Back in January 2010, Kenny Wheeler's 80th birthday was celebrated with a concert at the Royal Academy of Music. Dave Holland flew over for it. "Music for Large and Small Ensembles" (above- recommended would be an understatement, it's a classic) was performed at it. Frank Griffith reviewed it for us. And some money was raised for a new annual prize.
The ‘Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize’ will be awarded to a musician graduating from the Royal Academy who can demonstrate: "excellence in both performance and composition."
A panel consisting of Evan Parker, the Academy’s Head of Jazz Nick Smart and Dave Stapleton of Editon Records.
Edition Records will be releasing the winner's debut album.
The prize has some features of the Thelonious Monk Prize in the USA - they collaborate with Concord Records.
Kenny Wheeler has written:
“I have always felt strongly about supporting the next generation of young jazz musicians and it gives me great pleasure to set up this prize in my name. My friends and colleagues at the Academy have been producing such amazing players in recent years that I am sure the winner of the prize will go on to make their mark in the jazz world, and who knows, I might even get to play with them myself!”
The winner will be announced on 30th June 2011; expect an album release in spring 2012.