2010: The Year in Jazz
NEA Jazz Masters: The National Endowment for the Arts presented its 2010 NEA Jazz Masters Awards to musicians Muhal Richard Abrams, Kenny Barron, Bill Holman, Bobby Hutcherson, Yusef Lateef, Annie Ross and Cedar Walton. Jazz producer, manager, critic, and educator George Avakian received the 2010 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy.
Departing from its tradition for the first time in 29 years, the NEA will present one group award in addition to four individual recipients in 2011. The 2011 Jazz Masters will be Hubert Laws, Dave Liebman, Johnny Mandel, Orrin Keepnews and the Marsalis Family. Many have already commented over the year about the family recognition for what has generally been considered a lifetime achievement award. Ellis Marsalis qualifies for the latter; I'm less certain about sons Branford, Delfeayo, Jason and Wynton.
Monk Competition: Singer Cecile McLorin Salvant, a French-Haitian-American from Miami who is based in France, won the Thelonious Monk Competition for Jazz Vocals. Her award includes a $20,000 scholarship and a recording deal with Concord Music. The other finalists in the October competition were Charenee Wade and Cyrille Aimee.
Champion Award: Singer Tony Bennett and his wife, Susan Benedetto, were presented with The ASCAP Foundation Champion Award in December for their "for their longtime leadership in the effort to make arts education a priority in the nation's public schools." In 1999, the Bennetts founded Exploring the Arts, a nonprofit formed to strengthen the role of the arts in American public schools. The organization has grown from serving one New York City public high school in its early years to serving seven NYC public high schools in 2010. It also supports the NYC Department of Education's Summer Arts Institute and produces an educational video series, helping bring master artists into classrooms nationwide. In partnership with the New York City Department of Education, Susan and Tony also founded the public high school, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, which first opened in Bennett's hometown of Queens in 2001.
Essentially Ellington: Garfield High School in Seattle took top honors last May in Jazz at Lincoln Center's 15th annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival. Dillard Center for the Arts in Fort Lauderdale FL and Foxboro High School in Foxboro MA finished second and third respectively.
Eicher honored: ECM Records producer Manfred Eicher received a 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from DownBeat Magazine. The award was established in 1981 to recognize jazz pioneers, entrepreneurs and clarion callers who work tirelessly to connect jazz artists with audiences around the world.
Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros: Paris-based pianist Benoit Delbecq was awarded the
The Grammys: Jazz-related winners in the 2010 edition of The Grammy Awards included:
Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group: Five Peace Band Live (Concord), Chick Corea and John McLaughlin Five Peace Band ;
Best Contemporary Jazz Album: 75 (Heads Up), Joe Zawinul and The Zawinul Syndicate;
Best Jazz Vocal Album: Dedicated To You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman (Concord Jazz);
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: Book One (World Village), New Orleans Jazz Orchestra;
Best Latin Jazz AlbumVocal or Instrumental: Juntos Para Siempre, (Sony Music/Calle 54) , Bebo Valdes and Chucho Valdes;
Best Improvised Jazz Solo: "Dancin' 4 Chicken," Terence Blanchard, track from Watts (Dark Key Music), Jeff "Tain" Watts;