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Estonian Jazz Awards Go to Jaak Sooaar and Erki Parnoja

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First Estonian jazz awards were handed out during International Jazzkaar Festival which is the largest jazz festival in Estonia and the whole Baltics. Elion Jazz Award was given to guitarist Jaak Sooaar, Young Jazz Talent Award went to guitarist Erki Parnoja.

In this April - or Month of Jazz - Estonian biggest telecommunications and IT company Elion, Estonian Jazz Union and Jazzkaar announced the first Estonian jazz awards. Laureates were announced and awards were given on April 27th at Russian Cultural Center just before the concert of world famous saxophonist Archie Shepp.

This year's Elion Jazz Award was given to Jaak Sooaar for the accomplishments made during the last three years. The purpose of the award is recognizing the active and original jazz musicians in Estonia and introducing them to wider audiences.

Since 2004, Jaak Sooaar has been the chairman of the board of Estonian Jazz Union. In the last years he has had about 70 public appearances per year. His most known international bands are The Dynamite Vikings, Erdmann/Sooaar Dessert Time and Innanen-Sooaar-Bennink. Sooaar has also composed and arranged a lot of music to the well-known Estonian folk band Eesti Keeled. He is also the chairman and a docent of the Jazz department at the Estonian Music and Theatre Academy. The Award jury consisted of jazz and concert organizers as well as music critics.

Young Jazz Talent Award went to Erki Parnoja. The Awards goal is primarily aimed at assessing the initiative and good level of young musicians and encouraging their undertakings. The jury mostly consisting of music pedagogues appreciated most of all Parnojas conspicuously open mind and professional attitude from the nine nominated candidates. Highly evaluated was also the laureates' goal to bring fresh new ideas and artists to Estonian stages and festivals in order to inspire young people who have not yet had the chance to go study abroad. Noted was also Parnoja's high musical level and creativity.

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