Wayne Shorter to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at Jazz Music Awards: Full Nominations List

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Saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter is slated to receive a lifetime achievement award at the inaugural Jazz Music Awards, set for Oct. 22 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta.

Shorter, 88, came to prominence in the late 1950s as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. In the 1960s, he joined Miles Davis’ quintet and then co-founded the jazz fusion band Weather Report. Shorter, an 11-time Grammy winner, received a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy in 2015 and the Polar Music Prize in 2017.

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Six other honorary awards will be presented at the Jazz Music Awards, in addition to eight competitive awards.

The late pianist and composer McCoy Tyner, who died in 2020, will receive the Jazz Legend award. Modern jazz trumpeter and composer Ambrose Akinmusire will receive the Jazz Innovator Award; vocalist, composer, and educator Dr. Lenora Helm Hammonds, the Jazz Education Award; avant-garde saxophonist and woodwinds player and composer Henry Threadgill, the Jazz Composer Award; and veteran musician and educator James H. Patterson, the Jazz Impact Award.

The Baylor Project are the top nominees in competitive categories, with three nods for their album, Generations. The Baylor Project are four-time Grammy nominees.

Next in line with two nominations each are Orrin Evans, Kenny Garrett, Brian Culbertson, Christian McBride and Brandee Younger.

“We are honored to recognize and present a wide range of dynamic and innovative artists including our six award honorees and our 33 nominees,” Wendy F. Williams, creator and executive producer of the Jazz Music Awards, said in a statement. “We are officially the first and only awards show to exclusively celebrate jazz music on an international platform in North America…By recognizing our honorees and nominees, we are giving thanks for their incredible artistry that furthers the richness of the jazz tradition, which is integral to American music and culture.”

The Jazz Music Awards will feature live performances by Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ledisi, Lizz Wright and Jazzmeia Horn. Recording artist and composer Terri Lyne Carrington will serve as musical director and co-executive producer for the inaugural ceremony.

“The Jazz Music Awards is a necessary and important platform for the global jazz community,” Carrington said in a statement. “It’s vital that we spotlight and celebrate artists across all hybrids of jazz, many of whom have been overlooked or unsung throughout their careers.”

The eligibility period for the inaugural awards ran from April 1, 2021, through March 31, 2022. There are four nominees in most categories, but because of a tie, there are five nominees in the best duo, group or big band category. Also, the best international artist (contemporary or mainstream) category did not receive enough nominations to make the final ballot this year.

Tickets to the event, with its motto “Celebrating the Spirit of Jazz,” went on sale Monday. For updates on the awards ceremony, visit jazzmusicawards.com.

Here’s a complete list of nominees in the eight competitive categories:

Best Mainstream Artist
Joey DeFrancesco, More Music
Kenny Garrett, Sounds From The Ancestors
Christian McBride & Inside Straight, Live at the Village Vanguard
Brandee Younger, Somewhere Different

Best Contemporary Artist
Brian Bromberg, A Little Driving Music
Ben Tankard, SHINE!
Lindsey Webster, “I Didn’t Mean It”
Ragan Whiteside, “Off the Cuff”

Best Duo, Group, or Big Band
The Baylor Project, Generations
Jazzmeia Horn and Her Noble Force, Dear Love
Christian McBride & Inside Straight, Live at the Village Vanguard
Count Basie Orchestra, Live at Birdland
(under the direction of Scotty Barnhart)
Kevin Eubanks and Orrin Evans, EEE (Eubanks-Evans-Experience)

Best New Jazz Artist (Contemporary or Mainstream)
Simon Moullier, Countdown
Julieta Engenio, Jump
Kazemde George, I Insist
Samara Joy, Samara Joy

Best Vocal Performance
The Baylor Project, Generations
Somi Kakoma, Dreaming Zenzile
Stacey Kent, Songs From Other Places
Shawnn Monteiro, You Are There

Best Mainstream Album
The Baylor Project, Generations
Orrin Evans, The Magic of Now
Kenny Garrett, Sounds From The Ancestors
Brandee Younger, Somewhere Different

Best Contemporary Album
Bob Baldwin, The Stay at Home Series, Volume 1
Brian Culbertson, The Trilogy Red
Sonny Emory, Soul Ascension
Gabriel Mark Hasselbach, Tongue & Groove

Song of the Year (Fan Vote)
Norman Brown, “Back At Ya”
Brian Culbertson, “Feel the Love”
Justin-Lee Schultz, “Gruv Kid”
James “PJ” Spraggins, “Up From Here”

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