JJA Jazz Award winners take home this lovely translucent mini-obelisk.
JJA Jazz Award winners take home this lovely translucent mini-obelisk. Patrick Jarenwattananon/NPR
As you may have heard, A Blog Supreme was named Blog of the Year at the Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards on Saturday. It's very truly an honor to be recognized by "folks who have been doing this thing for a minute," as I told some musicians on Saturday night. (And by "for a minute," I mean much, much longer than one minute.)
All the other nominees, if you can believe it, have been in the Jazz Internet game longer than I have. I've learned an awful lot from Marc Myers of JazzWax, Doug Ramsey of Rifftides, Howard Mandel of JazzBeyondJazz and Ethan Iverson of Do The Math. Really, I would have been happy to see this award go to any of those folks. It's affirming enough to see our profession recognize the potential of this blog medium — whatever it is — in the first place.
Here's a list of all the winners.
I had fun at the ceremony, but originally, I didn't think I would be able to attend. So I drafted a short acceptance speech in advance were ABS to win. I ended up extemporizing, but this would have been read by event emcee Josh Jackson of WBGO — a name who frequent readers of this site will know. I've copied the text below.
I suppose it was presumptuous of me to write an acceptance speech in advance and deliver it by proxy. But we're in a business where we prepare obituaries in advance. Me winning an award is only marginally better than a jazz musician dying, but you're still saddled with me delaying you from hearing Randy Weston perform. You can sit down now.
I couldn't take home this award without saying three things. First, thank you to all the journalists in the room. Seriously. A lot of what I do is to follow the larger conversation about jazz, and featuring, building on, and otherwise pointing out your work is important to that end. More importantly, you folks are my models: As I tried to learn how to run a jazz blog mostly from scratch, your work proved to be valuable inspiration. "Great artists steal," et cetera, so to be called great by the victims of theft is a pretty big coup. Thanks for that.
Second: Thanks to NPR Music. I work at a pretty incredible institution, one which has given me ample opportunities to experiment, collaborate and occasionally fail, and then promotes my work Beyond The Jazz Internet as well. Thank you to Anya Grundmann, our executive producer, and everyone on the team of occasional contributors to/overseers of the blog. Josh Jackson is one of those conspirators, by the way. He hereby thanks himself in the third person.
Finally, thank you to the musicians in attendance, those watching online and even those who couldn't care less about this ceremony. These past two-plus years of the blog have given me an incredible respect for the fact that you've dedicated your lives to this art form which is relatively unpopular and still misunderstood — sometimes even by the people tasked with covering it. Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, for reading and commenting, for submitting guest posts, for calling us out when we're wrong, for Facebooking or Twittering when something means something for you. You folks are a constant inspiration, and I want to publicly redouble my commitment to do right by what you give to the world.
I suppose some of you still have no idea who I am, so here's a hint: npr-dot-org, slash blog-supreme. [npr.org/blogsupreme] I'll see you on the Internet, and perhaps, one day, off of it too.
I'm being too loquacious here already, but I couldn't talk about all this without acknowledging you, the readers. To produce good work is one thing; to have it read and responded to by people who care is quite another. Thanks for browsing.
As long as we're being meta- about this whole experience, I wrote some reflections on jazz blogging for the Undead Music Review — the program guide to the upcoming Undead Jazzfest. A PDF of the 'zine is online, if you're curious why I am writing about blogging in a print magazine.