The recipients of the 2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awards were announced last night on Tuesday 10 May. The Awards, organised by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG), are considered Britain’s premier ceremony for the UK jazz community.
Featuring a broad array of jazz talent from within the industry, the awards are sponsored by Peroni with the support of PizzaExpress Live. During the ceremony, award presenters comprised of British politician’s and home-grown UK jazz talent including Jon Newy, Editor in Chief of Jazzwise,Gary Crosby, Zara McFarlane, Kelvin Hopkins MP., Lord Anthony Colwyn, Sarah Champion MP and Baroness Coussins. Compére for the evening was Ross Dines of PizzaExpress Live, “This has been a really strong year for the Parliamentary Jazz Awards in terms of talent and nominations. The well deserved recipients are a veritable who’s who of names that have made a real impact on the music and helped make the UK one of the world’s leading jazz territories”. A big hand to the Parliamentary Band on the evening; Max Brittain , Alison Rayner, Henry Lowther, Camilla George and Cheryl Alleyne.
The full list of recipients is as follows:
Jazz Vocalist of the Year: Cleveland Watkiss
Internationally renowned vocalist won the London Jazz Award for Best Vocalist in 2010, and was voted Wire/Guardian Jazz Awards best vocalist for three consecutive years.
Watkiss was born in Hackney, East London, to Jamaican parents. Watkiss was one of the co-founders of the vastly influential Jazz Warriors big band. His vocals can be heard on their debut album, Out of Many People.
Watkiss has performed with a diverse range of artists from around the world, including: The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, Bob Dylan, Art Blakey, Abdullah Ibrahim, Stevie Wonder, Keith Richards, the James Taylor Quartet, Sly & Robbie, Nigel Kennedy, Robbie Williams, Joe Cocker, The Who, George Martin, Julian Joseph, the London Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Orchestra, Cassandra Wilson, and the London Community Gospel Choir. More recently, demonstrating great versatility, Cleveland was cast as the starring role in Julian Joseph’s, two groundbreaking jazz operas, Bridgetower and Shadowball, to considerable acclaim.
In June last year he performed with vibraphonist Orphy Robinson at Freedom: The Art of Improvisation Festival at The Vortex, performing their project Duke Joint. Also with a project London-Chicago Vibration in Nov’ at the London Jazz Festival, a 50th anniversary tribute to the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) led by multi-percussionist Orphy Robinson and an all-star band of UK-based improvisers including legendary drummer Louis Moholovibist Corey Mwamba and saxophonist Jason Yarde
Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year: Shabaka Hutchings
Shabaka Hutchings was born in 1984 in London. He moved to Barbados at the age of six, began studying classical clarinet aged nine, graduating to tenor saxophone which has been a regular sight across London and the UK since his return aged sixteen.
As part of the Caribbean diaspora, he sees his role as that of pushing the boundaries of what musical elements are considered to be Caribbean. Constantly evaluating the nature of his relationship with musical material and tradition.
Hutchings has three primary projects – Shabaka and the Ancestors, Sons of Kemet and Comet is Coming. Between them, Hutchings has gathered a substantial number of awards and nominations, including winning the 2013 MOBO ‘Jazz Act of the Year’, winner of the 2014 Paul Hamlyn Composer Award, 2015 Jazz FM Awards ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’, 2016 Mercury Music Prize nomination, 2017 Jazz FM Awards ‘UK Jazz Act of the Year’.
Shabaka continues to sit outside the box, interested in the indefinable gaps and going beyond jazz. To date, Hutchings has released to critical acclaim 4 studio albums and 2 EPs, alongside featuring on several other albums with highly respected artists. New albums expected in 2018.
Jazz Album of the Year: Dinosaur – “Together As One”
Dinosaur is one of the most vital and creative new instrumental bands in Europe. Shortlisted for the 2017 Hyundai Mercury Prize for their ‘masterful Jazz album’, ‘Together, As One’, the vibrant ensemble, led by trumpeter and 2015-2017 BBC New Generation Artist, Laura Jurd, has risen to widespread prominence garnering huge acclaim and attention from the world’s media.
Praised for their idiosyncratic blend of styles – taking sounds from folk, rock, minimalism and contemporary art music, ’Together, As One’ was described by All About Jazz ‘as one of the best debut albums for years’. With a rare 5 star review from The Guardian as well as numerous top 10 mentions in the end of 2016 best album polls, the band consequently appeared throughout 2017 at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals including North Sea Jazz, Montreal Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, Molde International Jazz Festival and Open Jazz in Stuttgart.
Jazz Ensemble of the Year: Phronesis
With the critically acclaimed release of their sixth album ‘Parallax’ in 2016 (recorded at Abbey Road studios, London) and a reputation for spell-binding, roller-coaster live performances, twice MOBO-Award nominated Anglo-Scandinavian trio Phronesis have captured the hearts and minds of audiences worldwide.
Formed in London in 2005, the trio have performed widely across the European club circuit and taken their engaging grooves, irresistible rhythmic energy and breathtaking group interplay to concert stages and festivals across the world from Morocco to Brazil (where they played on the opening day of the Olympics in Rio) and Australia to North America, (where the trio returned for the fourth time in the summer of 2017 for a tour of seven jazz festivals).
In March 2017 Phronesis released their seventh album, ‘The Behemoth’, recorded in Germany with the hr Frankfurt Radio Big Band – a special commissioned project to celebrate the band’s tenth anniversary, for which composer/arranger Julian Argüelles created innovative big band arrangements of the trio’s compositions drawn from their entire back catalogue. These arrangements have been performed in the UK, Germany and at North Sea Jazz Festival 2017.
Jazz Newcomer of the Year: Nerija
Recently nominated for Jazz FM Breakthrough Act of the Year 2016, Nérija are a collective of up-and-coming, London-based musicians playing exciting and original music inspired by Jazz, Hip Hop and Afrobeat. Together they have toured across Europe and the UK in addition to performing alongside top UK jazz musicians such as Nathaniel Facey of Empirical and pianist Zoe Rahman. Last year saw the ensemble release their self-titled debut EP with performances at the Barbican Centre supporting Ernest Ranglin and Cadogan Hall supporting renowned US jazz artists Gerri Allen and Terri Lyn Carrington for EFG London Jazz Festival 2016.
Nérija currently working towards releasing a collaborative album for release in 2018
Jazz Venue of the Year: Scarborough Jazz Festival.
Mike Gordon is the Director of Scarborough Jazz Festival. Before retirement he was Head of North Yorkshire’s Special Education Support Services and then Executive Secretary of the National Association for Special Educational Needs. He has also been promoter of Scarborough Jazz club on 50 nights a year for 34 years and is the original resident pianist. He describes himself as a jazz player of modest attainments – but getting better!
2017 is Scarborough Jazz Festival’s fifteenth year. Audience numbers have grown over the years and analysis of the detailed evaluation returns – which the organisers take very seriously as a guide to improving all aspects of the event –have consistently indicated that 98% of the audience rated the quality and variety of the acts and artists as excellent or good.
The festival aims to have well-established performers, chosen because their jazz is continually developing, alongside younger bands with a diversity of musical agendas. Regular attenders know they can expect a mixture of the accessible and the challenging. The weekend event is held in the wonderful Victorian Spa Grand Hall which looks out over the beach and sea towards Scarborough Castle. ‘Our very own North Sea Jazz Festival’ says Jazzwise.
Jazz Media Award: Chris Philips
Chris Philips has been a steady name on the London airways for over 30 years. He co-ran the first ever Jazz station in the UK, a pirate station called K-Jazz, in 1985. He’s a Jazz FM original from launch in 1990 where he was the very first afternoon show host, subsequently co-hosting the night time new music show Somethin’ Else. The first event Chris ever hosted was the small matter of Ella Fitzgerald and The Count Basie Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, twice!
After a long fifteen year stint at dance music station Kiss 100 Chris rejoined the relaunched digital Jazz FM where he is morning show host as well as Head Of Music. He also presents his acclaimed show The Blueprint, the continuation of a lifelong no-punches-pulled enthusiastic foray into new jazz, talking with some of the most creative music spirits from around the globe.
He’s a champion of the underdog, something underlined by his life-long support for Wimbledon FC, and founder membership of AFC Wimbledon. For these though, most importantly, he stakes a claim to be the only football stadium host to have ever played all fifteen minutes of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Chameleon’ during a pre-match warm up!
Jazz Education Award: Tomorrows Warriors
Founded and led by Artistic Director and double bassist, Gary Crosby OBE and Managing Director, Janine Irons MBE, Tomorrow’s Warriors is a hothouse for young jazz talent offering a fantastic development platform for hundreds of young people each year to advance their musical knowledge and skills.
Each week Tomorrow’s Warriors’ core programmes benefit around 170 young people aged 11-25 enrolled on their Young Artist and Emerging Artist Development Programmes hosted at Southbank Centre, London where Tomorrow’s Warriors is resident, and over the past 25 years, they have been particularly successful in creating pathways for significant numbers of young musicians from diverse backgrounds to progress to Centres of Advanced Training and, thereafter, into sustainable professional careers. Tomorrow’s Warriors has a growing music leader faculty of which it is immensely proud. Most are former Warriors, and all successful jazz artists who share Gary’s commitment to nurturing the next generation, helping them carve a path towards a successful jazz future.
Tomorrow’s Warriors has an extensive outreach programme, working in partnership with several schools, music education hubs, venues and community groups around the country, helping around 3,000 more young people each year get into jazz.
The impressive alumni illustrates the impact Tomorrow’s Warriors’ unswerving commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion has had over the past 25 years in shaping the exciting, vibrant and diverse jazz scene we all enjoy and celebrate today – from the original Tomorrow’s Warriors, Byron Wallen, Tony Kofi and Denys Baptiste to Zara McFarlane, Binker & Moses, Ezra Collective, Nérija all making big waves today…and still many, many more to come!
Services to Jazz Award: Tony Dudley-Evans
Tony Dudley-Evans began promoting in the early 1960s putting on three concerts in the unlikely venue of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University: Tubby Hayes Quintet, Ronnie Scott Quartet with Stan Tracey and Joe Harriott Quintet.
After a period teaching English abroad, Tony returned to UK and to Birmingham in 1976 and rapidly became involved with Birmingham Jazz, firstly going to its gigs and then joining the Board in the 80s.
Tony became Chair of Birmingham Jazz and the main programmer, and built Birmingham Jazz up into a promoting organisation with an international reputation.
In 2012 Jazzlines was formed as an Arts Council supported organisation within Performances Birmingham (Town Hall and Symphony Hall).
In the late 1990s Tony became involved with the then new Cheltenham Jazz Festival, initially working with Jim Smith as Chair of the Advisory Panel and then as Artistic Director.
Tony now acts as Adviser to both Cheltenham Jazz Festival and Jazzlines Birmingham. In the last two years Tony has run improv gigs under the name of TDE Promotions. Until July Tony was Chair of the Jazz Promotion Network, an organisation he formed with Nod Knowles.
Special APPJAG Award: Jim Mullen
Jim Mullen (born 26 November 1945) grew up on the East side of Glasgow in the mid-1940s. “My claim to fame is that I taught Billy Connolly the chords for ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ on the banjo,” A jazz guitarist with a distinctive style, like Wes Montgomery before him, picking with the thumb instead of a plectrum.
Jim Mullen was guitarist with Pete Brown & Piblokto! for two albums in 1970. He then played with Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express, appearing on the band’s first three albums together with future Average White Band drummer Robbie McIntosh, Mullen then joined Kokomo and later toured with the Average White Band.
It was while both musicians were touring the United States with AWB in the mid-70s that Mullen met tenor saxophone player Dick Morrissey, and throughout the 1980s, he found critical acclaim as joint leader of the British jazz funk band Morrissey–Mullen. Record producer Richard Niles, who produced the band’s sixth album, It’s About Time, later produced three solo albums for Mullen.
Mullen has also played and recorded with, among others, Mose Allison, Hamish Stuart, Joanna Eden, Tam White, Claire Martin, Mike Carr, Jimmy Witherspoon, Dave O’Higgins and Georgie Fame, Sinan Alimanović, David Tughan and Frank Holder. Mullen has recorded as part of The AllStars, a collective of session musicians on their Paul McCartney-produced album All About the Music, alongside special guests Jocelyn Brown, Hamish Stuart and Angelo Starr. In 2014, he featured prominently on the Citrus Sun album, ‘People of Tomorrow’, produced by Incognito co-founder, Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick.
Mullen has won many British music awards including “Best Guitar” in the British Telecom Jazz Awards (1994, 1996 and 2000). Jim Mullen received a lifetime achievement award in Edinburgh 2015.
Kelvin Hopkins MP, APPJAG Co-Chairman, said: “The Parliamentary Jazz Awards are a great way for MPs and Peers of all political parties to show their support for British jazz by recognising and honouring the amazing musical talent we have in our country. From established stars to fresh new talent, the range and diversity of this year’s winners shows the vibrancy and creativity of British jazz. We are extremely grateful once again to PizzaEpress Live for supporting the Awards and for Peroni sponsoring the Parliamentary Jazz Awards.”
APPJAG currently has 80 members from the House of Commons and House of Lords across all political parties. Their aim is to encourage wider and deeper enjoyment of jazz, to increase Parliamentarians’ understanding of the jazz industry and issues surrounding it, to promote jazz as a musical form and to raise its profile inside and outside Parliament. The Group’s officers as at the 19th July 2017 are Co-Chairs, Kelvin Hopkins MP and Lord Colwyn, Secretary, Baroness Coussins, Vice Chairs, Alison Thewless MP and Sarah Champion MP, the Treasurer is Ian Paisley MP. Officers are: Lord Crathorne, John Mann MP and Sir Greg Knight MP. The Secretariate team is Chris Hodgkins and Sarah Pellew.
For further information please contact:
Notes to editors
The categories for the 2017 Awards reflect the ever-increasing scope of talent from within the UK’s jazz scene and include:
- Jazz Album of the Year (released in 2016 by a UK band or musicians)
• Jazz Vocalist of the Year (UK-based vocalist who impressed in 2016)
• Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year (UK-based musician who impressed in 2016)
• Jazz Ensemble of the Year (UK-based group who impressed in 2016)
• Jazz Venue of the Year (including jazz clubs, venues, festivals and promoters)
• Jazz Media Award (including broadcasters, journalists, magazines, blogs, listings and books)
• Jazz Education Award (to an educator or project for raising the standard of jazz education in the UK)
• Jazz Newcomer of the Year (UK-based artist, musician or group with a debut album released in 2016)
• Services to Jazz Award (to a living person for their outstanding contribution to jazz in the UK).The awards have been running since 2005. APPJAG has 80 members from the House of Commons and House of Lords, across all political parties. Its aim is to encourage a wider and deeper enjoyment of jazz, to increase Parliamentarians’ understanding of the industry and issues surrounding it, as well as promoting jazz as a musical form, and to raise its profile both inside and outside of Parliament.