Jon Batiste, Melissa Aldana, Terence Blanchard, Kenny Garrett and Sheila Jordan claimed some of the top honours of this year’s JJA Jazz Awards.
The winners and nominees were chosen by the votes of the members of the Jazz Journalists Association.
Batiste was named musician of the year, an unsurprising choice considering the New Orleans native’s recent fame and acclaim that has included winning five Grammys and an Academy Award. The JJA Jazz Awards’ other nominees for musician of the year included James Brandon Lewis, Pat Metheny, William Parker, and Wadada Leo Smith.
Kenny Garrett’s Sounds From the Ancestors was named record of the year. The saxophonist’s 20th album as a leader reflects the tradition of jazz, R&B and gospel in his hometown of Detroit while reverberating with both ancestral and contemporary sounds pulled from France, Cuba, Nigeria and Guadeloupe. The album had previously won the NAACP Image Award for outstanding instrumental jazz album. The other nominees for record of the year included William Parker, Wadada Leo Smith, Jazzmeia Horn and James Brandon Lewis.
Melissa Aldana won the award for up-and-coming musician of the year. The tenor saxophonist made her Blue Note debut with 12 Stars, marking a major step in her formidable career. Hailing from Santiago, Chile, and now based in Brooklyn, the Grammy-nominated musician has established herself internationally with her work as a bandleader, composer and instrumentalist, including as a member of the supergroup Artemis, led by Renee Rosnes. The other nominees were Samara Joy, James Brandon Lewis, Immanuel Wilkins.
Maria Schneider won the JJA Jazz Award for arranger of the year for the second consecutive time, while Terence Blanchard was named composer of the year thanks to his critically acclaimed, Grammy-nominated album Absence, featuring the E-Collective and the Turtle Island Quartet.
Kurt Elling and Cécile McLorin Salvant claimed the awards for vocalists of the year, just as they both did last year. Wycliffe Gordon, Immanuel Wilkins, Anat Cohen, Mary Halvorson, Christian McBride, John Patitucci, Vijay Iyer, James Francies, Joel Ross and Brandee Younger were some of the winners of the instrument-specific award categories.
Sheila Jordan was given the JJA Jazz Awards’ lifetime achievement award, while John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle was named historical record of the year.
You can see the full list of winners and nominees here.