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Jazz Journalists Association Names 27 Jazz Heroes for 2020

This year’s roster includes many undersung community advocates as well as musicians like Sean Jones, Ran Blake, and Matthew Garrison

Sean Jones
Sean Jones (photo: Monte Nickels)

The Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) has announced its 2020 class of Jazz Heroes. This year’s honoree list comprises 27 jazz heroes in 23 cities across the United States.

The 2020 honorees also represent 21 U.S. states, including presenters, educators, broadcasters, nonprofit executives, activists, and performers who have been singled out by members of their communities as major contributors.

The JJA’s Jazz Hero awards are given each year to “activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz”—advocates whose efforts to put jazz into the public sphere have had significant impacts in their local communities. Members of those communities make the nominations to JJA president Howard Mandel, with the honorees then receiving the awards from local fans and friends.

Awards are usually bestowed at public events and receptions; however, such honors are unlikely given the existing quarantine conditions against the coronavirus pandemic.

The full list of 2020 Jazz Heroes follows. Full bios of each honoree can be found at the JJA website.

Roberta Alloway (New York, NY)
Ran Blake (Boston, MA)
Gene Dobbs Bradford (St. Louis, MO)
Harriet Choice (Chicago, IL)
Susan Cohen Brink (Albany/Capital Region, NY)
Albert Coleman (Indianapolis, IN)
Lonnie & Ocie Davis (Charlotte, NC)
Matthew Garrison & Fortuna Sung (Brooklyn, NY)
Richard Hadlock (San Francisco Bay Area, CA)
Sean Jones (Baltimore, MD)
Ed Krech (Hartford, CT)
Billy Mitchell (Los Angeles, CA)
Patty Peterson (Minneapolis, MN)
Terri Pontremoli (Cleveland, OH)
Norman Provizer (Denver, CO)
Jan & Mark Pudlow (Tallahassee, FL)
Gwen Redding (Atlanta, GA)
Deanna Relyea (Ann Arbor, MI)
Ron Steen (Portland, OR)
Sunny Sumter (Washington, DC)
Jay Thomas (Seattle, WA)
Anthony Tidd (Philadelphia, PA)
Leah Tucker (Birmingham, AL)
Dr. Ronald B. Weber (Fort Lauderdale, FL)