Many types of music have their very own distinctive awards reveals: rock ’n’ roll, soul, R&B and pop. One exception is jazz, a type of music that’s uniquely American and Southern. With regards to awards reveals, nonetheless, jazz is both ignored or relegated to the non-televised portion of the present.
That may change Saturday when the Jazz Music Awards present debuts on the Cobb Power Performing Arts Centre. The ceremony will characteristic a powerful line-up of artists scheduled to carry out: Dianne Reeves, Jazzmeia Horn, Kenny Garrett, Ledisi and a bunch of others. Garrett and pianist Orrin Evans pays tribute to McCoy Tyner, who will obtain the inaugural Jazz Legend Award.
Tony Award-winning artist Dee Dee Bridgewater and actor Delroy Lindo will function hosts.
The occasion is the brainchild of Wendy Williams, the overall supervisor of the Clark Faculty jazz station WCLK-FM. Williams sat down with ArtsATL to debate the upcoming awards present, what motivated her to pursue the thought and her hopes for its future.
ArtsATL: What impressed you to create the Jazz Music Awards?
Wendy Williams: It was a lofty thought, to see jazz musicians honored on stage like different award reveals. I watch all of the award reveals, the Grammys, the Tonys, the reveals for hip hop and nation music; I really like the fanfare of all of it. The artists know there will probably be an exquisite occasion the place they will all collect and have fun their style. As a public radio government for 28 years right here in Atlanta, and earlier than that in Baltimore, these two issues have been resonating in my spirit, and I didn’t see that for jazz.
I had instituted a jazz legacy award at our station about 15 years in the past. We’d honor the musicians at an annual profit: Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Freddy Cole. We additionally honored the Excessive Museum of Artwork, which has visibly contributed to jazz, to furthering the style. They’d been our companion for fairly a while, for 10 years sponsoring our Friday jazz programming. We wished to acknowledge people serving to to push jazz ahead, elevate it, and hold it on the market.
ArtsATL: How did you progress it from a “lofty thought” to an precise awards program?
Williams: It nonetheless wasn’t taking place in 2020, after which there was that lengthy pause with Covid. I spotted how considerably impacted the musicians and venues have been all around the globe, a deafening silence. After we got here again to work, I started speaking about it to Dave Linton, our program director, and he launched me to Rushion McDonald, the producer behind the Neighborhood Awards and Steve Harvey’s early success. We requested Rushion if he wished to work with us and he stated sure.
We started to map out a technique in February 2021, together with a variety of the preliminary groundwork, like trademark searches, progressing little by little. We introduced on our chief jazz awards advisor, Gwendolyn Quinn, a public relations skilled who helped us give you an utility and music submission system. Over the following yr we obtained 327 submissions from all around the globe for eight aggressive classes: greatest mainstream artist; greatest up to date artist; greatest duo, group, or massive band; greatest new jazz artist; greatest vocal efficiency; greatest mainstream album; greatest up to date album; and music of the yr. That was the primary actually good signal that we have been heading in the right direction, all these submissions.
ArtsATL: How did you get the phrase out to all these musicians?
Williams: Our assistant station supervisor, Eugenia Ricks, reached out to the (report) labels. Arts and leisure author Ray Cornelius had press releases going out to Billboard and different music media. James Locklin, WCLK’s company gross sales director, and Shed Jackson, our world advertising chief, have been on the group, then we added three-time Grammy winner Terri Lyne Carrington as our musical director. That rounded out the core group. We’ve had group conferences not less than twice per week for the reason that unique group met in February 2021.
ArtsATL: I perceive you’re preserving the names of the awards winners beneath wraps till the night of the present. However are you able to inform us how they have been chosen?
Williams: We needed to give you a voting platform. They needed to be musicians, composers, educators, radio folks, journal journalists. However not the report labels; we didn’t need them pushing their folks. We wound up with 28 judges and by June 30, we had our nominees for the eight aggressive classes. For the second spherical, a totally completely different panel of a few dozen judges was given the names of the nominees and the music choices they’d submitted, they usually selected the winners. And for our awards of distinction we had six judges, additionally famous students and creators. Our unique group chosen McCoy Tyner to obtain the Jazz Legend Award.
ArtsATL: You’ve put collectively fairly a star-studded solid of performers beneath the route of Carrington for the present: Dianne Reeves, Kenny Garrett, Ledisi, Lindsey Webster, Brian Bromberg, Jazzmeia Horn, hosted by Dee Dee Bridgewater and Delroy Lindo, a gap by The Baylor Venture and shutting by Lizz Wright. And extra.
Williams: Sure, we would like this to be often known as not simply an awards program, however a live performance with awards.
ArtsATL: How has the general public responded?
Williams: Reception has been gradual. Perhaps folks don’t perceive what a jazz awards present is, what we’re doing, a live performance with awards. It was powerful getting sponsors, popping out of Covid they usually didn’t fairly know what they have been getting, the most important night time for jazz in relation to celebrating the style. We’ve to undergo the launch and have the present occur, then contact each nook, each native, regional, nationwide, and world jazz musician with a mission worthy of submitting. And to herald different creators and students as judges. Clark College shares that imaginative and prescient.
ArtsATL: What’s the plan for after October 22, that’s, the way forward for the Jazz Music Awards?
Williams: We need to construct on the success of this present. You will notice 9 nice performances by artists on the prime of the jazz charts, a most important stage, public present of musicians who’ve been satisfying audiences and performing in entrance of lots of of 1000’s of individuals and at the moment are right here on our stage, performing and being honored.
Our function is to raise the artwork to be acknowledged like different artwork types. Jazz is America’s artwork and there was no award ceremony for our style. Our hope is to raise the Jazz Music Awards to the standing of a TV broadcast like the opposite main award reveals.
Mike Shaw is a jazz pianist who has carried out for many years in New Orleans and Atlanta. He’s the creator of the novel The Musician. He’s the founding father of Shade Communications, a advertising firm.