Next Jazz Legacy has announced the first seven emerging women and non-binary awardees selected for the new program that aims to increase opportunities for underrepresented jazz musicians.
The three-year program launched by New Music USA and the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice will invest in each of the seven recipients with financial support and personalized apprenticeships.
In those apprenticeships, the participants will each be paired with one of Esperanza Spalding, Lizz Wright, Marcus Miller, Mary Halvorson, Tia Fuller, Linda May Han Oh and Chris Potter.
Meanwhile, Wayne Shorter, Bobby McFerrin, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Brandon Ross, Bill Stewart, Kris Davis and Jen Shyu will also be part of the program as mentors.
“I am proud to be a part of Next Jazz Legacy, offering guidance and hands-on professional performance opportunities to gifted emerging artists,” said Linda May Han Oh. “I have been fortunate enough throughout my career to have worked with many outstanding bandleaders and mentors, from whom I have learned priceless lessons, through experiences with them on gigs and on the road. I am so glad to be a part of this, to contribute back by working with this next generation of musicians.”
The inaugural group of awardees features drummer Ivanna Cuesta, vocalist and trombonist Lexi Hamner, guitarist Keyanna Hutchinson, pianist Alexis Lombre, pianist and organist Anastassiya Petrova, guitarist Loke Risberg and trombonist Kalia Vandever.
With gender and racial justice as guiding principles, Next Jazz Legacy chose the awardees chosen through an open-call process and a “meticulous, months-long” review process by a panel of jazz trailblazers including Cassandra Wilson, Nicole Mitchell, Ambrose Akinmusire, Sean Jones and Miguel Zenón, and chaired the program’s artistic director Terri Lyne Carrington.
“The rich legacy of jazz can only get better when we are inclusive,” said Carrington. “We are at a time in history where varying communities are having to rethink their social and political positions. This generation is demanding that we open our minds and hearts to consider a future with greater distance from the customs and standards of the past. As educators and mentors, it is our job to listen to them and work together to make needed change.”
The program will combine individual and group learning opportunities with a comprehensive support package designed to deliver deep impacts on every candidate’s career, along with a $10,000 grant for each participant.