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8th Annual Independent Music Awards Announced—JazzTimes Editor Among Judges

The lineup of musicians, industry executives and media personnel in charge of the judging the 8th Annual Independent Music Awards was announced last week, with JazzTimes‘ own editor-in-chief Lee Mergner and famed Cuban jazz clarinetist and alto saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera (pictured) among the judges.

D’Rivera is well-respected as a modern composer and bandleader, as well as a master of his own stylistic blend of traditional Cuban music, jazz, rock and classical.

Other judges include musicians Peter Gabriel, Roger Daltrey, Keith Urban and Suzanne Vega, and other industry experts from Rolling Stone, Blender.com and MTV Networks.

“Everyone affiliated with the IMAs is honored to have these visionary artists and influential industry pros participate in what is regarded as one of the music industry’s most effective programs for giving vetted indie talent access to larger fan bases, airplay distribution, broadcast and performance opportunities,” said Martin Folkman, director of the IMAs, in a press release.

The IMAs aim to bring new music to the ears of 15 million listeners annually with yearlong promotions and marketing of the winners. The concept, created by the Music Resource Group, highlights the accomplishments of self-produced and self-distributed recordings and indie labels.

The Music Resource Group runs the Musicians Atlas and AtlasOnline print and online databases, which are used to promote winners and finalists in each year’s IMAs.

This season, the deadline for applications is August 1, 2008. Finalists are announced in October, and the winners by December. Winners and finalists in the awards are treated to a year of performance opportunities, as well as mixed media promotions.

The IMAs have 54 different categories spanning across genres-pop/rock, jazz, punk, rap/hip-hop, country and new age, to name a few-and categories for concert photography, web sites and album art and packing.

The variety of the awards themselves explain the motivations behinds choosing certain judges each year.

“Their creative and professional perspectives and their industry affiliations help us to support a wide variety of independent musicians and releases that are making an impact on today’s chaotic music scene,” Folkman said.

More information about the awards, this year’s panel and how to enter is available at Independent Music Awards.

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