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First Jazz Music Awards Ceremony to Be Held in Atlanta

The inaugural event is scheduled for Oct. 22 and will include 14 award categories

Ambrose Akinmusire at the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival
Ambrose Akinmusire at the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival (photo: Marek Lazarski)

There is no major, large-scale jazz music awards event in North America—but now there’s one that hopes to fill the void. The inaugural Jazz Music Awards will take place October 22, 2022 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, Georgia.

Created and produced by Wendy F. Williams, general manager of Atlanta jazz radio station WCLK, the Jazz Music Awards comprise 14 award categories—eight competitive and six honorary. The competitive awards feature 33 nominees based on work created during the eligibility period of April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022. The awards ceremony will also feature performances by Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ledisi, Lizz Wright, and Jazzmeia Horn, under the musical direction of Terri Lyne Carrington.

Nominees and honorary award winners are listed below. More information and tickets are available at the Jazz Music Awards website.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Wayne Shorter

Jazz Innovator Award: Ambrose Akinmusire

Jazz Composer Award: Henry Threadgill

Jazz Educator Award: Lenora Z. Helm Hammonds

Jazz Legend Award: McCoy Tyner

Jazz Impact Award: James H. Patterson

Best Mainstream Artist: (nominees)
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: (nominees)
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: (nominees)
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: (nominees)
Simon Moullier Countdown
Julieta Eugenio Jump
Kazemde George I Insist
Samara Joy Samara Joy

Best Vocal Performance: (nominees)
The Baylor Project Generations
Somi Dreaming Zenzile
Stacey Kent Songs from Other Places
Shawnn Monteiro You Are There

Best Mainstream Album: (nominees)
The Baylor Project Generations
Orrin Evans The Magic of Now
Kenny Garrett Sounds from the Ancestors
Brandee Younger Somewhere Different

Best Contemporary Album: (nominees)
Bob Baldwin B Positive
Brian Culbertson The Trilogy
Sonny Emory Soul Ascension
Gabriel Mark Hasselbach Mid Century Modern Volume 3

Song of the Year: (fan vote)
Norman Brown “Back at Ya” (single)
Brian Culbertson “Feel the Love” (single)
Justin-Lee Schultz “Gruv Kid” (single)
James “PJ” Spraggins “Up from Here” (single)