Friday, June 20, 2008

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The Jazz Journalists Association Announces 2008 Jazz Award Winners

The Jazz Journalists Association announces winners of the 2008 Jazz Awards, the non-profit professional organization's 12th annual celebration of excellence in jazz and jazz journalism, and induction of an “A Team” of activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz, The Jazz Awards are engraved statuettes, handed to attending recipients by jazz journalists and their supporters at a barbeque and beer lunch at the Jazz Standard, Wednesday June 18. For further information about the Jazz Awards and Jazz Journalists Association, visit


Lifetime Achievement in Jazz
Marian McPartland

Musician of the Year
Herbie Hancock

Up & Coming Musician of the Year
Lionel Loueke

Record of the Year
Sky Blue
Maria Schneider Orchestra

Reissue/Historical Release of the Year
Cornell 1964
Charles Mingus Sextet
Blue Note

Reissue/Historical Box Set of the Year
A Life In Time: The Roy Haynes Story Dreyfus Jazz

Record Label of the Year
Blue Note Records

Composer of the Year
Maria Schneider

Arranger of the Year
Maria Schneider

Male Singer of the Year
Andy Bey

Female Singer of the Year
Abbey Lincoln

Latin Jazz Album of the Year
Big Band Urban Folktales
Bobby Sanabria

Small Ensemble of the Year
Ornette Coleman Quartet/Quintet

Large Ensemble of the Year
Maria Schneider Orchestra

Trumpeter of the Year
Terence Blanchard

Trombonist of the Year
Wycliffe Gordon

Player of Instruments Rare in Jazz
Scott Robinson, reeds/brass/antiques

Alto Sax Player of the Year
Ornette Coleman

Tenor Sax Player of the Year
Sonny Rollins

Soprano Sax Player of the Year
Jane Ira Bloom

Baritone Sax Player of the Year
James Carter

Clarinetist of the Year
Anat Cohen

Flutist of the Year
Nicole Mitchell

Pianist of the Year
Hank Jones

Organ-Keyboards of the Year
Dr. Lonnie Smith

Guitarist of the Year
Bill Frisell

Bassist of the Year
Christian McBride

Electric Bassist of the Year
Steve Swallow

Strings Player of the Year
Regina Carter

Mallets Player of the Year
Joe Locke

Percussionist of the Year
Candido Camero

Drummer of the Year
Roy Haynes

Events Producer of the Year
Patricia Nicholson-Parker, Arts for Art, RUCMA, Vision Festival

Jazz Journalism Lifetime Achievement Award
Doug Ramsey, author, biographer, blogger

Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Broadcasting Award
Nancy Wilson, for “Jazz Profiles”
National Public Radio

Helen Dance-Robert Palmer Feature & Review Writing Award
Nate Chinen
New York Times, JazzTimes

Best Periodical Covering Jazz

Best Website on Jazz

Best Book about Jazz
Playing the Changes: Milt Hinton's Life in Stories and Photographs, by Milt Hinton, David G. Berger and Holly Maxson (Vanderbilt University Press)

Lona Foote-Bob Parent Photography Award
Milt Hinton (1910-2000)

Jazz Photo of the Year
(click to view larger image)

Time Stood Still for Andrew Hill
Laurence Donohue-Greene

The Jazz Journalists Association 2008 Award for the “A Team” Activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz

  • Dr. Valerie Capers, pianist, composer, emeritus chair of City University of New York Department of Music and Art at Bronx Community College;

  • Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts;

  • Lauren Deutsch, photographer and executive director of the Jazz Institute of Chicago;

  • Susan Muscarella, pianist-composer-arranger-educator, founder of JazzSchool (Berkeley);

  • Phil Nimmons, clarinetist, improviser, father of Canadian jazz education;

  • George Russell, conceptualist, composer, orchestra leader, educator (New England Conservatory)

  • Dick Wang, musician, educator (Univ of Illinois-Chicago), mentor, historian, archivist, co-founder, past president and current board member of the Jazz Institute of Chicago;

  • Dr. Herb Wong, founder of the Palo Alto jazz alliance and Berkeley public school jazz programs, broadcaster, record producer and annotator, past-president of the International Association of Jazz Educators, spirit of the Monterey Jazz Festival

  • Wendy Oxenhorn, executive director of the Jazz Foundation of America, founder of Street News, blues harmonica player

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Libby York-Here With You

Something's cool. Something's really cool.

June Christy's landmark album aside, Meredith D'Ambrosio, Laverne Butler, Ethel Ennis, are all jazz singers whom I'd consider true jazz singers. Singers of individuality, dexterity and above all an innate sense of jazz vocal history. They are also jazz singers who flew a bit under the jazz radar in terms of a wider audience. Add Libby York to that short list. And the comparison will arise no doubt. She sounds like...this. She sounds like that. Ms. York should'nt have that problem. She sounds like herself.

"Here With You" (Libby York Music), Ms. York's latest offering is further proof of her unique brilliance. Smooth and oh so cool under fire, Ms. York surrounds herself, as well she should with world class cats in Russell Malone, Howard Alden, and Warren Vache. Bassist Jon Burr along with drummer Vanderlei Pereira aren't slouches either (Kudos for the production work of pianist Renee Rosnes who was one Ms. York's preceding disc, 'Sunday In New York').

All true singers plumb the depths of the American songbook. Entreated we are to snug versions of 'For All We Know', 'You Go to My Head', 'But Beautiful', etc. With a gem in the clunky crying tender romance of Howard Alden's guitar, back dropped by Warren Vache's muted horn styling. And did you know Mr. Vache could sing? I sure didn't! He's got a few grains of gravel in his throat. His duet with Ms. York is straight out of Armstrong/Fitzgerald or Ray Charles/Betty Carter. Classic stuff. Also very nice is the soft passionate lilt of 'Flamingo'.

Each tune herein is engaging. But that's what the best of jazz singers are known for - making all songs their own! Libby York does it with unforced grace and ease. And she does it with something cool. Something really cool! Her own voice.