Jazz Music Awards Announce Winners in Historic Ceremony

Christian McBride & Inside Straight, Samara Joy and Ragan Whiteside were among the winners of the first annual Jazz Music Awards, presented Oct. 22 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Produced by WCLK-FM, the campus radio station at Clark University in Atlanta, the presentation was the first large-scale awards show dedicated solely to celebrating jazz music and the artists who create it. NEA singer and jazz master Dee Dee Bridgewater and actor Delroy Lindo co-hosted the event.

McBride and his quintet Inside Straight scooped two of eight competitive awards, taking home the trophies for Best Mainstream Artist and Best Album by a Duo, Group or Big Band (for Live at Village Vanguard). Twenty-four-year-old singer Joy was named best new artist, while flautist Whiteside won the award for best contemporary artist.

Somi and Stacey Kent, who tied for best vocal performance (with the albums Zenzile: the reimagining of Miriam Makeba and Songs from elsewhere, respectively); Bob Baldwin, whose Stay Home Series, Vol. 1 won Best Contemporary Album; Orrin Evans’ The magic of today and Kenny Garrettit is The sounds of the ancestors, tied for Best Mainstream Album; and Norman Brown’s “Back At Ya,” which was the fan’s choice for song of the year.

In addition to the competitive awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to legendary saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter, while Clark Atlanta jazz teacher James Patterson received the Jazz Impact Award. The ceremony also featured performances from Dianne Reeves, Garrett, the Baylor Project, Ledisi, Brandee Younger, Lizz Wright, Jazzmeia Horn, Somi, Lindsey Webster and Tia Fuller, all under the musical direction of Terri Lyne Carrington.

Visit the Jazz Music Awards website for more information.