Celebrating jazz excellence — Awards, honors and privileges

The NEA zeroes out its Jazz Masters program, the Grammys cuts categories so pop best-sellers regain prominence vis a vis less obviously commercial stars, but the Jazz Journalists Association's 15th annual Jazz Awards -- to be held June 11, 2011 with an afternoon gala with all star music at City Winery, NYC, satellite parties hosted by prominent fans and grass roots organizations around the U.S. and streaming live video on the web at www.JJAJazzAwards.org -- hails loud and clear the achievements of the jazz music and media makers. … [Read more...]

South African jazz hero Zim Nqgawana dies, age 52

Neil Tesser has written an informative post about Zim Ngqawana, the South African jazz musician who died at age 52 of a stroke May 10. Ngqawana, whose name is pronounced with a glottal "click" between the "N" and first "a," performed at the 2007 Columbia/Harlem Festival of Global Jazz," curated by George E. Lewis of Columbia University's Center for Jazz Studies, Nqgawana, with his quartet, in that concert struck me as a powerful and original saxophonist and flutist, improvising with a heightened lyricism no doubt inspired by John … [Read more...]

Journalist, yes. “Jazz” journalist — why?

Hank Shteamer, writer-on-music at Time Out New York and blogger at Dark Forces Swing Blind Punches, writes "I am not a jazz journalist" in response to "The State of Jazz Journalism Now and Immediate Prospects" town hall meeting at the Jazz Journalists Association's "New Media for New Jazz" conference yesterday (Jan 8). He doesn't deny that he loves jazz and writes about it, but considers putting the title off an insistence for diversity. I'm president of the JJA and a jazz journalist -- among other things. My response to him follows; not … [Read more...]

Do you jazz? Yes, eyeJAZZ!


A quick glimpse of a jazz club, a chat with fans going into or leaving the show, a word with a musician coming offstage or maybe at practice -- these bits of real life can be captured today in high quality video and audio equipment that's readily at hand -- mobile phones and HD pocket camcorders will do. With its … [Read more...]

Jazz conventions, conferences, celebrations, memorial Jan 6 – 11

The jazz world convenes in two U.S. cities this weekend, as high school and college bands + directors gather at the JEN Conference in New Orleans, jazz presenters focus themselves at the APAP convention in New York City and jazz journalists get together on topics vital to better and continued music coverage at the JJA's "New Media for New Jazz" conference, in APAP-provided spaces at the Sheraton New York, Jan 7 - 11. Concurrently, 60 new jazz ensembles  showcase in five NYC Greenwich Village clubs for Winter Jazzfest, the NEA … [Read more...]

Mike Zwerin, jazz journalist, musician, bon vivant dies at 79

A trombonist in Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool band, memoirist whose The Parisian Jazz Chronicles set a standard for wit and candor in self-examination, and writer for the International Herald Tribune and Bloomberg News, Mike Zwerin died April 2 in Paris, where he'd lived since 1969. Recipient in 2009 of the Jazz Journalists Association's Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism Award, Mike was an inspiration ever since I read his reports from the jazz scene in the Village Voice in the 1960s, and I'm glad to say I got to … [Read more...]

Jazz journalists confer with APAP, NEA

The Jazz Journalists Association's five days of programming in coordination with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference and Nat'l Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters events was a raging success on several fronts. Activities included the educational, informational, musical, productive and social. Overall, the JJA conference counted approximately 100 participants. … [Read more...]

Arts Presenters meet Jazz Journalists

The Jazz Journalists Association has scheduled a multi-faceted professional conference for Jan 8 - 12 in NYC, concurrent with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters annual conference (which is producing a Special Focus on Jazz), the two-night multi-venue Winter Jazzfest, one-night but multi-stage globalFEST, and the Nat'l Endowment of the Arts's presentation of 2010's Jazz Masters. It's the first time the JJA (of which I'm president) has worked in conjunction with APAP and the NEA to bring the people who disseminate music news … [Read more...]

Jazz best lists of 2009

Chicago Trib cultural critic Julia Keller decries year-end "best of" lists for their "chilly, retrospective nature,"for  their by-definition 12-month perspectives trumping spontaneous enthusiasm, and for their reinforcement of consensus. Nonsense. Here are three opportunities to see what jazz critics are recommending as 2009's hot recordings, and there's some consistency, but most of the choices are highly individualistic and certainly reflect musical currents of right now --  … [Read more...]

Jazz journalism and the NAJP’s arts journalism summit

The Jazz Journalists Association, of which I'm president, has hope to produce a nationwide conference on media transitions and how currently active professionals cope with them. Today's National Arts Journalism Program's summit raises many of the issues and even more questions that challenge my colleagues and I. So I'm going to do some live blogging here, posting a succession of comments while in the lecture hall of Columbia U's j-school with about a dozen other journalists, watching the summit taking place at the USC Annenberg Center in LA. … [Read more...]

Les Paul’s tongue

In 2004, photog Gene Martin asked the guitarist/inventor who'd just received the Jazz Journalists Association's "A Team" award for activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz, to pose for a portrait. . . … [Read more...]

Zx1 pocket camera stars at 2009 Jazz Awards!

I love My Youtube! -- now hosting video clips from my handy new Kodak go-anywhere device of jazz celebs, players and presenters at the Jazz Journalists Association's 13th annual Jazz Awards party at the Jazz Standard (NYC) June 16, shot by debuting cinematographer R. Mandel.Brief bits of Hank Jones, the Charles Tolliver Big Band, Jane Bunnett's Spirits of Havana, flutist Frank Wess, trombonist Roswell Rudd, Blue Note's Bruce Lundvall, singers Mark Murphy and Kurt Elling. A worthy Jazz Foundation pitch and SESAC toasts all the … [Read more...]

Happy and sad news updates

Jazz Beyond Jazz was named Blog of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association at the Jazz Awards on Tuesday -- and Tina Marsh, driving force of Austin creative music, died that day, too.I'm immersed in follow-up on both these and related issues, but details and new posts are guaranteed. As 91-year-old Hank Jones said upon receiving the JJA's award as Pianist of the Year, "This Award is an incentive to do better ." howardmandel.com Subscribe by Email | Subscribe by RSS | Follow on Twitter All JBJ posts | … [Read more...]