2022 Jazz Awards Announced by Jazz Journalists Association in Performance, Writing, and Publishing

The 27th annual poll of jazz journalists honors jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan for lifetime achievement.

The Jazz Journalists Association considered close to 300 jazz musicians, journalists, media makers, recordings, books, documentaries, podcasts, and photographs that were nominated for the 2022 Jazz Awards. In an announcement on May 3rd, the association revealed the winners as voted on by members*.

93-year-old singer Sheila Jordan was honored for her lifetime achievement in jazz. Recognizing a career as a jazz vocalist that spans over 65 years.

Sheila Jordan

Grammy® Award-winner and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” bandleader Jon Batiste was voted musician of the year. Continuing an extraordinary breakout year for the young jazz pianist and now crossover artist. Saxophonist Kenny Garrett’s album “Sounds from the Ancestors was voted record of the year. The album was released by Mack Avenue Records, which won the record label of the year award.

The masterful tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana was voted as the up-and-coming musician of the year. Another superb tenor saxophonist, who hails from Buffalo, NY, James Brandon Lewis, won for tenor saxophonist of the year.

James Brandon Lewis

Maria Schneider won the JJA Jazz Award for arranger of the year for the second consecutive year. Terence Blanchard was named composer of the year for his critically acclaimed, Grammy-nominated album Absence, featuring the E-Collective and the Turtle Island Quartet.

Both previous winners, Kurt Elling and Cécile McLorin Salvant picked up the awards for vocalists of the year. Other notable winners include Immanuel Wilkins, Anat Cohen, Christian McBride, John Patitucci, Vijay Iyer, James Francies, Joel Ross, and Brandee Younger in instrument-specific award categories.

John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle” won recognition for the best historical record.

The JJA Jazz Awards are unique in that they also recognize journalistic achievements in jazz.

Greg Tate, the author, columnist, critic, lecturer, and founder of the Black Rock Coalition received a posthumous lifetime achievement in jazz journalism. Tate died at age 63 on December 7, 2021.

Greg Tate

Writer-blogger Ted Gioia, Washington, D.C. radio program host Rusty Hassan and photographer Carol Friedman also won JJA awards this year.

Two books received awards: “Mary Lou Williams: Music for the Soul” by Deanna Witkowski won the biography and autobiography category, and “She Raised Her Voice! 50 Black Women who Sang Their Way into Musical History” by Jordannah Elizabeth with illustrations by Briana Dengoue, won book of the year about jazz.

See JJAJazzAwards.org for the entire list of winners across 47 categories. Award winners will participate in an online event, tentatively scheduled for mid-July.

JJA members Mark Ruffin and Neil Tesser discuss the choices of the professional voting members of the JJA in the third episode of The Buzz: The Jazz Journalists Association Podcast, produced by Rick Mitchell and Jeffrey Siegel, available now.

*Tony Zambito of JazzBuffalo is an active voting member.

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