BMI jazz composers took home the lion’s share of the awards at the 11th annual Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards, held June 28 at the Jazz Standard Club in New York City.
The event’s top honoree was pianist Andrew Hill, who passed away on April 20 of this year. He received the Lifetime Achievement in Jazz, Composer of the Year and Pianist of the Year, with his widow, Joanne Robinson Hill, accepting the awards in his name. Marc Ostrow, President of Boosey & Hawkes and the publisher of Hill’s compositions, was present for the recognition. Hill wrote and recorded a number of extraordinary albums for Blue Note Records between 1963 and 1969 that are known for their challenging compositions and compelling improvisational energy. Some of the most noted musicians of the time participated, including Eric Dolphy, Joe Henderson and Freddie Hubbard, and critics consider the work amongst the best of the decade. Hill later became a teacher at Portland State University in Oregon, and returned triumphantly to the New York scene in the 1990s. His 2000 release, Dusk, was named Album of the Year by Down Beat and Jazz Times.
Other instrumental winners at the ceremony include the legendary Sonny Rollins for Tenor Saxophonist of the Year and multi-award winner Dave Douglas for Trumpeter of the Year. Dave Liebman was honored as Soprano Saxophonist of the Year, and Gary Smulyan as Baritone Saxophonist of the Year. Frank Wess won as Flutist of the Year, while Scott Robinson’s expertise on a multitude of reeds brought him the Player of the Year of Instruments Rare in Jazz award.
Other instrumental award-winners include celebrated BMI jazz composers: Pat Metheny for Guitarist of the Year; Dave Holland for Acoustic Bassist of the Year; Steve Swallow for Electric Bassist of the Year; Bobby Hutcherson for Mallets Player of the Year; Roy Haynes for Drummer of the Year; and Cyro Baptista for Percussionist of the Year.
Both of the vocalist awards went to BMI songwriters: Kurt Elling for Male Singer of the Year and Roberta Gambarini for Female Singer of the Year. The Large Ensemble of the Year was won by the Charles Tolliver Big Band, and the Latin Jazz Album of the Year by Brian Lynch & Eddie Palmieri’s Simpatico.
The work of celebrated BMI jazz masters was recognized in the reissue categories as well. The Single CD Reissue of the Year went to Charles Mingus’s Music Written for Monterey 1965 Not Heard: At UCLA 1965 and The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings of Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane.
Finally, one of the A Team Awards, which recognize extraordinary efforts by individuals in support of jazz, went to BMI composer Donald Harrison in his role as the artistic director of the New Orleans-based Tipitina’s Foundation.
The Jazz Journalists Association is a non-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing news and views of jazz to the general public. They sponsor panel discussions at festivals and conventions and organize workshops and mentoring programs. Information on the organization can be found at www.Jazzhouse.org in addition to their quarterly journal “Jazz Notes.”
A complete list of the BMI winners of the Jazz Journalists Association 2007 Jazz Awards follows:
Lifetime Achievement in Jazz
Composer of the Year
Pianist of the Year
Reissue of the Year, single CD
Charles Mingus, Music Written for Monterey 1965 Not Hear: At UCLA 1965
Reissue of the Year, boxed set
Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane, The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings
Male Singer of the Year
Female Singer of the Year
Latin Jazz Album of the Year
Brian Lynch & Eddie Palmieri: Simpatico
Large Ensemble of the Year:
Charles Tolliver Big Band
Trumpeter of the Year
Player of the Year of Instruments Rare in Jazz
Tenor Saxophonist of the Year
Soprano Saxophonist of the Year
Baritone Saxophonist of the Year
Flutist of the Year
Guitarist of the Year
Acoustic Bassist of the Year
Electric Bassist of the Year
Mallets Player of the Year
Percussionist of the Year
Drummer of the Year
For a complete list of the awards, consult www.Jazzhouse.org