Inaugural Jazz Music Awards
By MARIA SHERMAN
AP Music Writer
LOS ANGELES — There are country award shows and hip-hop award ones, Latin Grammys and beyond — so why hasn`t there been a televised jazz music award show to look forward to every year?
That changes on Jan. 1 when the inaugural Jazz Music Awards hits PBS member station Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) at 7 p.m. Eastern for streamers everywhere. The show was previously recorded at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta in 2022.
Additionally, the Jazz Music Awards will be available to stream on PBS`s on demand service, PBS Passport.
The two-hour ceremony is hosted by Grammy- and Tony Award winner Dee Dee Bridgewater and celebrated stage and screen actor Delroy Lindo. Bridgewater is one of the show`s eight performers, which also includes Dianne Reeves, Kenny Garrett, Orrin Evans, Ledisi, Somi, Lizz Wright, Braxton Cook, Brandee Younger, Jazzmeia Horn, The Baylor Project, and Lindsey Webster.
“Jazz music, although this is the original music form that comes from the United States, has always been a kind of stepchild when it comes to award shows,” says Bridgewater.
She believes televising the Jazz Music Awards is an opportunity to highlight the genre, as well as become something people who may not know a lot about jazz __ as well as those who keep the music alive __ to join. “I hope it puts the music and art in the forefront in a way that will entice people to want to experience some live jazz.”
Many awards were given out during the ceremony, including a Lifetime Achievement Award to the late great Wayne Shorter.
The show also boasts of tributes to the recently deceased Ramsey Lewis, Pharoah Sanders, Joey DeFrancesco, and Jaimie Branch.
“Jazz is a great art form, but if you don’t know it, you don’t know it, right? So now we get to take it out to the masses of people who may not quite know it on a platform now that’s large enough,” says Wendy F. Williams, the founder and executive producer of the Jazz Music Awards.
“And I think that’s what’s always been missing. It’s like jazz stayed with the jazz people. So, let’s bring jazz for everyone.”
“One of our slogans is `jazz is the culture,” says music director Terri Lyne Carrington. For her, putting the show together meant celebrating all of the ways in which jazz has evolved __ and how it has laid the foundation for other musical genres.
“We try to have many of the styles within the genre represented to show that this is a living, breathing art form that can be historic and traditional, but in other ways, it can be modern and mixed with styles and popular today, like R&B and hip hop or rock,“ she says. “And I think we did that.”
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