Announcing The Winners Of The 8th Annual JazzBuffalo Poll

JazzBuffalo Community and Jazz Fans Weigh-In on Their Favorites in 2022

JazzBuffalo is proud to announce the results of its 8th Annual JazzBuffalo Poll.  The poll saw nearly 1900 ballots submitted where voting took place in 36 categories. The poll provides an opportunity for jazz fans, jazz audiences, jazz supporters, and JazzBuffalo readers to weigh in on recognizing their favorite jazz artists, groups, performances, and supporters. 

The year 2022 represented a return to normal from the pandemic, albeit slowly in the first half of the year. Affording the community to enjoy jazz at its fullest in person once again. The poll provided the opportunity to recall memorable performances and favorites from attending concerts throughout the year.

Each year, the John Hunt Jazz Artist of the Year Award recognizes an individual that has made a substantial contribution to jazz in Greater Buffalo through individual performance, artistic endeavors, and contributions to the Greater Buffalo community.  This year, the award goes to the very deserving George Caldwell. Since moving to Buffalo more than a decade ago, George has made a measurable impact on the jazz community as a performer, bandleader, mentor, educator, community supporter, and advocate for jazz.

Photo of George Caldwell by Jack Zuff

For the second consecutive year, Jack Zuff received the most votes for Jazz Crusader of the Year. It was another year of fabulous jazz photography capturing the memorable performances in 2022. The Herbie Hancock concert event at Kleinhans Music Hall proved to be the most memorable international/national jazz event in 2022. A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Ed Croft Trio at Seneca One is voted as the most memorable jazz concert of the year.

Dave Schiavone is the winner in both the tenor and alto saxophone categories for the first time since the poll began. Ed Croft returns as the winner not only in the bass categories but also as this year’s Rising Star of the Year. Alex McArthur repreats once again as a favorite and winner of Jazz Female Vocalist of the Year. As did Zach Carr for Jazz Male Vocalist of the Year. Donny Frauenhofer and his trio, DF3, made an impact in the genres of fusion and funk, winning in both categories. Dozo My Lady featuring Carolyn Lansom became a first-time winner in the Jazz-Pop category.

“The JazzBuffalo Poll allows the community to be engaged with jazz in a unique way. Strengthening the bond between audiences and jazz performers,” said the founder of JazzBuffalo Tony Zambito.  “The poll is reflective of how the jazz community continues to evolve as an integral part of the city’s growing arts and cultural scene.“

The full list of those voted as favorites, along with runner-ups in the 36 categories of the 8th Annual JazzBuffalo Poll are displayed below:

The 8th Annual JazzBuffalo Poll Winners

Jazz Tenor Saxophone – Dave Schiavone

Runner-up: Nelson Rivera

Jazz Alto Saxophone – Dave Schiavone

Runner up: Bobby Militello

Jazz Baritone Saxophone – Laura Anderson

Runner-up: Ken Kuriscak

Jazz Trumpet – Tim Clarke

Runner up: Griffith “Kaz” Kazmierczak

Jazz Trombone – Brendan Lanighan

Runner up: John Hasselback, Jr.

Jazz Guitar – Jared Tinkham

Runner up: Rick Strauss

Jazz Piano –  George Caldwell

Runner up: Jim Beishline

Jazz Organ – Doug “Trigger” Gaston

Runner up: Jim Beishline

Jazz Accompaniment – Bobby Militello – Flute

Runner up: Dave Schiavone – Flute

Jazz Upright Bass – Ed Croft

Runner up: Stephen Parisi

Jazz Electric Bass – Ed Croft

Runner up: Jack Kulp

Jazz Vibes – Alec Dube

Runner up: Jamie Sunshine

Jazz Drums – John Bacon, Jr.

Runner up: John Anderson

Jazz Percussion – Wendell Rivera

Runner up: Joey Gonzalez

Jazz Female Vocalist – Alex McArthur

Runner up: Cheryl Ferris

Jazz Male Vocalist – Zach Carr

Runner up: Dalton Sharp

Jazz Classic Group – Bobby Militello Quartet

Runner up: My Cousin Toné

Jazz World – Hot Club of Buffalo

Runner up: The Paper Rose Band

Jazz Trad/NOLA/Swing – Buffalo Dolls

Runner up: Back Room Jazz Band

Jazz Fusion – Donny Frauenhofer Trio (DF3)

Runner up: Damone Jackson Outcome

Latin Jazz – Wendell Rivera Latin Jazz Ensemble

Runner up: The Joey Gonzalez Collective

Jazz Big Band – Anderson Big Band

Runner up: East Street Big Band

Jazz Large Ensemble – Brendan Lanighan Octet

Runner up: My Cousin Toné

Jazz Soul/Funk – Donny Frauenhofer Trio (DF3)

Runner up: Universal Phunk

Jazz Pop – Dozo My Lady

Runner up: Miller and The Other Sinners

Jazz Venue – Pausa Art House

Runner up: Sportsmen Tavern

Jazz Major Performing Arts Center – Kleinhans Music Hall

Runner up: UB Center for the Performing Arts

Most Memorable Jazz Performance  – A Charlie Brown Christmas: Ed Croft Trio – Seneca One Auditorium

Runner up: Summer Wind: Zach Carr Tribute To Frank Sinatra – Northwest Jazz Festival in Lewiston, NY

Most Memorable International Jazz Performance – Herbie Hancock at Kleinhans Music Hall

Runner up: Emmet Cohen, Mark Whitfield, Troy Roberts, Kyle Poole – Tribute to Joey DeFrancesco at the Northwest Jazz Festival in Lewiston, NY

Jazz CD/EP Release – The Mark Filsinger Chamber Big Band – “Groovin’ High”

Runner up: Jay/Sharp-tet – “For You My Love”

Middle School/High School Educator – Brendan Lanighan

Runner up: Jared Tinkham

College/University Educator – John Bacon, Jr.

Runner up: Bobby Militello

Jazz Rising Star – Ed Croft

Runner up: Brendan Lanighan

Jazz Ex-Pat – Chris Ziemba

Runner up: Don Menza

Jazz Crusader – Jack Zuff – Photographer / JazzBuffalo Contributor

Runner up: Linda Appleby – Historic Colored Musicians Club

John Hunt Jazz Artist of the Year – George Caldwell

Runner up: Elliot Scozzaro

Comments From The JazzBuffalo Community

Every year, the passionate jazz fans in our community submit comments about the person(s) they voted for in the annual JazzBuffalo Poll. Here is a compilation of comments by person:

George Caldwell

George is a world-class artist and Buffalo is so lucky to have him.

George is at home in so many situations and always makes great musical sense.

George has talent, no doubt, but his soul is one of incomprehensible love, joy, and positivity. The radiant energy he brings to any room he is in, even before touching a single key, entrances an audience, engaging listeners before the music begins. From a musical standpoint, his listening abilities may be better than his playing, which is off the charts. George’s innate ability to take and give with the rest of the musicians is an absolute pleasure to see, hear, and be a part of.

Eliot Scozzaro

Elliott is a world-class performer and chose to return to Buffalo to not only perform but to educate future jazz musicians

Elliot is an incredible musician, arranger, composer, and educator, and works very very hard on a daily basis to serve the community.

Elliot is not only a great performer but a great educator as well! He has taught me a lot at SUNY Fredonia, and I look forward to learning more from him.

Elliot embodies the past, present, and future of jazz. During his various performances, he educates listeners about the history behind the pieces he plays. In the present, Elliot composes and arranges pieces that reflect the zeitgeist of Buffalo. As an educator, he prepares students both as a private teacher and a college instructor to not only keep jazz alive but to promote its continuation and evolution into the future.

Donny Frauenhofer

Donny is the most talented keyboard player ever! He is so creative and continues to impress his fans. We love Donny!!! ❤️

Donny brings the listener into his voicing and phrases, and pushes, glides, and strides along with whomever he’s sharing the stage with.

It has been awesome to watch Donny grow in his talents and love for music. Always an amazing set and good vibes.

Donny Frauenhofer is so incredibly talented and has helped to create an amazing jazz community in Buffalo

Donny Frauenhofer is an amazing musician, performer, and supporter of all art forms. He performs to honor his talent, but also to honor the instruments he plays and the genre he chooses for audiences to hear and witness. It is always a gift and an incredible experience to be in the moment of his live performances.

Donny Frauenhofer, between his solo act and work with DF3, has consistently performed for years in Buffalo now at such a young age and has done an incredible job adding a twist to the Jazz category as a whole. If he doesn’t win it this year (finally), he will one day.

Donny is determined, so talented, and so inspiring. Every time I have seen Donny and any project he is in, it has been truly amazing. He is so so good, and strives to make the Buffalo music scene a better place!

Donny is passionate about his craft and dedicated to quality performances. He truly is a master in jazz, soul, and funk.

Jared Tinkham

Honestly, I need no explanation on why I voted for Jared Tinkham. It was just common sense. He’s an excellent musician and an excellent person.

Jared Tinkham is an amazing artist!

I have had the opportunity to observe Mr. Tinkham work with a variety of students throughout the years. I am a Special Education Teacher in an Arts building. Many of my students do not have the basic knowledge our general education students do in the area of music. However, this has never stopped Mr. Tinkham from reaching out and offering music classes for these students. He truly loves his Art and loves to share it with others. 

Jared Tinkham is an amazing educator and musician and has inspired multiple students like me, I got into my dream arts college and will be moving to New York City, If it weren’t for Jared Tinkham’s passion for music I would have never discovered the same emotion in my artistry, he is highly respected and definitely my favorite teacher through my years of middle and high school. – a former senior in his class

Jared Tinkham is highly respected in my eyes, his passion and years of work and love he has put into his music is genuinely something you can’t beat. There is no award for emotion but he plays with his heart and it has led him to this nomination however as a former student I believe he should have won this a long time ago multiple times, but he’s so humble in his ability, this year I’d like to see him have something to show the class and his students. We are his family that’s why he does this.

Joey Gonzalez

I voted for Joey Gonzalez because his gifted talent brings a unique sound that brings healing, relaxation, and amazing interpretation to the heart, mind & soul. Joey was already beating drums, and playing the piano & other instruments since he was in his mother’s womb. Our community of Buffalo & Region is blessed to have this humble & gifted musician.

Jose Gonzalez, a God-given talent that has touch and warm many hearts around the world. He continue to perfect his skills as a drummer and other instruments. He plays the drums with so much passion and extends to passion to everyone he comes in contact !!! Yes!!!!!!! Joey Gonzalez his music comes deep from his soul and we can all feel it!!!!

Carolyn Lansom

Carolyn Lansom is simply amazing! So very talented!

I voted for Carolyn Lansom because she always lifted my spirits when she performed.

Ellen Pieroni

Ellen is doing amazing things, including teaching music full-time, creating new projects and collaborations

Ellen Pieroni as both an artist and a promoter continues to support the local music artist focusing on the jazz community, in content, diversity, venues, and the artists themselves. Her growth and style just get better every year.

Stu Weissman

Stu Weissman has tremendous talent and is a master at playing traditional jazz, Bossa Nova, salsa, and modern jazz. I love his guitar style and could listen to him play all day.

Stu Weissman is one of the all-time great Buffalo musicians and is long overdue for Jazz Artist of the year. His guitar playing is passionate, virtuosic, and constantly inventive. He has inspired and mentored dozens of local musicians, including his two sons who are rising talents among Buffalo’s young musicians.

Stu embodies a passion and willingness to assist other musicians to aspire to be the best version of themselves.

Stu’s long-time dedication to promoting the local jazz scene. That commitment encompasses the musicians, the music venues, and the endearing jazz enthusiasts!

Ann Phillipone

Ann Phillipone is a great talent with a humble personality. She has steadily year after year brought classic blues/jazz piano stylings to our community, watering the roots. She is also a dedicated educator. She deserves recognition!

I vote for Ann Phillipone because she is a great show person… very entertaining .. I love her music.

Brendan Lanighan

He is a very kind knowledgeable person, and his choices and taste in jazz songs that are done in high school is impeccable.

Brendan Lanighan is my band teacher and he’s taught me so much about jazz. I am so thankful for him!

Great teacher and musician.

Alex McArthur

Alex is an old soul and amazing performer I go see her every chance I get and take friends!

Alex McArthur is improving every year and is committed to the jazz community in Buffalo.

An absolutely incredible singer, pours the passion into every note!

Alex is out there working her craft and staying true to real jazz vocalists. and she is an outstanding musician!

Marcus Lolo

Mentor & focus promotion of next generation of musicians. Awesome qualities to have, along with Great skills

Outstanding musician. Serves the community.

Zach Carr

Zach has an outstanding voice and presence on stage!

Zach Carr is such a phenomenal performer and talented young man. His engaging voice and musical talent are superb. A true talented and creative professional.

Zach is a quintessential artist who takes vocal performance, preparation, and health very seriously and treats every performance like the most important one, whether he’s addressing a few people or a packed audience. He is wildly talented and yet humble and kind, supporting other artists and performers.

He has a wonderful voice and can sing any type music.

Charles Rahmat Woods

Charles Rahmat Woods’ Blues for Martyrs is a timely, thoughtful response to the horrible shooting that took place on May 14, 2022. His work honors the victims and families who were devastated by this senseless shooting.

Rahmat Woods is Ex pat of the year hasgir more than 50 years played Jazz. Supported jazz groups and is a consistent and much loved musician in the field. 

Prolific, creative output as an artist. Always striving to reach new heights. As a band leader, surrounds himself with dynamic talent who can only inspire him to challenge his perceived artistic limits. He’s always improving, never satisfied, and striving to be better.

I love Charles Rahmat Woods artistry and creativity. He truly is a winner in any level of music.

Charles Rahmat Woods’s passion is Jazz and it shows in his music. He creates an experience for the audience and you can feel the music as he plays.

I known Brother Woods for most of my life , as a close friend, a proud Buffalo. Supporter and an incredibly talented Musician.

2 thoughts on “Announcing The Winners Of The 8th Annual JazzBuffalo Poll

  1. Missed the official poll due to holiday events so I just wanted to acknowledge the fantastic performance of Dr. M Jazz combo “ Jazzin’ the Holidays” at the Sportsman’s December 2nd 2023! A large crowd just totally bought into the music feeling the holiday spirit!
    Just terrific for all!

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