Winners Announced for 2014 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The winners were announced yesterday (Tuesday 13 May) for the 2014 Parliamentary Jazz Awards. Now in their tenth year, the Awards are organised by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) and are now Britain’s premier awards for the jazz loving public - plus fans in both Houses.

Sponsored by music licensing company PPL, the awards feature a broad array of jazz talent from within the industry, with this year’s categories being updated to reflect the ever-increasing scope of talent from within the UK’s jazz scene. The full list of winners is as follows:

Jazz Vocalist of the Year: Christine Tobin

Christine Tobin is a Dublin-born singer/songwriter who came to London in the 1980s and studied at the Guildhall School later that year. Tobin’s eloquence on classic songs by Leonard Cohen or Carole King are internationally admired. She has won a BBC Jazz Award as Best Vocalist (2008), toured the world, and had her representations of blues pioneer Bessie Smith featured in a TV series curated by Martin Scorsese.                    

Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year: Arun Ghosh

Clarinetist Arun Ghosh is one of the current generation of young musicians that is producing music that recognises no boundaries of style or genre, utilising the wealth of his Asian background in his composing. His Indo-Jazz Sextet play original music or South Asian origin with a contemporary jazz attitude. Alongside his performance activity, Arun maintains a healthy composition and education workload, particularly in the world of theatre, in addition to collaborating with other musicians, writers, poets, filmmakers and dancers.

Jazz Album of the Year: Troykestra ‘Live At Cheltenham 13 Jazz Festival’

Originally commissioned for Jazzwise’s 15th anniversary week at Ronnie Scott’s in 2012, this intriguing collaboration between the cutting edge jazz trio Troyka and the Royal Academy of Music Big Band, under the direction of jazz director Nick Smart, put flesh and blood on the bones of Troyska’s angular melodies, building the texture and structure through imaginative horn arrangements into a bold, new large ensemble sound that was one of the highlight performances of Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2013.                                   

Jazz Ensemble of the Year: Beats & Pieces Big Band

Beats & Pieces played their first gig at the Manchester Jazz Festival in 2009, and have since performed to critical and popular acclaim across the UK and Europe. They won the European Young Jazz Artists’ Award at the 2011 Burhausen International Jazz festival in Germany, and Best UK Newcomer at the 2013 Jazz FM Awards. The group rapidly generated a substantial repertoire of home grown material and distinctive covers – the latter including treatments of classic themes by Radiohead. The Musicians’ Benevolent Fund gave Beats & Pieces its Emerging Excellence Award in 2012. Their debut album, Big Ideas, was released in March 2012.     

Jazz Newcomer of the Year: Phil Meadows

Phil is fast emerging as one of the UK’s most creative young jazz musicians. The saxophonist from Manchester performs with the self-titled ‘Phil Meadows Group’ whose acclaimed debut album ‘Engines of Creation’ has been toured throughout the UK with support from Jazz Services. Until recently, Meadows was also the lead alto for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Great Britain and the prestigious ‘Peter Whittingham Jazz Award’ in 2013. Phil is also the musical and artistic director of the brand new twenty piece ‘Engines Orchestra’. This ambitious project is set to see Meadows developing new music with a cross section of musicians from all genres over the coming years. Phil has appeared at the BBC Proms, Glastonbury Festival, Ronnie Scott’s and performed for Her Majesty the Queen as part of the Jubilee celebrations in February 2012.                                                                                         

Jazz Venue of the Year: EFG London Jazz Festival

November’s EFG London Jazz Festival is the ‘big daddy’ of the UK’s festival circuit, a sprawling but perfectly judged and welcoming event that turns the capital into a buzzing hive of jazz activity for 10 days every year. It’s not just the festival’s longevity, or ‘buying power’ that sees it nominated – 21 years young in 2013, the latest incarnation brought together a globally enviable line-up of top jazz artists to our shores, with unforgettable performances from international heavyweights like Marcus Miller, Wayne Shorter, David Sanborn, Lee Konitz, John Mclaughlin and Brad Mehldau matched by some truly world-class home-grown offerings from the likes of Zoe Rahman, Phronesis, Arun Ghosh, Christine Tobin and the godfather of UK jazz, the late Stan Tracey.                        

Jazz Media Award: Jamie Cullum

He has survived the full glare of the international publicity machine. He has coped with everything from a Michael Parkinson eulogy to two world tours, and critics as fierce as only New York can produce. After an unparalleled baptism of fire, the hyperactive boy wonder of British jazz is growing up. No longer to be found dozing in hard hotel beds and airport lounges, he has slowed down to become the dedicated father of two daughters and devoted husband. He has nevertheless found time to perform, write new songs and issue more albums in a nonstop career that has surprisingly already spanned 15 years. Some of his albums may have puzzled older fans, but his weekly radio show confirms that his love for jazz remains constant. This sort of radio would not happen without an enthusiastic presenter of Jamie’s ‘unfuddy-duddy’ image. There is no doubt that applying ‘Cullum Clout’ to a weekly format of jazz news, album reviews and live interviews plays a significant part in keeping the music in the public ear, particularly its younger ones. 

Jazz Education Award: Issie Barratt, National Youth Jazz Collective

Issie Barratt is a British composer and baritone saxophonist, known for her work in big band jazz and education. Barratt has been awarded commissions by the Philharmonia Orchestra, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Bohuslän Big Band, The PRS Foundation for New Music, Delta Sax Quartet, 4th Dimension String Quartet, Voice of the North, North Cheshire Wind Orchestra, Vortex Foundation Big Band, Swiss Gemeinderat of Unterägeri, Trinity College of Music’s Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, Conservatoires UK Big Band and Youth Music with performances often featuring artists such as Anders Bergcrantz, Tim Garland, Mark Lockheart, Joe Locke, Dennis Rollins, Carl Rütti. As an educator, Issie was responsible for establishing Trinity College of Music’s Jazz Faculty in 1999, which she continued to run until 2004.                                            

Services to Jazz Award: David Redfern

Buddy Rich described Derbyshire-born David Redfern as 'probably the greatest jazz photographer in the world today - but he's too tall.' Redfern certainly deserves to be ranked alongside Gottlieb and Leonard. Although his work was to expand to cover most areas of music, he began by photographing jazz musicians and remains strongly identified with the idiom, eschewing the smoke-filled mythopoeia of his predecessors in favour of luminous, animated shots that perfectly capture the energy of the music's best moments in a modern style. Acquiring other collections alongside his own continuing work resulted in the creation of the Redferns agency, representing some 500 photographers and collections in the largest music photo library in the world (now part of the Getty library). His work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, books and commissions. Despite recent poor health he remains active as a photographer and enjoys engaging with the jazz community at every level, as he has done throughout his 45-year career.

Special APPJAG Award: Chris Barber

 “The Parliamentary Jazz Awards is one way MPs and Peers of all political parties aim to support British jazz by recognising and honouring the amazing musical talent we have in this country. The star studded names of this year’s winners speak for themselves and we are very grateful to PPL for sponsoring the Awards” said Michael Connarty MP, APPJAG Co-Chairman.

“I would like to extend my personal thanks and appreciation to Michael Connarty MP and to Lord Colwyn for doing such a fantastic job in co-chairing and running APPJAG as well as my thanks to Bob Blizzard. I would also like to thank all the judges for their time and welcome Jon Newey, the Awards’ presenter.” said Fran Nevrkla OBE, Chairman, PPL“These Jazz Awards remain a special night for Parliament, the jazz community and award recipients as well as for PPL and the music industry generally.” 

Back by popular demand at this year’s ceremony were special guest performances by James Pearson and The Ronnie Scott’s All Stars.

APPJAG award winners

From left to right: PPL Chairman Fran Nevrkra OBE, Karen Pearson, Christine Tobin, Chris Barber, Amy Pearce, Izzie Barratt, Lord Steel, Jon Newey, David Redfurn, Chris Montague (Troykestra), Ben Cotrell (Beats & Pieces Big Band), Phil Meadows, Arun Ghosh, Darius Brubeck.

For further information or interviews, please contact:

John Norbury-Lyons, Jazz Services: 020 7928 9089 email: john@jazzservices.org.uk