Inaugural Jazz Music Awards show is this weekend in Atlanta

Tony Award-winning artist Dee Dee Bridgewater and actor Delroy Lindo will host the ceremony.

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The inaugural Jazz Music Awards is scheduled to kick off on Oct. 22 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. 

Tony Award-winning artist Dee Dee Bridgewater and actor Delroy Lindo will host the ceremony. Artists scheduled to perform on Saturday include Dianne Reeves, Jazzmeia Horn, Kenny Garrett, Ledisi and others.

According to the official website of the Jazz Music Awards, the event “recognizes jazz as an American musical art form, birthed from the experience and innovation of African Americans, rooted in blues, ragtime, swing, bebop, and creative improvised music, including  Latin jazz, mainstream, smooth, and other contemporary forms, or hybrids.”

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Ledisi, here at the “Run The World” VIP screening and reception in May 2021 in Los Angeles, is among those slated to perform during the inaugural Jazz Music Awards on Oct, 22, 2022 in Atlanta. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

“We are honored to recognize and present a wide range of dynamic and innovative artists including our six award honorees and our 33 nominees,” Wendy F. Williams, creator and executive producer of the Jazz Music Awards, said in a statement, Billboard reports.

“We are officially the first and only awards show to exclusively celebrate jazz music on an international platform in North America,” Williams said. “By recognizing our honorees and nominees, we are giving thanks for their incredible artistry that furthers the richness of the jazz tradition, which is integral to American music and culture.” 

Late pianist and composer McCoy Tyner is slated to receive the Jazz Legend Award and saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter will receive a lifetime achievement award, Billboard reports. Those are two of the honorary awards to be presented during the ceremony. Awards will also be presented in eight competitive categories, and four-time Grammy nominee The Baylor Project leads with three nominations for the album, “Generations.”

The nomination eligibility period was from April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022. 

In previewing the show to The AJC, Williams said, “You will see nine great performances by artists at the top of the jazz charts, a main stage, public show of musicians who have been satisfying audiences and performing in front of hundreds of thousands of people and are now here on our stage, performing and being honored.” 

She said she hopes that the Jazz Music Awards will eventually have the profile of other such programs. “Our purpose is to elevate the art to be recognized like other art forms,” Williams explained. “Jazz is America’s art and there was no award ceremony for our genre. Our hope is to elevate the Jazz Music Awards to the status of a TV broadcast like the other major award shows.”

Following is the complete list of nominees in the eight competitive categories, according to Billboard:

Best Mainstream Artist
Joey DeFrancesco, More Music
Kenny Garrett, Sounds From The Ancestors
Christian McBride & Inside Straight, Live at the Village Vanguard
Brandee Younger, Somewhere Different

Best Contemporary Artist
Brian Bromberg, A Little Driving Music
Ben Tankard, SHINE!
Lindsey Webster, “I Didn’t Mean It”
Ragan Whiteside, “Off the Cuff”

Best Duo, Group, or Big Band
The Baylor Project, Generations
Jazzmeia Horn and Her Noble Force, Dear Love
Christian McBride & Inside Straight, Live at the Village Vanguard
Count Basie Orchestra, Live at Birdland
(under the direction of Scotty Barnhart)
Kevin Eubanks and Orrin Evans, EEE (Eubanks-Evans-Experience)

Best New Jazz Artist (Contemporary or Mainstream)
Simon Moullier, Countdown
Julieta Engenio, Jump
Kazemde George, I Insist
Samara Joy, Samara Joy

Best Vocal Performance
The Baylor Project, Generations
Somi Kakoma, Dreaming Zenzile
Stacey Kent, Songs From Other Places
Shawnn Monteiro, You Are There

Best Mainstream Album
The Baylor Project, Generations
Orrin Evans, The Magic of Now
Kenny Garrett, Sounds From The Ancestors
Brandee Younger, Somewhere Different

Best Contemporary Album
Bob Baldwin, The Stay at Home Series, Volume 1
Brian Culbertson, The Trilogy Red
Sonny Emory, Soul Ascension
Gabriel Mark Hasselbach, Tongue & Groove

Song of the Year (Fan Vote)
Norman Brown, “Back At Ya”
Brian Culbertson, “Feel the Love”
Justin-Lee Schultz, “Gruv Kid”
James “PJ” Spraggins, “Up From Here”

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