The Texas-raised, Louisiana-based singer Quiana Lynell has been named the winner of the sixth annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, held on Sunday as part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).
The prize for the first-place award, also known as the Sassy, is a record-contract offer from the Concord label and $5,000. Second place ($1,500) went to Tatiana “LadyMay” Mayfield, from Fort Worth, Tex.; and the third-place ($500) winner was Christine Fawson, a Berklee faculty member and gifted trumpeter. The competition finals were held before a live audience at NJPAC’s Victoria Theater and judged by a panel including WBGO radio personality Gary Walker; bandleader and composer TS Monk, the son of jazz icon Thelonious Monk; and acclaimed professional vocalists Vanessa Rubin, Ann Hampton Callaway and Will Downing. The two other finalists competing that day were Tiffany Austin, who has made a name for herself on the Northern California scene, and New York-based vocalist Fabio Giacalone.
In its relatively brief lifetime, the Sassy Awards program has named as its victors and finalists some of the finest young singers currently at work. Jazzmeia Horn, who won the 2013 contest, released her acclaimed debut, A Social Call, this year on the Concord Music Group’s Prestige imprint. More than 600 aspiring singers, both men and women, applied for this year’s competition.
Read Allen Morrison’s coverage of last year’s fifth-anniversary competition.
For more information on the competition, visit the official Sassy Awards website.