Wayne Shorter, Linda May Han Oh Among 2019 JJA Jazz Awards Winners

The Jazz Journalists Association gave out awards in 39 categories

Wayne Shorter (photo: Robert Ascroft)
Wayne Shorter (photo: Robert Ascroft)

Saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist Ahmad Jamal, and bassist Linda May Han Oh were among those honored this week by the Jazz Journalists Association with 2019 JJA Jazz Awards.

The organization announced the award winners on May 1. Shorter was voted Musician of the Year, Jamal won the Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Award, Oh earned Up and Coming Musician of the Year, and West Side Story Reimagined by Bobby Sanabria’s Multiverse Big Band was named Record of the Year. All winners are posted here.

Other honorees include John Szwed for Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism; Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon by Maxine Gordon as Book of the Year; both British photojournalist Val Wilmer and Massachusetts-based broadcaster Tom Reney for overall career excellence; and Nate Chinen, editorial content director of WBGO and author of the book Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Centuryfor Best Writing in 2018. John Coltrane’s Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album won Historical Record of the Year, while ECM Records was named Label of the Year. Further categories (of 39 in all) cite individual instrumentalists, Album Art of the Year, and Photo of the Year: Adriana Mateo’s portrait of the late Roy Hargrove smoking a cigarette, seated at a piano in the Umbria Jazz Festival’s ornate Teatro Morlacchi.

All of these winners—as well as Jamal, Shorter (also Composer of the Year and leader of the Mid-Sized Ensemble of the Year), Oh (also Bassist of the Year), and drummer Sanabria’s two-disc album of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story score, re-envisioned by multiple arrangers—were chosen out of multiple nominees, based on two-part voting by members of the JJA, an international nonprofit organization of media-makers covering jazz.

This is the 24th anniversary of the JJA Jazz Awards. Presentation plans will be forthcoming, and posted at www.JJANews.org as well as the JJA’s Facebook page.