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Pianists reign -- women instrumentalists, too -- in 41 categories of music and media excellence

Winners of 21st annual JJA Jazz Awards announced

May 15th, 2017 | By

McCoy Tyner, Lifetime Achievement in Jazz honoree of 2017 JJA Jazz Awards

Pianists reign as winners of the Jazz Journalists Association’s 21st annual Jazz Awards — see winners in 41 categories of excellence in music and music journalism at www.JJAJazzAwards.org. The JJA’s voting members have celebrated 78-year old McCoy Tyner for his Lifetime Achievement in Jazz, 13-year-old Joey Alexander as Up and Coming Musician of the Year, Kenny Barron (73) as Pianist of the Year, the late Bill Evans’ Some Other Time: The Lost Session from the Black Forest (Resonance Records) as Historical Recording of the Year, Robert Glasper honored for his use of electronics and Vijay Iyer cited for his role in Duo of the Year (his partner being trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, recipient of the Musician of the Year Award). Jack DeJohnette, Traps Drummer of the Year, is also a pianist.

Ted Gioia, Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism honoree in the 2017 JJA Jazz Awards

In addition, two pianists won JJA awards for their work in media: Ted Gioia, recipient of the JJA’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism, who played jazz piano, taught and helped set up the jazz program at Stanford University, has composed piano works as well as written ten non-fiction books on jazz and served as editorial director of Jazz.com. Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus and diverse musical collaborations gets the Jazz Blog of the Year Award for Do The Math.

The finalist nominees for the 2017 Jazz Awards as well as the winners, Jazz Heroes and previous winners by year are on view at www.JJAJazzAwards.org. Select Awards (principally those for media) will be presented at a Chinese banquet at the Golden Unicorn Restaurant, 18 E. Broadway, New York City, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm on June 6, tickets available here.

Jazz Awards for musical excellence will be presented at winners’ performances throughout the U.S., dates and places to be announced. JJA members who want to present an Award to a winner at a scheduled local event should contact President@JazzJournalists.org.

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 JJA Jazz Awards were initiated in 1997  in partnership with Michael Dorf of the Knitting Factory as the Critics Choice Jazz Awards, and established as an independent entity in 2000.

Besides pianists, women musicians are recognized for excellence by the 2017 Jazz Awards. Arranger-composer-orchestra leader Maria Schneider, guitarist Mary Halvorson, multi-reeds player and clarinet specialist Anat Cohen, baritone saxophonist Claire Daly, soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom, flutist Nicole Mitchell and violinist Regina Carter won their respective categories.

Other Awards winners include Composer of the Year Ted Nash, Trumpeter of the Year Brian Lynch, who also won the Record of the Year Award for Madera Latino – A Latin Jazz Perspective on the Music of Woody Shaw (Hollistic MusicWorks), and Krin Gabbard whose Better Git It In Your Soul: An Interpretive Biography of Charles Mingus (University of California Press) won Jazz Book of the Year.

The Jazz Awards were initiated in 1997, in conjunction with Michael Dorf of the Knitting Factory, as the Critics Choice Jazz Awards, and in 2000 became an independent entity. Sponsors of the 2017 JJA Jazz Awards include the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation,  Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale, the Tucson Jazz Festival, Resonance Records and the Newport Jazz Festival, among others.

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