These are the finalist nominees for the 2019 JJA Jazz Awards. Nominees in most categories were chosen by the votes of the Professional Journalist Members of the Jazz Journalists Association. Nominations were made on the basis of work done in calendar year 2018, with the exception of Lifetime Achievement Awards categories, in which nominations are for a lifetime body of work. Members and others were able to submit their own work for consideration in the Photo of the Year category; a committee of JJA Members chose the nominees in that category from among the submissions.

Winners of the 2019 JJA Jazz Awards in all categories will be determined by the votes of JJA Professional Journalist Members; winners will be announced here on in May.
For further information about the Awards or becoming an Awards sponsor email 

If you are a 2019 Nominee, and would like a "badge" to display on your website, click here.


Note: We ask that you  DO NOT cut-and-paste or copy the nominee list into your own blog or site, please link to this page instead. We, of course, welcome coverage and commentary on the list that includes some nominee names. If you blog about or report on the nominees we will be happy to link back to you; please send the URL of your blog post or report to

Lifetime Achievement in Jazz
Ron Carter
Chick Corea
Ahmad Jamal
Harold Mabern
Pharoah Sanders

Jazz Musician of the Year
Mary Halvorson
Christian McBride
Cecile McLorin Salvant
Wayne Shorter

Up and Coming Musician of the Year
James Brandon Lewis
Makaya McCraven
Linda May Han Oh
Joel Ross
Christian Sands

Composer of the Year
Satoko Fujii
Myra Melford
Maria Schneider
Wadada Leo Smith
Wayne Shorter

Arranger of the Year
Miho Hazama
Michael Leonhart
Jim McNeely
Maria Schneider

Record of the Year
Sonic Creed  Stefon Harris and Blackout (Motema)
Vanished Gardens Charles Lloyd and the Marvels with Lucinda Williams (Blue Note Records)
Universal Beings Makaya McCraven (International Anthem )
The Window Cécile McLorin Salvant (Mack Avenue Records)
West Side Story Reimagined Bobby Sanabria (Jazzheads)
Emanon Wayne Shorter (Blue Note Records)

Historical Record of the Year
John Coltrane - Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (Impulse Records/Verve)
Miles Davis and John Coltrane, The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6 (Columbia/Legacy),
Eric Dolphy – Musical Prophet (Resonance Records)

Record Label of the Year
Blue Note Records
ECM Records
HighNote/Savant Records
Pi Recordings
Resonance Records
Sunnyside Records

Male Vocalist of the Year
Kurt Elling
José James
Gregory Porter

Female Vocalist of the Year
Cyrille Aimee
Jazzmeia Horn
Cécile McLorin Salvant

Large Ensemble of the Year
Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band
Darcy James Argue Secret Society
DIVA Jazz Orchestra
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
Maria Schneider Orchestra
Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band

Midsized Ensemble
Fred Hersch Trio
Charles Lloyd and the Marvels
Wayne Shorter Quartet

Trumpeter of the Year
Ambrose Akinmusire
Terence Blanchard
Dave Douglas
Ingrid Jensen
Kirk Knuffke
Jeremy Pelt
Wadada Leo Smith

Trombonist of the Year
Michael Dease
Marshall Gilkes
Wycliffe Gordon
Steve Turre

Multi-Reeds Player of the Year
Anthony Braxton
James Carter
Roscoe Mitchell
Scott Robinson
Steve Wilson

Alto Saxophonist of the Year
Steve Coleman
Tia Fuller
Steve Wilson
Miguel Zenón

Tenor Saxophonist of the Year
Chris Potter
Wayne Shorter
Mark Turner

Baritone Saxophonist of the Year
Ronnie Cuber
Lisa Parrott
Scott Robinson
Lauren Sevian
Gary Smulyan

Soprano Saxophonist of the Year
Jane Ira Bloom
Jane Bunnett
Dave Liebman
Wayne Shorter

Flutist of the Year
Jamie Baum
Andrea Brachfeld
Charles Lloyd
Nicole Mitchell

Clarinetist of the Year
Don Byron
Anat Cohen
Eddie Daniels
Ben Goldberg
Ken Peplowski

Guitarist of the Year
Bill Frisell
Mary Halvorson
Julian Lage
Miles Okazaki
John Scofield

Pianist of the Year
Kenny Barron
Fred Hersch
Myra Melford
Christian Sands
Craig Taborn

Keyboardist of the Year
Chick Corea
Joey DeFrancesco
Herbie Hancock
Dr Lonnie Smith

Bassist of the Year
Dave Holland
Christian McBride
Linda May Han Oh

Violinist-Violist-Cellist of the Year
Regina Carter
Tomeka Reid
Jenny Scheinman

Percussionist of the Year
Cyro Baptista
Zakir Hussain
Pedrito Martinez

Mallet Instrumentalist of the Year
Stefon Harris
Joe Locke
Warren Wolf

Traps Drummer of the Year
Brian Blade
Andrew Cyrille
Jack DeJohnette
Eric Harland
Roy Haynes
Antonio Sánchez

Player of the Year of Instruments Rare in Jazz
Greg Leisz (dobro, mandolin, lap steel and pedal steel )
Grégoire Maret(harmonica)
Hendrik Meurkens (harmonica)
Scott Robinson (various)
Brandee Younger (harp)


Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism

Nate Chinen has, since 2017, been director of editorial content at WBGO (responsible for Jazz Night in America, Jazz Night in America, The Checkout and other NPR jazz coverage). For nearly a dozen years a jazz and pop music reviewer for the New York Times, and columnist producing "The Gig" for JazzTimes, he is an 11-time winner of the JJA's Helen Dance-Robert Palmer Award for excellence in writing during a given year, and winner of the JJA's Best Book of the Year Award for his work with George Wein on Myself Among Others. Nate has been writing about jazz since 1996, when he began at Philadelphia City Paper; covered jazz for The Village Voice in the early '00s, and has also been published in DownBeat, Blender and Vibe. His book Playing Changes: Jazz For the New Century was published in 2018.

Eugene Holley, Jr. writes about jazz and culture for DownBeat, Publishers Weekly, Hot House, New Music Box, Chamber Music and Playbill. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, NPR: A Blog Supreme, Vibe, Wax Poetics, and The New York Times Book Review and in the books Writing Music: A Bedford Spotlight ReaderAlbert Murray and the Aesthetic Imagination of a Nation, and Best Music Writing: 2010, also as liner notes for many albums. He was the program director of WCLK-FM, Clark-Atlanta University, a freelance arts reporter/producer for NPR and co-produced two radio documentaries, “Dizzy’s Diamonds” and “The Duke Ellington Radio Project.” 

Dan Ouellette has been a freelance writer for more than 25 years, published in DownBeat, Billboard, Qwest.TV, the Huffington Post and The Absolute Sound, and is senior editor of ZEALNYC for which he writes the column "Jazz Notes Intel." He's the author of Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes and Bruce Lundvall: Playing By Ear, and has regularly presented public q&a sessions with major jazz artists at the Monterey Jazz Festival and North Sea Jazz Festival.

Ben Ratliff  is a journalist and professor, jazz and pop critic for the New York Times (1996 - 2016), with writings in Esquire and a broad range of other publications including the New York Review of Books, NPR, Slate, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, 4Columns, Spin, Lingua Franca, Guardian, Metropolis, Village Voice, Coda, Option, Granta, Bookforum, Jazz Times and Wire. He is author of Every Song Ever: Twenty Ways to Listen in an Age of Musical Plenty (2016); The Jazz Ear: Conversations Over Music (2008); Coltrane: The Story of a Sound (2007, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award), and Jazz: A Critic’s Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings (2002). He was host of the New York Times Popcast from 2012 to 2016. He teaches cultural criticism at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

John Szwed has written the biographies Space Is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra), So What: The Life of Miles Davis, Billie Holiday: The Musician and The Myth, and Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World, and authored Jazz 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Jazz; Crossovers: Essays on Race, Music and Culture; Lovers, and Jazz: An American Story for Jazz at Lincoln Center. He was Louis Armstrong Professor of Jazz, Director of the Center for Jazz Studies, and editor of at Columbia University. He’s written for Epistrophy, The Wire, Jazziz, Pulse, and The Village Voice (1979-2009), and was the music critic for Terry Gross’s, Fresh Air (1980-1982).  Szwed is editor of the Jazz Perspectives Book Series, University of Michigan Press, has produced records for Evidence and Mixtery, and was awarded a Grammy in 2005.

Print Periodical/Website of the Year

All About Jazz 
The New York City Jazz Record

Blog of the Year
Jazz Profiles, by Steve Cerra Do The Math, by Ethan Iverson Jazz Wax, by Marc Myers Rifftides, by Doug Ramsey Jazz Lives, by Michael Steinman

Book of the Year About Jazz
Nate Chinen, Playing The Changes: Jazz for the New Century (Pantheon)
Gary Giddins, Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940-1946 (Little, Brown)
Maxine Gordon, Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon (University of California Press)
Eugene Marlow, Jazz in China: From Dance Hall Music to Individual Freedom of Expression (University Press of Mississippi)
Francesco Martinelli, The History of European Jazz (Equinox)

The Helen Dance - Robert Palmer Award for Excellence in Writing in 2018
Nate Chinen
Ted Gioia
Marc Myers
Ted Panken
Giovanni Russonello

The Marian McPartland-Willis Conover Award for Career Excellence in Broadcasting
Arturo Gomez, KUVO Jazz, Denver CO
Susan Kennedy, "Big Band Hall of Fame," WMNR-Monroe, CT
Tom Reney, "Jazz a la Mode", WFCR, New England Public Radio
Awilda Rivera, WBGO Jazz, Newark, 1992-2019 Twitter

The Lona Foote-Bob Parent Award for Career Excellence in Photography
Patrick Hinely
Robert Sutherland-Cohen work samples
Val Wilmer work samples

Album Art of the Year

Art: Charles Henry Alston


Art: Steven Erdman


Photo of the Year
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