fri 24/05/2019

Jazz FM Awards 2019 - young guard triumphs | reviews, news & interviews

Jazz FM Awards 2019 - young guard triumphs

Jazz FM Awards 2019 - young guard triumphs

On International Jazz Day, Blue Note, Sons of Kemet, Nubya Garcia, Steam Down and more honoured at sixth edition of Awards

A brace of awards: South East London collective Steam DownPhoto courtesy of Jazz FM

Hosted by Jazz FM presenters Chris Philips and Jez Nelson, and taking place in the historic surroundings of Shoreditch Town Hall, this sixth edition of the Jazz FM Awards celebrated the dynamism, passion and vitality of the UK’s young jazz scene, with SEED Ensemble leader Cassie Kinoshi picking up Breakthrough Act of the Year, rising jazz singer Cherise Adams-Burnett receiving Vocalist of the Year, and the similarly youthful Poppy Ajudha proving a popular choice as Soul Artist of the Year.

Adams-Burnett’s touching duet with Blues Artist of the Year winner, US singer-songwriter Eric Bibb, opened the ceremony, a beautifully understated take on Bibb’s “Connected” from his 2004 album, Friends.

An especially memorable night for South East London collective, Steam Down, saw them pick up both the Innovation Award and Live Experience of the Year Award for their residency featuring US saxist, composer, producer and bandleader, Kamasi Washington.

A recipient of Instrumentalist of the Year in 2015, UK Jazz Act of the Year in 2017, and winner of Jazz Innovation of the Year in 2018, sax player, bandleader and composer Shabaka Hutchings must surely have a permanent spot reserved at the Awards by now, trousering yet another gong as leader of Sons of Kemet who won Album of the Year for Your Queen Is A Reptile.

Two-time Grammy-winner and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier received the PRS For Music Gold Award. In a congratulatory video message, Collier’s mentor Quincy Jones said: “I couldn’t be more proud of all that you’ve accomplished at your age brother. I have socks older than you!” Stripping his customary multilayeredness back to grand piano basics, Collier dusted down “Make Me Cry” from this year’s Djesse (Vol. 2).

Having worked with everyone from Abdullah Ibrahim and McCoy Tyner to Cedar Walton and, most famously, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, the composer, sax player, bandleader and educator Jean Toussaint proved a deservedly popular winner of Instrumentalist of the Year, while LA's Louis Cole – drummer, composer, producer and one half of alt pop/jazz-funk duo, Knower – won the Digital Award.

The loudest cheer of the night by a country mile was reserved for Janine Irons and Gary Crosby, the couple behind Tomorrow’s Warriors, the development agency, producer, music educator and consultancy which – for almost three decades – has helped nurture aspiring young jazz artists in their early careers. Presenting the Live Experience Award, Irons revealed the remarkable fact that, of the 39 nominees, 19 were Warriors alumni.

In an emotional tribute to the late Aretha Franklin, Beverley Knight's soul-stirring version of “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman” was a highlight. Fresh from winning Breakthrough Act of the Year in 2018, London-based saxist and composer Nubya Garcia scooped UK Jazz Act of the Year, marking her quite astonishing ascent.

Don Was and the iconic Blue Note Records collected the final award of the night, the prestigious PPL Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of the label’s unparalleled contribution to recorded jazz over the past 80 years. Was, the US musician, record producer and Blue Note President since 2012, said: “I first got hip to Blue Note Records in 1966 – I was 14 years old. I thought the records were visionary, cool and intelligent. They helped me stay in touch with my hopes and my dreams, and they could turn negative vibrations into positive ones. And when they couldn’t, they could help me groove in the face of adversity.”

The Awards came to a close in the most fitting way imaginable with a blazing performance from Steam Down, joined on stage by International Jazz Act of the Year winner, Chicago-based drummer and bandleader Makaya McCraven. Guests taking to the floor, a first for the Awards, was a heart-warming sight.

The full list of winners:

Breakthrough Act of the Year: Cassie Kinoshi
The Digital Award: Louis Cole
The Innovation Award: Steam Down
Instrumentalist of the Year: Jean Toussaint
International Jazz Act of the Year: Makaya McCraven
Soul Act of the Year: Poppy Ajudha
Blues Act of the Year: Eric Bibb
Vocalist of the Year: Cherise Adams-Burnett
UK Jazz Act of the Year (public vote): Nubya Garcia
Album of the Year (public vote): Sons Of Kemet, Your Queen Is A Reptile
Live Experience of the Year (public vote): Steam Down featuring Kamasi Washington
PRS for Music Gold Award: Jacob Collier
PPL Lifetime Achievement Award: Don Was and Blue Note Records

@MrPeterQuinn

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters