Jazz FM Awards 2016 Winners
International Jazz Artist of the Year (Sponsored by Yamaha)
Kamasi Washington is a Los Angeles born jazz saxophonist and composer who’s pursued a musical career from a remarkably young age, forming his first Jazz band, ‘The Young Jazz Giants’ in his senior year of high school. Kamasi received a full scholarship to UCLA where he studied a plethora of non-western musical cultures from across the globe. After recording his first album with his high school band he went on to go on his first national tour with west coast hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg.
Continuing his trend of working with a musically diverse group of musicians including the likes of Flying Lotus, Herbie Hancock and Lauryn Hill, Kamasi has more recently worked on Kendrick Lamar’s acclaimed 2015 album “To Pimp A Butterfly.” In 2015, Kamasi released his groundbreaking solo album “The Epic.”
The album is a fantastic 172-minute, triple-disc masterpiece, featuring Kamasi’s ten-piece band “The Next Step” along with a full string orchestra and full choir. Kamasi composed 13 of the 17 tracks on the album and arranged and produced every single one solidifying his position near the head of the current Jazz world.
Jazz Innovation of the Year (Sponsored by Mishcon De Reya)
Christian Scott is a two-time Edison Award winning and Grammy Award nominated trumpeter, composer, producer and music executive. Christian’s Grammy nominated international recording debut, “Rewind” was called “arguably the most remarkable premiere the genre has seen in the last decade” by Billboard Magazine, earning Christian an inclusion in their list of “Ones to Watch in 2006.” Since 2002 Scott has released seven critically acclaimed studio recordings and two live albums, the most recent being the explorative album “Stretch Music”.
The album comes as an effort by Scott to ‘stretch’ jazz’s rhythmic, melodic and harmonic conventions to encompass as many musical forms, languages and cultures as he can. It is an attempt to demonstrate that Jazz should not be a rigid definition of a genre rather a term that is used to describe a form of music. Scott states that because his work is inherently jazz does not mean that it is exclusively jazz. The album itself is a blend of a clear variety of styles and genres that goes together to create something as new as it is exciting.
Instrumentalist of the Year
Mark Lockheart is one of the most distinctive and creative musicians on the current British music scene. As a saxophonist and composer, his work often defies categorisation and crosses the boundaries of the jazz, new music and folk worlds.
2013 saw the release of ‘Ellington In Anticipation’, Lockheart’s radical reworking of Ellington’s melodies with an all-star line-up, including the likes of Seb Rochford, James Allsop and Tom Herbert. The album was MOJO magazine’s ‘Jazz Album of 2013’ and was also nominated as ‘Best Jazz CD of 2013’ by the APPJC at the 2014 Parliamentary Awards.
Lockheart’s latest release, “The Day I had Everything”, comes as a collaboration between himself, Liam Noble and Jasper Høiby under the name ‘Malija’. Lockheart describes the album as “a reference to the sheer excitement one has as a child getting up in the morning and not being able to decide what to do first.” The album has an eclectic feel, bringing together several styles and influences that Lockheart attributes to his many years working and gigging among a wide variety of musicians in 80’s and 90’s London including African and reggae bands.
UK Jazz Act of the Year (Sponsored by Grange Hotels) & Breakthrough Act of the Year
Binker and Moses are tenor saxophonist Binker Golding and drummer Moses Boyd – two of the most exciting young jazz musicians on the thriving London jazz scene. Originally meeting through double bassist/educator Gary Crosby’s ‘Tomorrow’s Warriors’ jazz development programme, they have played together in various large and small format groups including recording and touring extensively as members of Zara McFarlane’s band.
Their debut album ‘Dem Ones’ has its roots in experiments between soundchecks and gigs while on the road with McFarlane. These initial ideas and jams have become templates for improvisation and with their echoes of late period Coltrane and Charles Lloyd, are as listenable and memorable as they are full of invention, passion and surprise. This album has certainly set them in place to be one of the most exciting new pairings of the year and has led to them being aptly rewarded with ‘Best Jazz Act’ at the MOBO Awards in October of 2015.
Soul Artist of the Year (Sponsored by RCS)
Jill Scott is an artist with an abiding, deep commitment to lyrical honesty and musical integrity. Simply put, if she feels it, she writes and sings it. While Scott uses vivid imageries and metaphor analogies her music is honest and touches on all the right emotions in true soul fashion. Her first album “Who is Jill Scott?” released in 2000 reached double platinum in the US and placed her among the great soul singers of her generation. Since then she has gone on to produce four more albums culminating in the release of her latest album “Woman” in July of last year, four years since the release of 2011’s “The Light of the Sun”.
“Woman” debuted at number one on both the US Billboard 200 and eventually topped the R&B Albums charts, showing that her voice is as important and relevant now as it was on her first album. Her voice strikes a chord with fans of soul whilst avoiding sounding retro by regularly making use of R&B and funk influences to ensure her music is fresh.
Live Experience of the Year
Rapper and actor Ice-T joined musical director and trumpeter Ron McCurdy and his quartet in a brilliant 21st century realisation of American icon Langston Hughes’ creative masterpiece, the epic twelve-part jazz poem “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz” at the Barbican in November of last year as part of the EFG London Festival. The Guardian called it “a raging, inspired revival that would make Langston Hughes proud”.
“The Langston Hughes Project” blends passionate spoken word and original soul, swing and gospel music composed by McCurdy with a vivid visual backdrop featuring the works of African American visual artists who Langston Hughes either admired or collaborated with. Honouring the poet was not the only objective for McCurdy and Ice T’s project. The projects secondary purpose was to highlight the fact that music had become “too segregated” from other art forms and was trying to blur the lines by creating a true multimedia performance with a clear social message.
Vocalist of the Year
Lauren Kinsella is a vocalist and composer based in London. She performs extensively throughout the UK, Ireland and more recently in Europe as a soloist, a bandleader and within collectives and interdisciplinary projects. Kinsella has won several awards including The Young Musicwide Award, The Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize and The Gershon Ellenbogen/Maccabaen Award. Born in Dublin, she spent time studying in Ireland, Switzerland and Sweden before attending The Royal Academy in London to complete a Masters degree in jazz.
Kinsella’s work is profoundly influenced by literature with several of her projects being directly inspired by the works of such great poets as W.B. Yeats and Ted Hughes. Her music also manages to weave poetry, periodic scatting and Irish folk influences. This decidedly literate jazz can be hailed as a unique pairing of classical literature with at times highly experimental and intriguing Jazz material that originates from Kinsella’s childhood experiences in her father’s second-hand bookstore in Dublin.
Digital Initiative of the Year (Sponsored by 7digital)
Jacob Collier is recognized as one of the world’s most distinctive, inventive and prodigious young musicians. Based in London, UK, Jacob has been inspired by many sounds – his music combines elements of Jazz, A cappella, Groove, Folk, Gospel and Soul which all blend together to create the world of “Jacob Collier.” Jacob has spent the last six months collaborating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, designing and building a ground-breaking solo live performance vehicle, which brings his one-man, multi-instrumental, multi-visual format of music to the stage through the use of technologies never seen or heard before in performance. Jacob recently debuted this show at the Montreux Jazz Festival, opening for Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea.
His new album titled ‘In My Room’, out on July 1st, recorded from the comforts of his room at home, takes full advantage of the technology afforded him in his new performance allowing Jacob to create seemingly endless layers of harmonies with none other than himself for company. Having already been a feature on ‘BBC’s Music Introducing’ Jacob’s talent has been recognised as a truly innovative style of performance by many of the current giants of the Jazz and wider musical world.
Album of the Year (Sponsored by Arqiva)
Hiatus Kaiyote: ‘Choose Your Weapon’
Melbourne based future soul outfit, Hiatus Kaiyote, have already been nominated for a 2014 Grammy for ‘Best R&B performance’ with the track “Nakamara” from their first album, Tawk Tomahawk, received another nomination for the same award with the song “Breathing Underwater” from their new album just missing out on both occasions. Hiatus Kaiyote return after a period of two years with their intriguing new neo-soul album “Choose Your Weapon”. The album brings together influences from many different genres including R&B, African funk and progressive rock into a jazz setting. It is unusual in that the mood of the album changes frequently, often surprising the listener with a change in rhythm. “Choose Your Weapon” is considered by the band to be a continuation of their first album with both ignoring the confines that categorising can have upon creativity. Therefore, both records have shed the restrictions that genre can have, allowing the group to create a remarkably refreshing album significantly moving the world of neo-soul forward into a new and exciting direction incorporating influences from countless different musical traditions and styles.
Blues Artist of the Year
Texas born guitarist Gary Clark has been compared to guitar icons like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and his energetic, impassioned and wild performances are a testament to this appraisal. Clark was selected by Eric Clapton to perform at the prestigious ‘Crossroads Guitar Festival’ in 2010 with only two self-produced albums to his name. This performance was to be a turning point in the already supremely talented guitarist’s career leading to a recording deal with Warner Bros.
Clark went on to release two more studio albums with Warner Bros. and saw success in the 2013 Austin Music Awards collecting eight awards including ‘Musician of the Year’, ‘Song of the year’ and ‘Album of the Year’ for “Blak and Blu”. On top of this, Clark won the award for ‘Best Traditional R&B Performance’ at the 2014 Grammy’s. Clark’s most recent album “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim” is a thoughtful and passionate amalgam of African-American music from past and present with blues playing one of the most crucial ingredient in the formula along with soul, R&B, funk and gospel. The album rocketed to the top of Billboard’s Top Blues Albums chart and saw Clark named as the Blues music awards ‘Male Artist of the Year’ in 2014 and 2015.
PPL Lifetime Achievement Awards
Quincy’s immense body of work spans six decades. Achievements include a record seventy-nine Grammy nominations, twenty-eight Grammy Awards, and the 1991 Grammy Legend Award. Jones also turned some of his attention to composing film scores, including music The Italian Job and The Colour Purple.
As a record producer he collaborated with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Ice T and Big Daddy Kane, fusing musical genres together in a way that had never been done before, particularly in his 1989 landmark album, ‘Back on The Block.’ Most notably, he was the producer for the best-selling record of all time, Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.’ To this day he continues to mentor the next generation, including current Jazz FM Award winner Jacob Collier.
As well as his many musical and cinematic achievements, Jones also spends his time as a dedicated Social Activist. His Quincy Jones Foundation promotes initiatives that help children across the world.
Speaking about his award Quincy quipped, “what can I say Jazz FM? I’m so moved… To be so young and receive an award like this it’s astounding; I’m only 83 man!”