Benny Golson, Matt Wilson, Maria Schneider Are Among the Winners of the JJA Awards

May 7, 2018

The Jazz Journalists Association announced the results of its jazz awards today, with winners including tenor saxophonist Benny Golson, drummer Matt Wilson and composer-arranger Maria Schneider. 

Nominated and selected by the international membership of the Jazz Journalists Association, a nonprofit organization spanning a range of media, the awards have been an annual tradition since 1997. While the results have now been announced, awards will be distributed in the weeks and months to come – at a JJA Awards Party at The New School on June 12, and at upcoming performances by the winning artists.

Golson, a 1995 NEA Jazz Master, received the award for Lifetime Achievement in Jazz. Wilson won both Musician of the Year and Record of the Year, for Honey and Salt: Music Inspired by the Poetry of Carl Sandburg (Palmetto). And Schneider scored three awards, for Best Composer, Best Arranger and Best Large Ensemble, for the Maria Schneider Orchestra.

Cécile McLorin Salvant and Kurt Elling won in the jazz vocal categories, but another singer, Jazzmeia Horn, scored Up and Coming Musician of the Year — an accolade you’re sure to understand if you heard her recent episode of Jazz Night in America.

Among the other winners are the Vijay Iyer Sextet, for Jazz Band of the Year; Jack DeJohnette, for Trap Drummer; Mary Halvorson, for Guitarist; and Fred Hersch, not only for Pianist but also Jazz Book of the Year, for his memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly, which has also been featured on Jazz Night this season.

Historical Record of the Year went to Thelonious Monk: Les liaisons dangereuses 1960, an album featured here at WBGO.

This year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism is Patricia Willard, a veteran writer, historian, researcher and photographer. Neil Tesser, who won that honor in 2015, has now also received the Marian McPartland - Willis Conover Award for Career Excellence in Broadcasting. And photographer and educator Michael Jackson has won the Lona Foote – Bob Parent Award for Career Excellence in Photography.

DownBeat has won Jazz Periodical of the Year, and Marc Myers’ JazzWax has won Blog of the Year. The winner of the Robert Palmer-Helen Oakley Dance Award for Excellence in Writing is our own Nate Chinen, for his work here and at NPR Music.

The full rundown of awards can be found at the JJA website.