JJA Awards 2004 Brings Jazz Community Together at B.B. King's
Past winners of the Jazz Journalism Achievement Award have been Whitney Balliett, Stanley Dance, Nat Hentoff, Dan Morgenstern, Ira Gitler, and Gary Giddens. This year Gene Lees, of California, was the winner among nominees Bob Rusch, Francis Davis, Howard Mandel, and Stanley Crouch. Steve Schwartz (WGBH-FM, Boston) won the Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award for Excellence in Jazz Broadcasting this year. The other jazz broadcasters receiving top nomination status were Bob Parlocha (WFMT/Jazz Satellite Network), Leigh Kamman (Minnesota Public Radio), Linda Yohn (WEMU-FM) and Rhonda Hamilton (WBGO-FM). The best website concentrating on jazz was given to All About Jazz (Michael Ricci). The Best Book About Jazz Award went to Myself Among Others , by George Wein with Nate Chinen (Da Capo). Other books in the running for the award were Blue Note Records: The Biography, by Richard Cook (Pimlico); Cubano Be, Cubano Bop-One Hundred Years of Jazz in Cuba, by Leonard Acosta (Smithsonian Institute Press); I Put a Spell On You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone, by Nina Simone with Steven Cleary (Da Capo), and Jazz and Its Discontents, by Francis Davis (Da Capo). JazzTimes (Glenn Sabin) received The Best Periodical Covering Jazz.
The JJA "A" Team Award for advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors went to Arthur H. Barnes, R. Jarrett Lillien, Sandy Jackson, Bethany Bultman, Rudy Van Gelder, Les Paul, and Horace Silver. Most of them lined up on the stage for photos and accolades for their humanitarian work in the jazz community.
Lillien is currently the president of the Jazz Foundation of America (whose organization's Wendy Oxenhorn was associate producer of the JJA Awards along with Mandel). During the Awards, Lillien, president and chief operating officer of E*TRADE Financial, announced the drive to establish a Players' Residence in Harlem to house 40 needy senior jazz and blues musicians, a first in the history of jazz to honor such musicians.
"The need is great. Many elderly jazz musicians are living alone without the support of family," said Lillien. He said destitute musicians may be sidemen "who have played with Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Lionel Hampton, Theolonius Monk, Nina Simone and Dinah Washington.
"Many are living on miniscule Social Security payments and do not have pensions, saving or royalities to sustain them. Because of their limited income," said Lillien, "it is very difficult to pay rent. Some fall victim to poverty and become homeless. Since 2002, we have assisted 300 cases."
That's why, he said, that the Player's Residence in Harlem is so needed and will "be a major step forward when it is completed." He said the JFA needs individual, corporate and foundation support for this project. "I think the cause is worthy. My wife and I will donate the first 100 grand. I don't know where the other 9.9 million is going to come from."
(Contact for The Jazz Foundation of America is 212-245-5800, or Email: email@example.com )
Nancy J. Parisi