The nominations for the 2017 Jazz FM Awards have been announced and, notably, the ceremony will take place on 25th April, the 100th anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald’s birth.
Coinciding with a particularly significant year for jazz, which sees noteworthy anniversaries occurring across the year including 100 years since the very first jazz recording as well as centenaries for Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie, this year’s gala will present thirteen awards to a range of stand-out artists responsible for carving the way forward in the worlds of jazz, blues and soul.
While the majority of winners will be announced on the evening, the organisers have confirmed that pioneering R&B and jazz vocalist Georgie Fame will receive the PPL Lifetime Achievement Award and La La Land and Whiplash director Damien Chazelle, who on Sunday won the Best Director award at the 2017 Oscars for La La Land, will receive the Impact Award for the notable impact his work is having on bringing jazz to wider audiences.
Speaking to Jazz FM about La La Land, Damien Chazelle said:
"What's interesting about jazz now is that it's an art form that is kind of at a crossroads and maybe has been for some time. An art form where there's a lot of debate about what it's supposed to be… It was important to me to have that said out loud in the movie....[The views of the characters] are the two sides of my brain ...purity and tradition versus the need to keep an art form alive and modern.”
The night will also host several performances from a range of acclaimed artists, including a one-off, exclusive show from Georgie Fame with a quartet led by Guy Barker, as well as a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald performed by a special guest performer. Ella holds a very special place in Jazz FM’s heart and history having launched the station in 1990 with two concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and was one of the first voices to be heard on air.
Nominated artists this year include Laura Mvula, Stax Records icon William Bell, and neo-soul singer-songwriter Jordan Rakei who are up for Soul Artist of the Year, US heavyweights Brad Mehldau, David Bowie collaborator Donny McCaslin, and genre-bending pianist Robert Glasper who will fight it out for International Jazz Artist of the Year, and groove duo Yussef Kamaal, pianist Ashley Henry, and Nubya Garcia who represent the outstanding British talent that has emerged in 2016 and are up for Breakthrough Act of the Year.
The Rolling Stones have been nominated for two awards under the categories of Album of the Year and Blues Artist of the Year for Blues & Lonesome, with US singer-songwriters Bonnie Raitt and Eric Bibb also in contention for the latter award. Another dual nominee is drummer and social activist Jaimeo Brown for Jazz Innovation and Digital Initiative of the Year, where he will be up against DJ Gilles Peterson and US trumpeter Dave Douglas.
Once again, Album of the Year, UK Jazz Act of the Year and Live Experience of the Year will be decided by public vote and the nominees for these categories include Shabaka Hutchings, Gregory Porter, Wayne Shorter, Madeleine Peyroux, Soweto Kinch, Anderson .Paak, Kurt Elling, Roberto Fonseca and Julian Arguelles.
Public voting is open now at www.jazzfmawards.com and will close on 31 March 2017.
The Jazz FM Awards 2017 is a partnership between Jazz FM and Serious and is made possible with the support of Mishcon De Reya, PRS For Music, Rathbones, Pollitt & Partners, Oris Watches, Grange Hotels, RCS, Denbies Wine Estate, Arqiva, Fever Tree, Yamaha, The Piano Bar Soho and PPL.
Full list of 2017 Nominees:
BREAKTHROUGH ACT OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Yamaha
INTERNATIONAL JAZZ ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Oris Watches
VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by PRS for Music
INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Rathbones
BLUES ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by The Piano Bar Soho
The Rolling Stones
SOUL ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by RCS
JAZZ INNOVATION OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Mishcon de Reya
Darcy James Argue
DIGITAL INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Pollitt & Partners
Dave Douglas - Greenleaf Music
Gilles Peterson - Worldwide FM
Jaimeo Brown - Transcendence: Work Songs
ALBUM OF THE YEAR (PUBLIC VOTE)
Sponsored by Arqiva
Anderson .Paak - Malibu
Donny McCaslin - Beyond Now
Gregory Porter - Take Me To The Alley
Kurt Elling - The Beautiful Day
Madeleine Peyroux - Secular Hymns
The Rolling Stones - Blue & Lonesome
UK JAZZ ACT OF THE YEAR (PUBLIC VOTE)
Sponsored by Grange Hotels
LIVE EXPERIENCE OF THE YEAR (PUBLIC VOTE)
Ashley Henry Trio at Jazz Re:Fest, Royal Festival Hall
Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles at Glee Club Birmingham
Roberto Fonseca Trio at Gateshead International Jazz Festival, Sage Gateshead
Julian Arguelles with Frankfurt Radio Big Band, Django Bates & Steve Argüelles at Cheltenham Jazz Festival
Orphy Robinson All Stars – The Bobby Hutcherson Songbook at St James The Great, London
Wayne Shorter Quartet at EFG London Jazz Festival, Barbican
PPL LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Recipient: Georgie Fame
Recipient: Damien Chazelle