NPR's Felix Contreras presents the JJA Jazz Awards for Male and Female Vocalist of the year.
NPR's Felix Contreras presents the JJA Jazz Awards for Male and Female Vocalist of the year. Patrick Jarenwattananon/NPR
The JJA Jazz Awards were handed out yesterday in New York. And to the chagrin of me 12 months ago, the whole thing was actually pretty cool. Six observations:
- Congratulations to Doug Ramsey, whose Rifftides was voted Blog Of The Year. It was one of the first jazz blogs to actually "get" this whole Internet thing, and it is one run by a man of great accrued wisdom. A Blog Supreme was nominated for this award; it's truly an honor that our colleagues would even consider this publication in the same category as Ramsey's, not to mention those of Ethan Iverson, Nate Chinen and Marc Myers. I'm excited that the JJA sees the great potential of the blog medium, and am returning to work with an affirmation that what we're doing here is important.
- I suppose at some point it will completely cease to be strange to know people from the Internet before meeting them in real life. ("Hi, I'm Patrick. You may know me from cyberspace.") But it was still really fun meeting/re-meeting you if I did!
- If we were to have won, I would have thanked a number of people. Seeing as how we've just recently eclipsed our one year anniversary, it's about time to take stock anyway. So first, those who have contributed from NPR: Felix Contreras, Lars Gotrich, Mike Katzif, Walter Watson, Tom Cole. Then, the rest of the NPR Music team for occasionally editing and promoting, including the Boss Lady, who put me up to all this in the first place. A big shout-out to Josh Jackson, Lara Pellegrinelli, Dave Douglas, Matt Wilson, John Ellis, Becca Pulliam, the entire Jazz Now crew and everybody else who has contributed to our fair enterprise. Thanks to the musicians, to whom we pledge better, more meaningful service. And most of all, you, the reader, commenter, lurker, whomever: you're most important. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
- Josh Jackson for the Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award for Broadcasting! Dude makes Essential Jazz Listening every week, and still finds time to contribute here. If you don't know, now you know. Josh! Josh! Josh!
- Indeed, congratulations to all the winners. I can't think of anybody who didn't deserve to be recognized as such. Peep the full list.
- I'll echo something that Gary Giddins wrote previously. Really, it's not the awards themselves that are important, arbitrary as they necessarily are. It's the fact that a sizable snapshot of the jazz community — journalists and musicians alike — was gathered yesterday, under one roof, with appropriate libations. (The venue was called City Winery.) Something positive was bound to come out of there; I think something did.