The BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, a noted creative forum for musical exploration and development, highlighted the best new jazz compositions created during the last year at its 23rd Anniversary Summer Showcase Concert on July 1 at Christ & St. Stephen’s Church. The concert featured the BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra, a 17-piece modern repertory ensemble made up of leading New York musicians.
The evening also featured a competition to choose the winner of the BMI Foundation’s 12th annual Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize, given to the writer of the best new work composed in the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop. Composer Jim Saltzman won the competition for his song “Road To Zion,” and received the $3,000 Manny Albam Commission to compose a new piece for the following year’s concert. Last year’s Manny Albam Commission winner, Nathan Smith, premiered his commissioned works, “Interstellar Radiation Field,” “Dark Matter,” and “Carrington Super Flare.” The Commission is named in memory of the Workshop’s co-founder and longtime musical director.
This year’s judges include noted jazz authority Dan Morgenstern; composer-arranger and saxophonist Bill Kirchner; and Grammy-nominated composer-arranger and jazz trombonist Pete McGuinness.
Read about BMI’s rich jazz history.
The BMI Jazz Composers Workshop is led by internationally renowned composer Jim McNeely and offers a unique collaborative environment for professional jazz musicians to compose for large jazz (big band) ensembles. A six-time Grammy Award nominee, McNeely has performed with and written for Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Joe Henderson and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, among others; The New York Times has called his writing “exhilarating.”