The 14th annual JJA Jazz Awards threw down yesterday at City Winery, with the standard dosage of pomp and circumstance (a light dosage, really, as these things go). I’m going to break with custom and go straight to the journalist winners: Don Heckman for Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism; prior Lifetime Achievement winner Dan Morgenstern, for Best Liner Notes; Josh Jackson of WBGO for the Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award for Broadcasting; Mitchell Seidel for the Lona Foote-Bob Parent Award for Photography. For the 10th straight year, JazzTimes won Periodical of the Year. And All About Jazz -- which has complete results, including the musician awards you probably want to see -- was again recognized as Website of the Year.
Doug Ramsey, who took home the Lifetime Achievement nod in 2008, won Blog of the Year, most deservedly, for his ArtsJournal perch, Rifftides. And forgive me for burying the lede, but I was fortunate enough to grab the Helen Dance-Robert Palmer Award for Review and Feature Writing, out of an inspiring clutch of nominees.
Beyond their ceremonial function, these Jazz Awards have become an annual hang for the extended family, a place where musicians and managers and publicists (and critics) take a moment to acknowledge their common ground. That in itself is a worthy thing. And this year the event was broadcast through an online video stream, to satellite parties in Albuquerque, Scottsdale, Seattle, Berkeley and Chicago, among other places (Canada, I’m told, and various points in Europe).
I should note here that a hush fell over the crowd at the announcement that Chicago saxophone legend Fred Anderson had suffered a heart attack and a stroke the night before. (As it turns out, those details may have been inaccurate, though Anderson is indeed in serious condition. Peter Margasak is tracking the story.)