At last nights awards ceremony at the Pizza Express, Best Jazz Instrumentalist was won by pianist John Turville, and Best Jazz Vocalist shared between Norma Winstone (above) and Cleveland Watkiss.
Sarah Ellen Hughes writes:
It was a privilege to be at the London Jazz Awards last evening, at Pizza Express Jazz Club. A whole host of people were there - of course the calibre of musician on the shortlist meant that there was a plethora of talent present. The evening began with wine and pizza (and continued with wine and wine). About half of the club had been emptied of its tables, leaving room for mingling and chatting - a great atmosphere.
It wasn't only the London Jazz Awards that were presented last night, but also the London New Poetry award. The shortlisters were announced, and then the winner - Carrie Etter for her work The Tethers - read something from her winning entry. The words were so deliciously woven that I found myself - to my surprise - moved and captivated.
There was a great feeling of community between two societies that don't often mix, but have shared experiences and interests. Even so, the jazz community was certainly more vocal. The shortlist was announced, to degrees of applause for each candidate. It was the job of London Fringe director Greg Tallent (what a wonderful name!) to announce the nominees. Unfortunately for him, his list was incomplete, and he wasn't familiar with all the names. It all worked out in the end- all the candidates were offered and suitably applauded.
Helen Mayhew stepped up to the stage to present the jazz awards. The instrumental award went to John Turville, particularly in reference to his album Midas. The vocal award was split between two singers - apparently the judges had such a hard time separating these two, that it was decided there should be two vocal awards this year. They were Cleveland Watkiss, and Norma Winstone.
It's often very difficult to decide on who is a better singer, or who is your favourite, because even though the instrument is the same, the way two people sing can be worlds apart from each other - in effect, two totally different instruments.
A jam session ensued, during which John took to the stage along with Norma and Cleveland, finishing Blue Monk with an epic last note that they clearly didn't want to end! Other nominees including Nia Lynn, Fini Bearman, Derek Nash, Gary Husband, Patrick Bettison performed, as did panel members Barry Green, Asaf Sirkis and Mark Hodgson. An enormous treat.
A notable performance was an improvised duet between Gary Husband (drums) and JazzCotech dancer Perry Louis (feet). Unfortunately the carpeted stage meant that it didn't quite have the impact it should have.
It's only a shame that not everyone could be awarded last night, because each jazz musician who was nominated brings something particular, individual and special to this diverse UK jazz scene.
The London Jazz Awards are presented each year as part of the London Festival Fringe. The Jazz Awards have been organized by the Global Music Foundation .