JJA Jazz Awards Nominees Include Mary Halvorson, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Brad Mehldau, and 'LongGone' Quartet

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Congratulations to the Jazz Journalists Association's 2023 JJA Jazz Awards nominees, including Mary Halvorson for Jazz Musician of the Year, Composer of the Year, and Guitarist of the Year, as well as Album Art of the Year for Amaryllis and Belladonna; Cécile McLorin Salvant for Female Vocalist of the Year and Record of the Year for Ghost Song; Brad Mehldau for Pianist of the Year; and the LongGone quartet of Joshua Redman, Mehldau, Christian McBride, and Brian Blade for Midsize Ensemble of the Year. Winners will be announced on May 17.

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The Jazz Journalists Association has announced the nominees for the 2023 JJA Jazz Awards, including Mary Halvorson, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Brad Mehldau, and the LongGone quartet of Joshua Redman, Mehldau, Christian McBride, and Brian Blade.

Mary Halvorson has been nominated for three JJA Jazz Awards: Jazz Musician of the Year, Composer of the Year, and Guitarist of the Year. The Brooklyn-based guitarist, composer, and MacArthur fellow made her Nonesuch debut with two albums, Amaryllis and Belladonna, in 2022. They have also been nominated for JJA Jazz Awards for Album Art of the Year for designer DM Stith. The two suites, which Halvorson describes as “modular and interlocking,” come in a two-LP vinyl set or as two separate CDs and digital albums, produced and mixed by John Dieterich, that Jazziz calls "some of the most accomplished writing of Halvorson’s meteoric career." Amaryllis is a six-song suite performed by a newly formed sextet of master improvisers—including vibraphonist Patricia Brennan, who has been nominated for the JJA Jazz Award for Mallet Instrumentalist of the Year. The Mivos string quartet joins for three of the songs on Amaryllis, making this the largest ensemble for which Halvorson has written to date. Belladonna is a set of five compositions written for Halvorson on guitar plus the Mivos Quartet, whose parts are through-composed and augmented by Halvorson’s guitar improvisations.

Cécile McLorin Salvant is up for two JJA Jazz Awards: Female Vocalist of the Year and Record of the Year for her Nonesuch debut album, Ghost Song, which recently won the Deutscher Jazzpreis. Ghost Song features a diverse mix of seven originals and five interpretations on the themes of ghosts, nostalgia, and yearning. The Arts Desk exclaims: "The treasure trove of marvels that is Ghost Song exceeds all expectations." Salvant’s new album, Mélusine, a mix of five originals and interpretations of nine songs, dating as far back as the 12th century, mostly sung in French along with Occitan, English, and Haitian Kreyòl, was released last month.

Brad Mehldau has been nominated for the JJA Jazz Award for Pianist of the Year. His 2022 album, Jacob’s Ladder, a Grammy Award nominee, features new music that reflects on scripture and the search for God through music inspired by the prog rock he loved as a young adolescent—his gateway to the fusion that eventually led to his discovery of jazz. Featured musicians on the album include Chris Thile, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Mark Guiliana, Becca Stevens, Joel Frahm, and others. Mojo calls it "a kaleidoscopic affair, where baroque prog-rock edifices are juxtaposed with clouds of ethereal choirs, dreamy piano interludes, and squalls of free jazz-style clarinet. Skillfully weaving these elements into storytelling sound collages, Mehldau takes the listener on a memorable musical journey."

Mehldau was also nominated along with Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, and Brian Blade for Midsize Ensemble of the Year as the quartet behind the Grammy-nominated album LongGone. McBride is also up for Bassist of the Year and Blade for Drummer of the Year. In 1994, this original Joshua Redman Quartet released MoodSwing, an instant classic that helped launch each member’s career as a leader. The members of the quartet reunited for the critically acclaimed album RoundAgain in 2020 and now for the new album, LongGone, featuring original Redman compositions from the RoundAgain recording sessions, plus a live performance of the MoodSwing track “Rejoice,” captured by SFJAZZ at the San Francisco Jazz Festival.

Nominees were chosen by the votes of the Professional Journalist Members of the Jazz Journalists Association. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 17. For more information and to see the complete list of nominees, visit jjajazzawards.org.

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JJA Jazz Awards Nominees 2023: Halvorson, Salvant, Mehldau, 'LongGone'
  • Tuesday, May 2, 2023
    JJA Jazz Awards Nominees Include Mary Halvorson, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Brad Mehldau, and 'LongGone' Quartet

    The Jazz Journalists Association has announced the nominees for the 2023 JJA Jazz Awards, including Mary Halvorson, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Brad Mehldau, and the LongGone quartet of Joshua Redman, Mehldau, Christian McBride, and Brian Blade.

    Mary Halvorson has been nominated for three JJA Jazz Awards: Jazz Musician of the Year, Composer of the Year, and Guitarist of the Year. The Brooklyn-based guitarist, composer, and MacArthur fellow made her Nonesuch debut with two albums, Amaryllis and Belladonna, in 2022. They have also been nominated for JJA Jazz Awards for Album Art of the Year for designer DM Stith. The two suites, which Halvorson describes as “modular and interlocking,” come in a two-LP vinyl set or as two separate CDs and digital albums, produced and mixed by John Dieterich, that Jazziz calls "some of the most accomplished writing of Halvorson’s meteoric career." Amaryllis is a six-song suite performed by a newly formed sextet of master improvisers—including vibraphonist Patricia Brennan, who has been nominated for the JJA Jazz Award for Mallet Instrumentalist of the Year. The Mivos string quartet joins for three of the songs on Amaryllis, making this the largest ensemble for which Halvorson has written to date. Belladonna is a set of five compositions written for Halvorson on guitar plus the Mivos Quartet, whose parts are through-composed and augmented by Halvorson’s guitar improvisations.

    Cécile McLorin Salvant is up for two JJA Jazz Awards: Female Vocalist of the Year and Record of the Year for her Nonesuch debut album, Ghost Song, which recently won the Deutscher Jazzpreis. Ghost Song features a diverse mix of seven originals and five interpretations on the themes of ghosts, nostalgia, and yearning. The Arts Desk exclaims: "The treasure trove of marvels that is Ghost Song exceeds all expectations." Salvant’s new album, Mélusine, a mix of five originals and interpretations of nine songs, dating as far back as the 12th century, mostly sung in French along with Occitan, English, and Haitian Kreyòl, was released last month.

    Brad Mehldau has been nominated for the JJA Jazz Award for Pianist of the Year. His 2022 album, Jacob’s Ladder, a Grammy Award nominee, features new music that reflects on scripture and the search for God through music inspired by the prog rock he loved as a young adolescent—his gateway to the fusion that eventually led to his discovery of jazz. Featured musicians on the album include Chris Thile, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Mark Guiliana, Becca Stevens, Joel Frahm, and others. Mojo calls it "a kaleidoscopic affair, where baroque prog-rock edifices are juxtaposed with clouds of ethereal choirs, dreamy piano interludes, and squalls of free jazz-style clarinet. Skillfully weaving these elements into storytelling sound collages, Mehldau takes the listener on a memorable musical journey."

    Mehldau was also nominated along with Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, and Brian Blade for Midsize Ensemble of the Year as the quartet behind the Grammy-nominated album LongGone. McBride is also up for Bassist of the Year and Blade for Drummer of the Year. In 1994, this original Joshua Redman Quartet released MoodSwing, an instant classic that helped launch each member’s career as a leader. The members of the quartet reunited for the critically acclaimed album RoundAgain in 2020 and now for the new album, LongGone, featuring original Redman compositions from the RoundAgain recording sessions, plus a live performance of the MoodSwing track “Rejoice,” captured by SFJAZZ at the San Francisco Jazz Festival.

    Nominees were chosen by the votes of the Professional Journalist Members of the Jazz Journalists Association. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 17. For more information and to see the complete list of nominees, visit jjajazzawards.org.

    Journal Articles:Artist News

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