The Jazz Journalists Association has just bestowed its awards and a few of my friends are among the winners.
I honestly don’t think much of most awards programs as they are usually beset with much organizational baggage, be it personal or political favoritism, a lack of well-thought out criteria on which to judge, or at worst, a complete disregard for the criteria. My lack of enthusiasm for the process is equal whether it be the JJA Awards or the Grammys. Is anyone’s efforts better than another’s in this particular year? Can you really confine your judgements to calendarized boundaries? And how about rewarding those who took giant risks that may have “flopped” but were nonetheless artistic feats?
Nevertheless, all accolades are a good thing, something we all need…and assuming we all “work” at our respective crafts, encouragement is something we all deserve. So in that light I offer my personal congratulations to my friends who are all hard-working, dedicated artists, every day of every year:
- Strings Player of the Year Regina Carter
- Acoustic Bassist of the Year Ron Carter
- Guitarist of the Year Jim Hall
- Doug Ramsey, author of the Best Book About Jazz “Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond” (Parkside)
- Female Singer of the Year Dianne Reeves
- Tenor Saxophonist of the Year Sonny Rollins
- Musician of the Year Sonny Rollins
- Arranger of the Year Maria Schneider
- Alto Saxophonist of the Year Phil Woods