NJPAC Announces 2018 Sarah Vaughan Competition Finalists

The deciding contest will take place in Newark on Nov. 18, the last day of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival

SvvcWinner

Quiana Lynell, winner of the 2017 Sarah Vaughan Competition

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center has announced the five jazz vocalists who will compete in the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 3 p.m. in Newark’s Victoria Theater.

This year’s finalists are: Russian-born pianist and singer Oleg Akkuratov; New Orleans-based vocalist Gabrielle Cavassa; Australian singer Olivia Chindamo; Las Vegas-based singer Toscha Comeaux; and Philadelphia-based vocalist Laurin Talese.

The singers will perform before a panel of judges including jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon; music manager and consultant Mary Ann Topper; WBGO radio host Sheila Anderson; trumpeter Jon Faddis; and bassist Christian McBride, who also serves as NJPAC’s jazz advisor.

The winner of the competition will receive $5,000 along with a performance slot at the 2019 Newport Jazz Festival. Past winners include Cyrille Aimée, Jazzmeia Horn, Ashleigh Smith, and Quiana Lynell, who took home the prize last year.

The competition, which began in 2012 and is also known as the SASSY Awards, will take place on the final day of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival, which begins on Sunday, Nov. 4.

Visit the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Competition’s website for more information.

To learn more about the TD James Moody Jazz Festival, go here.

Read JazzTimes‘ report on last year’s SASSY Awards.