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Congratulations due in 32 categories of jazz excellence

2016 Jazz Awards winners for music: Threadgill, Schneider, Washington

May 15th, 2016 | By

Henry Threadgill is recipient of the Jazz Journalists Association’s 2016 Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Award — composer-orchestra leader Awards2014one400Maria Schneider wins Musician of the Year and four other Awards, including Best Album of 2015 for The Thompson Fields – and saxophonist Kamasi Washington is hailed as Up and Coming Musician of the Year, by voting members of the JJA in the organization’s 20th annual presentation of excellence in jazz and jazz journalism. See winners of 32 Awards for musical excellence at the Jazz Awards website — and note a vast range of music celebrated with these honors.

Threadgill, now 71, is an exploratory composer and incisive reeds and winds soloist; a leader of memorable ensembles and a riveting performer. He has been exceptionally productive with his newest ensemble Double-Up and group ZoHenryThreadgilloid — for whose most recent recording In for a Penny, In for a Pound, Threadgill was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music. His unique originality and unceasingly exploratory approach has been evident since his trio Air emerged in Chicago in the early 1970s, as in his seven member Sextett, electric guitars-rich Very Very Circus, 23-piece Society Situation Dance Band, chamber orchestral Make a Move, and in works by peers from the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and Jack DeJohnette. Besides the Pulitzer, Threadgill has been honored as a 2016 Doris Duke Performing Artist.

Maria Schneider dominates the 20th annual Jazz Awards list of winners as Musician of the Year, Composer of the Year, Arranger of the Year, lMariaSchneider100eader of the Best Large Ensemble of the Year — the 19-piece Maria Schneider Orchestra — which recorded the album The Thompson FieldsSchneider has won Jazz Awards previously, but no artist has ever swept any five categories. The Thompson Fields has been widely hailed as a masterpiece of subtle, changeable moods and colors, deeply committed solos and detailed orchestrations.

KamasiWashington80Kamasi Washington’s award for Up and Coming Artist of the Year attests to the continued success of the tenor saxophonist as he tours the U.S. following the May 2015 release of his three-volume album The Epic, and significant contributions to Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. The Epic sets Washington’s Coltrane-inspired, spiritually and politically infused power blowing with a strong quartet amid voices and strings.

As per Jazz Awards trends:

  • Women are ever more prominent as instrumentalists and leaders (pianist Myra Melford’s Snowy Egret is Best Mid-Sized Ensemble; Anat Cohen, Jane Ira Bloom, Nicole Mitchell, Mary Halvorson and Regina Carter are also Awards recipients.
  • Every winner of a 2016 Jazz Award except Melford and Tenor Saxophonist of the Year Charles Lloyd has previously won in their category.

Still to be come: Winners of the 2016 Jazz Awards for Media (Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism, Best Book of the Year, Best Periodical, Blog of the Year, Photo of the Year, and awards for writing, broadcasting, photography and original album art) will be announced at the JJA’s Jazz Award Media Party at the Blue Note, 131 3rd St. NYC, on Wednesday, June 15 from 3 to 5:30 pm. Tickets for the Media Party are available to the general public, as well as JJA members and Jazz Awards nominees. Jazz Awards winners are invited as guests, but must make advance reservations.


About Howard Mandel

Howard Mandel is an author, media and events producer, editor, educator, lecturer and president of the Jazz Journalists Association.

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