Saturday, June 18, 2016

A most-unexpected tip of many jazz hats....

Each June, the Jazz Journalists Association holds a matinee program in Manhattan to honor journalists, broadcasters and photographers who have done distinguished work in the past year.

Wednesday afternoon's festivities at the Blue Note jazz club included an unexpected surprise. JJA's voting members selected yours truly as the 2016 winner of the Lona Foote-Bob Parent Award for Jazz Photography.

When my name surfaced with five other very talented nominees (John Abbott, Jimmy Katz, Richard Conde, Lauren Deutsch and Michael Jackson) several months ago on the JJA Awards ballot, I figured it was a mistake, since I won the award back in 2003.

More than a few JJA member photographers had been under the impression this was sort of a lifetime achievement award, one and done. Apparently not - or maybe the JJA Awards committee forgot that caveat.

New Jersey-based photographer and writer Mitchell Seidel, with whom I've shared concert photo pits dating back to 1985, shared an interesting perspective: something along the lines that winning a lifetime achievement award twice in one lifetime is quite a feat.

I am humbled by the honor, knowing full well that each of the five other nominees was just as deserving.

As best I can surmise, my book, "Jazz in the Key of Light," must have developed some degree of awareness within the JJA community over the past year and a half. Maybe the voters took note of a 30+ year commitment to writing about and photographing the jazz world. We'll never know with any certainty.

Here is the full list this year's winners in the various categories:
  • Lifetime achievement in jazz journalism: Ted Panken
  • Jazz periodical: DownBeat
  • Jazz blog: Ethan Iverson‘s “Do the Math”
  • Jazz book: “Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth,” by John Szwed
  • Robert Palmer-Helen Oakley Dance Award for Excellence in Writing in 2015: Nate Chinen
  • Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award for Broadcasting in 2015: Linda Yohn, WEMU, Ypsilanti, MI
  • Lona Foote-Bob Parent Award for Photography in 2015: Ken Franckling
  • Jazz Photo of the Year: Patrick Marek
  • Jazz Album Art of the Year: Mike Park, for Kamasi Washington, The Epic
For more details, including all of the musician winners announced earlier this spring, visit the JJA online. Composer/orchestra leader Maria Schneider took home a whopping five trophies this time around: for Musician, Composer, Arranger, Large Ensemble and Record of the Year, the latter for her exquisite CD The Thompson Fields (artistShare).

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