2019 JJA Jazz Awards Winners Announced

Pianist Ahmad Jamal is celebrated for his Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism by the 2019 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards -- the organization’s 24th annual celebration of excellence in jazz and jazz journalism. Saxophonist Wayne Shorter has been voted Musician of the Year, bassist Linda May Han Oh is Up and Coming Musician of the Year and West Side Story Reimagined by Bobby Sanabria’s Multiverse Big Band is Record of the Year, among recipients of Awards in 39 categories of jazz achievement and documentation in calendar year 2018, all posted at JJAJazzAwards.org.

Among other honorees are John Szwed for his Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism; Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon by his widow Maxine Gordon; British photo-journalist Val Wilmer and Massachusetts-based broadcaster Tom Reney for career excellence, and Nate Chinen, editorial content director of WBGO and author of the nominated book Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century Writing in 2018. All of them -- as well as Jamal, Shorter (also Composer of the Year, and leader of the Mid-Sized Ensemble of the Year), Oh (also Bassist of the Year) and drummer/arranger Sanabria’s two-cd album of Leonard Bernstein’s score for West Side Story re-envisioned by multiple arrangers -- are celebrated as “winners” based on voted on by professional members of the JJA, an international non-profit organization of media-makers covering jazz. 

Other Awards have been voted for John Coltrane’s Both Directions at Once: The Last Album, Historical Record of the Year, ECM records Label of the Year, and DownBeat magazine Print Periodical-Website of the Year. Further categories include individual instrumentalists, Album Art of the Year and Photo of the Year -- Adriana Mateo’s portrait of the late Roy Hargrove smoking a cigarette, seated at a piano in the Umbria Jazz Festival’s ornate Teatro Morlacchi.

This year’s physical Awards -- formerly engraved statuettes -- are being redesigned. Presentation of Awards for instrumentalists will be presented by JJA members to the winners at their performances throughout the summer. Plans for presentations of Awards to journalists will be forthcoming, and posted at www.JJANews.org as well as the JJA’s Facebook page

For further information about the 2019 JJA Jazz Awards or the Jazz Journalists Association, contact President@JazzJournalists.org. Membership information is available here.