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2015 JJA Jazz Awards Honor Musical Excellence Randy Weston Praised For Lifetime Achievement

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NEW YORK – The Jazz Journalists Association has announced winners of its 2015 JJA Jazz Awards for musical excellence in calendar year 2014 (see winners below), and released details about its annual public Jazz Awards party, at the Blue Note Jazz Club, 131 W. 3rd St., NYC, on June 16, from 3 pm to 5:30 pm. Tickets are available here.

The 19th annual JJA Jazz Awards celebrates Randy Weston, 89-year-old pianist, composer, lecturer, and Brooklyn-born Africanist with its top honor, the Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Award. Recording for six decades and still touring widely, Weston is a frequent presence at Jazz Foundation of America benefits and also played memorably with conguero Candido Camero at the JJA's Jazz Awards party in 2010. African Rhythms, Weston's autobiography written with JJA founding member Willard Jenkins, was nominated for the JJA's Book of the Year Award in 2011.

Piano jazz is a major focus of the 2015 Jazz Awards, as pianist Jason Moran, artistic director of jazz at the Kennedy Center, is cited as Musician of the Year, and pianists Kenny Barron, Chick Corea and composer-arranger-orchestra leader Arturo O'Farrill receive Awards in other categories. Besides being deemed Pianist of the Year, Kenny Barron with bassist Dave Holland wins the Duo or Trio of the Year Award, and their album The Art of Conversation (Impulse!) is Record of the Year.

Guitarist Mary Halvorson and vibraphonist Warren Wolf are first time winners of Jazz Awards, while Gregory Porter, Cecile McLorin Salvant Salvant, Pedrito Martinez, Nicole Mitchell, Christian McBride, Anat Cohen, Ambrose Akinmusire, Miguel Zenon, Brian Blade and Edmar Castañeda 99 are among the repeat honorees.

Winners of 2015 Jazz Awards for excellence in media categories will be announced at the Blue Note cocktail party with music by bassist-vocalist Mimi Jones' band, singer Antoinette Montague accompanied by keyboardist Dannie Mixon, and Fula Flute, the duo of Bailo Bah and Sylvain Leroux. Musician winners of 2015 JJA Jazz Awards and 2015 Jazz Heroes are invited to the Jazz Awards party at the Blue Note as guests of the JJA, but must reserve tickets.

Jazz Awards winners receive engraved statuettes, presented at their summer performances across the United States by JJA member writers, photographers, broadcasters and new media professionals. Jazz Awards winners are determined through open nominations and direct voting by members. The JJA Jazz Awards were established in 1996. Winners of all years and nominees for 2015 are searchable at the JJA website.

Major sponsors of the 19th annual JJA Jazz Awards include the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation, Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale, Mack Avenue, Motéma Music, ECM and Resonance Records, BMI and Berklee College of Music.

Lifetime Achievement in Jazz:
Randy Weston

Musician of the Year:
Jason Moran

Up and Coming Artist of the Year:
Cecile McLorin Salvant

Composer of the Year:
Wadada Leo Smith

Arranger of the Year:
Maria Schneider

Record of the Year:
The Art of Conversation (Impulse!)
Kenny Barron and Dave Holland

Historical Record of the Year:
Miles at the Fillmore (Columbia-Legacy)
Miles Davis Bootleg Series Vol. 3

Record Label/Platform of the Year:
Gregory Porter

Female Singer of the Year:
Cecile McLorin Salvant

Large Ensemble of the Year:
Arturo O'Farrill Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra

Midsize Ensemble of the Year:
Wayne Shorter Quartet

Trio or Duo of the Year:
Kenny Barron and Dave Holland

Trumpeter of the Year:
Ambrose Akinmusire

Trombonist of the Year:
Steve Turre

Multi-reeds Player of the Year:
Anat Cohen

Alto Saxophonist of the Year:
Miguel Zenon

Tenor Saxophonist of the Year:
Chris Potter

Baritone Saxophonist of the Year:
Gary Smulyan

Soprano Saxophonist of the Year:
Jane Ira Bloom

Flutist of the Year:
Nicole Mitchell

Clarinetist of the Year:
Anat Cohen

Guitarist of the Year:
Mary Halvorson

Pianist of the Year:
Kenny Barron

Keyboards player of the Year:
Chick Corea

Bassist of the Year:
Christian McBride

Violinist/Violist/Cellist of the Year:
Regina Carter

Percussionist of the Year:
Pedrito Martinez

Mallets Instrumentalist of the Year:
Warren Wolf

Traps Drummer of the Year:
Brian Blade

Player of Instruments Rare
in Jazz of the Year:
Edmar Castaneda, harp

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