First 2012 JJA Jazz Heroes Announced; more to come.

It takes the heroic efforts of many people to keep jazz alive and thriving. Today, in honor of International Jazz Day, we're announcing the first group of 2012 Jazz Heroes-- named by members of their local communities as important activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz.

This initial group includes JazzBoston co-founder and executive director Pauline Bilsky; Atlanta trumpeter Danny Harper; long-time jazz educator R. Gary Langford of Gainesville, Florida; Leon Anderson, Jr., dedicated jazz educator in Tallahassee, Florida;  Roger Manins, also a jazz educator as well as one of New Zealand's leading tenor saxophonists; and Philadelphia saxophonist Sam Reed, a leading member of the local jazz scene for more than six decades.

Tucson will honor musician, composer and teacher Lamont Arthur, while in the San Franciso Bay Area John Calloway is a Jazz Hero for, among other things, his role as a cornerstone of the local world and Latin music scenes. Chicago named trumpeter and multi-faceted educator Orbert Davis this year's Jazz Hero and Ottawa, Canada, is honoring Jacques Emond for his long-time involvement with the Ottawa International Jazz Festival--and most of the other jazz-related activity in town--and Schenectady, New York is paying tribute to Bill McCann for his many contributions to local jazz radio and jazz organizations.

More 2012 Jazz Heroes will be announced in the days to come, and all the Jazz Heroes will be honored at local parties being planned for the last weeks of June in conjunction with the June 20 JJA Jazz Awards Party at the Blue Note Jazz Club.   Check back here for details and updates.

The Jazz Journalists Association has given honors for special service to the jazz community in the form of "A Team" awards since 2001. Local "Jazz Heroes" have been honored since 2010.

Previous years' 'A Team' honorees and Jazz Heroes