Jazz Awards, 2009-10

The Jazz Journalists Association held its 2010 awards bash at City Winery, a warm, spacious eatery (with an excellent wine list) in the SoHo section of New York this evening. Below are most of the winners, followed by the musicians for whom I cast my ballot. The awards covered the period from April 15, 2009, to April 15, 2010.

RECORD OF THE YEAR:
Winner: Joe Lovano, Folk Art.
My Pick: Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Infernal Machines. Lovano’s quintet album was excellent, but Argue’s debut approached the astonishing. (My choice in the first round of voting was Keith Jarrett’s Testament, but it didn’t make the cut-off of nominees.)
HISTORICAL RECORDING OF THE YEAR:
Winner: Ella Fitzgerald, Twelve Nights in Hollywood.
My Pick: Ditto. Nothing else came close.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN JAZZ:
Winner: James Moody.
My Pick: Paul Motian. Any of the nominees—Muhal Richard Abrams, Jimmy Heath, Wayne Shorter, Randy Weston, as well as Moody or Motian—would have been fine with me.
MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR:
Winner: Vijay Iyer.
My Pick: Joe Lovano. A strange one. Iyer’s a superb pianist, but, as you’ll see below, someone else won Best Pianist, and Lovano picked up not just Best Record but a bevy of other prizes. So go figure. Lovano was all over the map this year, blowing and composing at a career peak.
UP & COMING ARTIST OF THE YEAR:
Winner: Darcy James Argue.
My Pick: Ditto. See above.
COMPOSER OF THE YEAR:
Winner: Maria Schneider.
My Pick: Maria Schneider. She won Best Arranger, too, in my book and the Association’s.
LARGE ENSEMBLE OF THE YEAR:
Winner: Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society.
My Pick: Ditto. I would have picked Maria Schneider’s Jazz Orchestra (still the gold standard of modern big bands), but it put out no new albums this year. Schneider did compose a few things, though; hence my apparent inconsistency.
SMALL ENSEMBLE OF THE YEAR:
Winner: Joe Lovano’s Us Five.
My Pick: Ditto, though my first-ballot faves, Jason Moran’s Bandwagon and Fred Hersch’s Trio, weren’t among the final nominees.
TENOR SAXOPHONIST OF THE YEAR:
Winner: Joe Lovano.
My Pick: Joe Lovano. As I said, it’s been his year.
ALTO SAXOPHONIST OF THE YEAR:
Winner: Rudresh Mahanthappa.
My Pick: Rudresh Manhathappa. I would have picked Ornette Coleman, but he didn’t do much in the time span. RM has that rare thing: a truly original sound, and it cooks.
TRUMPETER OF THE YEAR:
Winner: Terence Blanchard.
My Pick: Dave Douglas, who to my mind is still the most versatile, lyrical, mind-bending one out there.
CLARINETIST OF THE YEAR:
Winner: Anat Cohen.
My Pick: I honestly can’t remember if I picked Cohen or Don Byron. Both are marvels.
TROMBONIST OF THE YEAR:
Winner: Roswell Rudd.
My Pick: Steve Davis.
PIANIST OF THE YEAR:
Winner: Kenny Barron.
My Pick: I forget whether I chose Keith Jarrett or Jason Moran, the former for Testament, the latter for his startling Monk tribute at Town Hall. Barron’s wonderful, too, but…
VIOLINIST OF THE YEAR:
Winner: Regina Carter.
My Pick: Jenny Scheinman.
BASSIST OF THE YEAR:
Winner: Dave Holland.
My Pick: Charlie Haden.
DRUMMER OF THE YEAR:
Winner: Paul Motian.
My Pick: Paul Motian. Mr. Magic.
PLAYER OF INSTRUMENTS RARE IN JAZZ:
Winner: Edmar Castaneda.
My Pick: Scott Robinson. I must say, though, I’m not familiar with Castaneda. Would his publicists care to enlighten me?

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Ben Cohen's picture

Hey Fred. My name is Ben Cohen and I work for Indaba Music. We're a free online music community with over 500,000 members that also has recording/mixing tools. We're currently running a remix contest of Jason Moran (we're pretty big Bangwagon fans) and after reading your blog I figured it might interest you and your readers to hear what new ideas people are coming up with in the jazz world. Check it out. Hope you like it. http://www.indabamusic.com/featured_programs/show/remix-jason-moranBen Cohenben@indabamusic.com

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