Jazz composer Jose Bevia has been named the winner of the 8th annual BMI Foundation Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize for his piece, “Irony is Needed.” The prize, a $3,000 commission, was awarded July 19 during the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop’s annual showcase concert, held at Christ and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. The sixth annual commission is named in honor of the workshop’s late co-founder Manny Albam, and calls for the winner to write a new work to premiere at next year’s showcase. Last year’s winner, Asuka Kakitani, premiered her commissioned piece, “Bloom,” at this year’s event
“Irony is Needed” was chosen from three other nominated works created by composers who participated in this year’s BMI Jazz Composer Workshop. The judges for the competition included Dan Morgenstern, a jazz historian and director of the Institute for Jazz Studies at Rutgers University; Brian Lynch, respected bandleader, trumpeter, jazz educator, composer and arranger; and Rufus Reid, an accomplished bassist and composer who is a past winner of the Charlie Parker Jazz Prize.
The BMI Jazz Composers workshop, now in its second decade, provides an environment where composers have the freedom to explore new avenues in the creative process, while honing and solidifying their skills. The workshop, led by composer/educators Jim McNeely and Michael Abene, offers participating members the opportunity to hear their work played in monthly reading sessions with the BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra, a 16-piece modern jazz ensemble.