Charenée Wade and Jordyn Davis win BKCM’s inaugural Jazz Leaders Fellowship

The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music has named Jordyn Davis and Charenée Wade as the inaugural winners of the Jazz Leaders Fellowship in support of emerging jazz musicians.

The fellowship, which aims to aid the recipients on their paths toward music leadership, comes with a $12,500 reward along with opportunities for teaching, performance and mentorship.

The purpose of the Jazz Leaders Fellowship is to support emerging jazz musicians in creating original music; to support the careers of Black women and non-binary jazz musicians; to broaden the presence of BKCM in the jazz community; and to expose students to diverse teachers.

The winners were chosen from a highly competitive pool of 50 applicants.

Charenée Wade is a critically acclaimed singer, composer, arranger and educator who was the first runner-up in the 2010 Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition and was the recipient of the 2017 Jazz at Lincoln Center Millennial Swing Award. She has worked with greats including Wynton Marsalis, Christian McBride and Robert Glasper. She has performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Jazz Standard, The Apollo, and at festivals worldwide including Montreux, the Copenhagen Jazz Festival and the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. Wade has taught around the world, including at the Aaron Copland School, the Peabody Institute of John Hopkins University and the Juilliard School.

“I’m so honoured to have this opportunity to focus on educating the next generation,” said Wade. “It’s so important that young people know about their heritage so that they can continue to grow and stand on the shoulders of those who came before them … When we come together, we make more powerful work, and I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to create work through this initiative that is inspiring, uplifting and empowering.”

Jordyn Davis is a bassist, composer, songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist who was the first African-American woman at Michigan State University to receive a bachelor’s degree in music composition. She has composed and arranged more than 20 works for film, contemporary classical chamber ensembles, symphony orchestras, wind ensembles and jazz ensembles. She has also performed and worked with artists such as Rodney Whitaker, Micheal Dease, Bruce Barth, Wycliffe Gordon & The Black Excellence Trombone Choir, Ingrid Jensen, Rick Roe, Etienne Charles and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Davis is the founder of the indie rock/neo-soul project Composetheway.

“It is an absolute honour and pleasure to be awarded this fellowship,” said Davis. “I am extremely excited to become a member of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music community and look forward to working together to create more inclusive practices around jazz in the context of performance, education and community music-making.”

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