The winners of the 18th edition of the prestigious Jazz Journalists Association Awards were announced yesterday. Wayne Shorter and Maria Schneider were undoubtedly the stars of the JJA Awards 2014, winning in three categories, while Joe Lovano and Cecile McLorin Salvant both won in two categories.
Star saxophone player Wayne Shorter was awarded three JJA Awards. He ranked first as ‘Musician of the Year’, category that included a stellar list of nominees: Gregory Porter, Wadada Leo Smith, Craig Taborn, Dave Douglas and Matt Wilson. Shorter, hailed as “probably jazz’s greatest living small-group composer and contender for greatest living improviser” by jazz critic Ben Ratliff, triumphed as ‘Midsize Ensemble of the Year’ along with his Wayne Shorter Quartet. The band also came away with another important prize: JJA Award for ‘Record of the Year’. At the beginning of the year, their album Without a Net, released by Blue Note, led Wayne Shorter to a Grammy Award – with the song Orbits – in the ‘Best Improvised Jazz Solo’ category.
After the success at the 2014 Grammy Awards, composer and big band leader Maria Schneider continues to impress with three JJA Awards. For her work in Winter Morning Walks, record that that won three Grammys, she was awarded the Jazz Journalists Association Awards as ‘Arranger of the Year’, ‘Composer of the Year’ (for the second year in a row) – defeating nominees Wayne Shorter and Darcy James Argue – and ‘Large Ensemble of the Year’ with her Maria Schneider Orchestra.
Post bop jazz maestro Joe Lovano and singer Cécile McLorin Salvant were also in the spotlight, coming away with two JJA Awards each. The list of Lovano’s incredible achievements got longer with the prize as ‘Multi-reeds Player of the Year’ and ‘Tenor Saxophonist of the Year’. After the ‘Best Jazz Vocal Album’ Grammy nomination for WomanChild, French-American rising star Cécile McLorin Salvant won her first JJA award. And if the victory in the ‘Up and Coming Artist of the Year’ category wasn’t enough, the talented McLorin Salvant also triumphed as ‘Female Singer of the Year’.
Gregory Porter and ECM respectively won as ‘Male Singer of the Year’ and ‘Record Label of the Year’ for the second straight year, while the iconic Herbie Hancock was awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement in Jazz’, a much-deserved recognition of his contribution to jazz both as performer and musical ambassador.
Miles Live in Europe 1969 (Columbia Legacy) was voted ‘Historical Record of the Year’ and music friends Randy Weston & Billy Harper received a JJA award as ‘Duo of the Year’. Instrumentalists Gary Smulyan (‘Baritone Saxophonist of the Year’), Nicole Mitchell (‘Flutist of the Year’), Anat Cohen (‘Clarinetist of the Year’), Bill Frisell (‘Guitarist of the Year’), Dr. Lonnie Smith (‘Keyboards Player of the Year’), Christian McBride (‘Bassist of the Year’) and Regina Carter (‘Violinist/Violist/Cellist of the Year’) all triumphed in the same categories in which they were victorious last year.
The complete list of winners and nominees of the 2014 JJA Awards can be found here.