[jja-announce] did you wonder about the Jazz Awards?

Jazzmandel at aol.com Jazzmandel at aol.com
Thu Jun 29 18:32:06 EDT 2006

Dear JJA members, 

Sorry it’s taken me over a week to report on the Jazz Awards event at BB King’
s Monday, June 19 --   it was a blowout requiring much preparation, quick and 
exhausting work by a season troupe of volunteers, an intense party with 
dozens of jazzers at work and play, fast breakdown and then follow-up, which is 
what the production team is still doing now --

but let me tell you the Awards -- which kicked off with Gene Martin managing 
a riotous photo of attending musicians and nominees -- and pianist Ezra Weiss, 
an ASCAP composing award winner, with a slam bang sextet driven by Billy 
Hart. By 4:10 when the Awards were introduced there was a full house, 450-some 
jazzers including the first honoree of the afternoon:   Roy Haynes, receipient of 
the JJA's Lifetime Achievement in Jazz. 

Among other Award recipients in attendance: Concord Music Group, Label of the 
Year (represented by Gene Rumsey)! George Wein, presenter of the year. Gerald 
Wilson (large Ensemble), Andrew Hill (composer), Maria Schneider (arranger), 
Jane Ira Bloom (soprano sax), James Carter (baritone sax), Dafnis Prieto, (Up 
'n' comer of the year), Joe Locke (mallets player), Chris and Brandy Barretto, 
(representing the late Ray Barretto, percussionist) -- and   among jazz 
journalist receipients broadcaster Eric Jackson, feature writer Nate Chinen, 
photographer Gene Martin, webmaster Michael Ricci, JazzTimes' Glenn Sabin, Lifetime 
Achievement in Jazz Journalism honoree Howard Mandel. .for which I’m very 
grateful and intend to now work to try to justify.

Other Awards recipients: Sonny Rollins, Musician of the Year -- represented 
by Terri Hinte, A Team winner; Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane, 
Record of the Year (represented by Thomas Evered and Alan Bergman, Esq., Blue Note 
Records). Toots Thielesman, represented by Hendrick Meurkin. Paquito D’
Rivera, represented by Diego Urcola. 

Nominees and great friends in attendance: Alan Skidmore, Lee Konitz, Muhal 
Richard Abrams, Jason Moran, Nashiet Waits, Ronnie Cuber, Giacomo Gates, Dieglo 
Urcola, Sue Mingus, Marty Ehrlich, Roswell Rudd, Verna Gillis, Claire Daly, 
Lew Tabackin, Tierney Sutton, Jamie Baum, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Henry Grimes, Chris 
and Brandy Barretto, Kendra Shank, Craig Taborn, Judy Bady, Jane Bunnett, Bob 
Stewart, Randy Sandke, Marty Ehrlich, Peter Levinson, John Abbott, Francis 
Davis, Lois Gilbert (JazzCorner.com), Ben Allison, Kenny Washington, Enid Farber, 
Sheila Anderson,    --

 And speaking of other jazz journalists there: Gary Giddins, Dan Morgenstern, 
Bob Blumenthal, Gene Santoro, Will Friedwald, Yvonne Ervin, Nancy Barell, 
Robin Bell-Stevens, Cephus Bowles. of WBGO, Phil Freeman, Steve Schwartz pd of 
WGBH, Linda Yohn, George Avakian -- who gave Roy Haynes that Lifetime 
Achievement Award! Paul Blair, Bill Milkowski, Tom Reney, Tom Mallison, George Kanzler, 
AJ Smith, David Adler, the entire staff of AllAboutJazz-NY, Hothouse magazine, 
Michael Jackson (Chicago-Leeds), the PR dept. of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Hank 
Shteamer of Timeout New York, Terry Gross of NPR-distributed Fresh Air, reps 
of papers from Germany and France, Charlie Gans of AP (his story was posted on 
websites of 70 newspapers, including Washington Post, Miami Herald, SF 
Chronicle, and was summarized in the New York Times Arts, Briefly column). . . label 
publicists Jo Crimmins (Concord), Mike W. (Telarc), Tina Pelikan (ECM), Doug 
Yoel (Dreyfus), . ..many more, many --

including the great A Team: Gary Bartz giving the Award to impressive. Dollie 
McLean, who had come in from Hartford with her daughter Melanae; Phoebe 
Jacobs so strong from the stage; and Michael Cogswell so gracious; Sheldon Meyer, 
editor of all the New Yorkers, warming us all; Bill McFarlin also sincerely 
moved, receiving the Award from New School’s Martin Mueller; Jonathan F.P. Rose 
so happy; Sandy Jaffe telling her tales of New Orleans; Ann Ward hugging Muhal 
Richard Abrams! 

Sy Johnson, composer-pianist, performed two new charts, with Craig Handy 
navigating the blues, Mike Richmond on bass and Donald Edwards
drumming. TC the 3rd, a Philadelphia-rooted singer sponsored by 
Anheuser-Busch and Jazzmobile, seemed at thorough ease with snappy street-swing and 
Coltranesque yodelling, young trumpeters Christian Scott, a signatory of Concord 
Music Group and Sean Jones, signed to Mack Avenue Records, got together on a hot 
if brief duet of “Cherokee,” and Dewey Redman played a closing set on 
clarinet, with guitarist John Boucher and nominee-drummer Matt Wilson -- it started 
mysteriously and unpredictably swirled together.

We ended 15 minutes past our deadline, which was still within time, thanks to 
BB King’s generosity -- we were so tight for   time though that jazz poet 
Steve Dalachinsky went uncalled for his spotlit piece -- this must be made up to 
him! And Wendy Oxenhorn, director of the Jazz Foundation of America, who had 
left a meeting with her president of the board R. Jarrett Lillien and come to 
the Awards on cruches to accept a check from pianist Eli Yamin, also only got a 
chance to wave, but not to detail the JFA’s great New Orleans/national 
outreach over the past year.

There was talk, gossip, chatter, table-hopping, maybe deals made throughout 
the audience of BB’s the entire time of the Awards, through the food (salad, 
chicken or pasta,   dessert, beer/wine, coffee/sodas -- did you come to eat? But 
there best be something. . . ) through the performances and presentations. It 
was rude, the amount of sheer dismissal of what’s going on onstage, but also h
as proved to be impossible to stop, in the present Awards event format. 
Considering the productions challenges and not-meant-for-prime-time plot (really, 
things went relatively smoothly) it was probably just as well we didn’t have 
major TV shooting going on, but rather hand-help, ad hoc video documentation 
from JJA members Dan Kassell and Claire Daly.   

Our older attendees, in particular, are discomfitted by the noise level and 
just-offstage chaos which we have not been able to master -- and though the 
Awards are fun to produce this way, we have unfortunately upset people we’ve 
meant to celebrate. Poet Jayne Cortez, honoree Marian McPartland, master engineer 
Rudy Van Gelder, for one, who was brought to the Awards by jazz records legend 
Creed Taylor a couple of years ago, and found the event difficult, to put it 
mildly   -- for which we are eternally sorry. Despite it all the Awards at BB 
King’s was, again for the third year, a highly energized and   enjoyable 
industry/community event,   among those who carp about it. All attendees were given 
party favors bags filled with music goodies -- Blue Note, Mack Ave., RKM and 
New School jazz samplers, singers Josephine Livoti, Lainie Cooke, Louise 
Rogers jazz for children, SF Jazz Collective, vols 1 and 2 of Keran Hebden and 
Steve Reid’s The Exchane session,” Tunnels’ Natural Selection, a dvd of Moutin 
Reunion Quartet. . . .(want any of these? Let me know and we’ll work out a price 
of donation to the JJA, I still have some) -- also Jazz Improv, 
AllAboutJazz-NY, the WBGO kids’ jazz magazine. Something for everybody.   

The JJA made some $ on this event, as we meant to, though far less than last 
year, though we were not stinting on fundraising efforts. The Jazz Awards seem 
to have grown in acceptance and respect, but few players of the jazz 
community are inclined to underwrite the Awards as they stand. And why should they? 
The JJA has been putting on this party for nine years (the first year of the 
Awards, it was virtually a private affair). Somehow we have found a way. I think 
the way must change, if the Awards are to go forward. 

Change, development, evolution have been continuously under discussion 
throughout the decade of the Jazz Awards -- that’s how the event in NYC got to be as 
it’s become. Time of year, time of day, day of week, size of hall, price of 
tickets, promotion points, sponsorship benefits, event entertainment, Awards 
presentation formats -- these aspects of the Awards have been discussed 
endlessly by the active committee and occasional JJA members and onlookers. There is 
no shortage of ideas, though there are limitations in the possibilities, given 
the practicalities. The Jazz Awards belong to the JJA, and all members of the 
JJA are urged to contribute thoughts and efforts to the Awards’ realization. 
Only in the aftermath of the Awards event can the JJA see if it’s had positive 
effect, and if the effort is worth repeating. I personally hope the JJA would 
attract sustaining sponsorship to this worthy endeavor, the sponsoring 
organization understanding -- nay, embracing -- the value of work done by journalists 
covering jazz. If that doesn't happen, I don't see how the organization can 
afford to put it on as it's been, much less make it any better. 

Now about that work -- you may see some of it at Jazzhouse.org and 
JazzJournalistsAwards.com. Charles Gans wrote an article for AP which was picked up by 
more than 70 newspapers for their websites and print editions -- the New York 
Times used that report as the basis of its “Arts Briefly” column notice of the 
Jazz Awards. News of Sonny Rollins winning Musician of the Year made the CNN 
crawl (as news of Wayne Shorter’s sweep in 2004 also made the crawl). Bob 
Protzman is among the first JJA members to send me their own “for the record” 
article about it -- I hope there will be others. If we believe in our Awards, and 
I know of no reason not to, the excellence they celebrate deserves some 
further recognition.

The JJA’s Los Angeles Jazz Awards are being celebrated at the Pasadena Museum 
of Art on July 30; contact Fred Jung, ocundrgrnd at aol.com, for further 

best to all -- 


Howard Mandel
151 1st Ave.
NY NY 10003
phone 212 533 9495
cell 212 533 4952

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