JazzAhead, Berklee College of Music, the New School Jazz Program, Mack Avenue Records, North Coast Brewing Co., Motéma Records, Resonance Records, Century Media Partners, Sunnyside Records, the Jazz Foundation of America, the Jazz Institute of Chicago,  the Western Jazz Presenters Network, ECM, Monterey Jazz Festival, SFJazz and publicist Ann Braithwaite of Braithwaite and Katz.

The processes for other aspects of the JJA’s spring Jazz Awards initiatives are underway.  Nominations for Jazz Awards for excellence in jazz music and journalism are currently being tabulated and will be announced mid-April. Winners of the Awards for musical achievement will be announced in early May – those Awards will be presented at the winning musicians’ performances nationwide. Winners of categories for excellence in music journalism will be announced at the JJA’s New York City Jazz Awards party, to be held Tuesday, June 15 at the Blue Note Jazz Club in Manhattan, to be headlined by drummer Herlin Riley’s band. Ticket information will be posted at www.JJAJazzAwards.com and here on JJANews, too.


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