Nominees 2015

These are the finalist nominees for the 2015 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 2014, 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 and Best Shortform Video of the Year categories; committees of JJA Members chose the nominees in those categories from among the submissions.

Winners of the 2015 JJA Jazz Awards in all categories will be determined by the votes of JJA Professional Journalist Members; winners in musical categories will be announced here on on May 15. Winners in media categories will be announced at the JJA Media Awards party, a ticketed event, on June 16 in New York City at the Blue Note Jazz Club.
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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

1) Lifetime Achievement in Jazz

Charles Lloyd
Chick Corea
Randy Weston

2) Musician of the Year

Ambrose Akinmusire
Chick Corea
Jason Moran

3) Up and Coming Artist of the Year

Ambrose Akinmusire
Cecile McLorin Salvant
David Virelles
Melissa Aldana
Warren Wolf

4) Composer of the Year

Ambrose Akinmusire
Arturo O'Farrill
Henry Threadgill
Maria Schneider
Tom Harrell
Vijay Iyer
Wadada Leo Smith

5) Arranger of the Year

Billy Childs
Maria Schneider
Ryan Truesdell
The Bad Plus

6) Record of the Year

Jason Moran - All Rise (Blue Note)
Kenny Barron/Dave Holland, The Art of Conversation (Impulse!)
The Bad Plus - The Rite of Spring (Sony Music)

7) Historical Record of the Year

Charles Lloyd - Manhattan Stories (Resonance)
John Coltrane - Offering: Live At Temple University (Resonance)
Miles Davis- Miles at the Fillmore (Miles Davis Bootleg Series Vol 3) (Columbia-Legacy)

8) Record Label/Platform of the Year

Blue Note
Mack Avenue
Motema Music

9) Male Vocalist of the Year

Andy Bey
Gregory Porter
Kurt Elling

10) Female Vocalist of the Year

Cassandra Wilson
Cecile McLorin Salvant
Cyrille Aimee
Dianne Reeves

11) Large Ensemble of the Year 

Arturo O'Farrill Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
Maria Schneider Orchestra
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

12) Midsize Ensemble 

Henry Butler/Steven Bernstein and the Hot 9
Steve Lehman Octet
Wayne Shorter Quartet

13) Trio or Duo

Fred Hersch Trio
Kenny Barron/Dave Holland
The Bad Plus
Vijay Iyer Trio

14) Trumpeter of the Year 

Ambrose Akinmusire
Terence Blanchard
Wadada Leo Smith

15) Trombonist of the Year 

Conrad Herwig
Steve Turre
Wycliffe Gordon

16) Multi-reeds Player of the Year

Anat Cohen
James Carter
Roscoe Mitchell
Scott Robinson

17) Alto Saxophonist of the Year

Kenny Garrett
Lee Konitz
Miguel Zenon
Rudresh Mahanthappa
Steve Lehman

18) Tenor Saxophonist of the Year

(Sonny Rollins named Emeritus, Beyond Voting in 2013)

Chris Potter
Joe Lovano
Mark Turner

19) Baritone Saxophonist of the Year

Claire Daly
Gary Smulyan
Ronnie Cuber

20) Soprano Saxophonist of the Year

Branford Marsalis
Dave Liebman
Jane Ira Bloom
Sam Newsome
Wayne Shorter

21) Flutist of the Year

Charles Lloyd
Henry Threadgill
Jamie Baum
Nicole Mitchell

22) Clarinetist of the Year

Anat Cohen
Ben Goldberg
Ken Peplowski
Paquito D'Rivera

23) Guitarist of the Year

Bill Frisell
Mary Halvorson
Pat Metheny
Russell Malone

24) Pianist of the Year

Chick Corea
Fred Hersch
Jason Moran
Kenny Barron
Matthew Shipp
Vijay Iyer

25) Keyboards Player of the Year

Chick Corea
John Medeski
Larry Goldings

26) Bassist of the Year

Christian McBride
Dave Holland
Ron Carter

27) Violinist/Violist/Cellist of the Year

Jenny Scheinman
Mark Feldman
Regina Carter

28) Percussionist of the Year

Bobby Sanabria
Cyro Baptista
Pedrito Martinez
Poncho Sanchez
Sammy Figueroa
Zakir Hussain

29) Mallets Instrumentalist of the Year

Bobby Hutcherson
Jason Adasiewicz
Joe Locke
Stefon Harris
Warren Wolf

30) Traps Drummer of the Year

Brian Blade
Eric Harland
Matt Wilson

31) Player of Instruments Rare in Jazz

Edmar Castaneda - harp
Gregoire Maret (harmonica)
Hendrik Meurkens (harmonica)
Steve Turre (shells)


Winners in the following journalism and media categories will be announced on June 16 at a reception at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City.

32) Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism

Marc Myers writes the daily blog JazzWax, which he started in August 2007 and which won the 2012 JJA Award for Blog of the Year -- it is syndicated by Toronto's radio station JazzFM.91. His book Why Jazz Happened was published in 2013, and he has been writing about jazz as well as other music and the arts for the Wall Street Journal since 2010. He's written liner notes for a dozen jazz recordings, and conducted many celebrity interviews, with Dave Brubeck, B.B. King and Fats Domino, among others. Having studied journalism as an undergraduate at Northeastern University (and history as a graduate student at Columbia University), Marc began his professional journalistic career as an intern at the New York Times in the late 1970s, joining the paper full-time in 1980 in the sports department. He has held editorial positions at Adweek, Working Woman magazine, Bottom Line/ Personal. His other books are How to Make Luck: 7 Secrets Lucky People Use to Succeed; Affluent for Life(ghost written for Ted Ridlehuber), and Ernst & Young's Profit from the New Tax Law.

Ted Panken writes about jazz and creative music for various publications, including DownBeat, Jazziz and Jazz Times. He has written more than 500 liner notes as well as program notes for Jazz at Lincoln Center concerts, and had contributed significantly to the 'zine, for which he functioned as an editor and writer. From 1985 until 2008, Ted was program host on WKCR-FM in New York City, where he broadcast and documented the changing scene as it evolved in the jazz capital, conducting hundreds of extensive live-in-studio interviews with musicians ranging from Sonny Rollins to John Zorn, Roy Haynes to Anthony Braxton, Ahmad Jamal to Muhal Richard Abrams. Some of Ted's older work and transcriptions of his interviews are posted on his blog Today Is The Question.

Neil Tesser  is a Chicago-based writer and broadcaster, whose outlets have included the Chicago Reader, the, USA Today and Playboy magazine, among many other periodicals; he is also author of The Playboy Guide to Jazz. A 2014 Grammy winner for his liner notes to John Coltrane's Afro Blue Impressions and writer of some 300 other album annotations, Neil is a former vice chair on the board of trustees of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) and was president of its Chicago chapter; he is also a board member of the Jazz Journalists Association. He has hosted jazz radio shows on WBEZ, WSBC and WCFJ, as well as co-host of the nationally-syndicated radio programs Miles Ahead and Listen Here!, and he contributed arts commentaries for the NPR series Future Forward and Chicago's all-news WBBM-AM. He has won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, and was recipient of the first JJA award for Excellence in Broadcasting. He contributes regularly to

33) Jazz Publication of the Year

The New York City Jazz Record

34) Jazz Website of the Year

A Blog Supreme (from NPR Jazz,

35) Blog of the Year

A Blog Supreme  (Patrick Jarenwattananon)
Do the Math (Ethan Iverson)
JazzWax (Marc Myers)
Rifftides (Doug Ramsey)

36) Best Book About Jazz of the Year

Herbie Hancock: Possibilities (Viking), by Herbie Hancock with Lisa Dickey

Jazz Child: A Portrait of Sheila Jordan (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers), by Ellen Johnson

ART: Why I Stuck With a Junkie Jazzman: Inventing a Marriage (BookBaby), by Laurie Pepper

37) Best Liner Notes of the Year

John Coltrane - Offering: Live at Temple University (Resonance) by Ashley Kahn

Louis Armstrong & The All-Stars - The Columbia & RCA Victor Live Recordings (Mosaic), by Ricky Riccardi

Isham Jones - Happy: The 1920 Rainbo Orchestra Sides (Archeophone Records) by David Sager

Rosemary Clooney - CBS Radio Recordings 1955-61 (Mosaic) by James Gavin

38) The Helen Dance-Robert Palmer Award 

For Writing in the Year 2014

Ashley Kahn
Nate Chinen
Ted Gioia

39) The Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award 

for Broadcasting in the Year 2014

Christian McBride (host of "Jazz Night in America," a collaboration of NPR, WBGO and Jazz at Lincoln Center. )
Linda Yohn (host of "89.1 Jazz" on WEMU  Ypsilanti, MI)
Rusty Hassan ( host of "Late Night Jazz" WPFW-FM, Washington, D.C.)

40) Best Short Form Jazz Video

#WeCan'tBreathe: A Peaceful Protest by Brandon Bain, Capsulocity

Sonny Rollins in India: Learning Yoga and Why by Bret Primack

Great Advice from Musicians for Musicians by John Moultrie 

Alan Broadbent and the NDR Big Band: America the Beautiful by Jack Sewell

Making a DIfference Award Bob Perkins by Jason Fifield

Montreux Jazz Festival by Robert Bound/Gabriel Leigh 

41) Photo of the Year 

 Click photo to view full size and see full info.

Roy Hargrove by Andrea Boccalini

Bennie Maupin by William Ellis

Jon Batiste and Stay Human by Richard Conde

Kasami Washington by Sandro Niboli

Roscoe Mitchell by Lauren Deutsch

Dave Holland with Kenny Barron by Andrea Palmucci