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Finalists for Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition announced

Lucy Yeghiazaryan
Lucy Yeghiazaryan, finalist for the 2022 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition

The Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, presented by NJPAC in Newark, has announced the five finalists for the competition on November 20. Allan Harris, Kristin Lash, Ekep Nkwelle, Lucía Gutiérrez Rebolloso and Lucy Yeghiazaryan will compete before a panel of judges, including Regina Carter, Christian McBride, T.S. Monk, Maria Schneider, and WBGO’s own Pat Prescott. Held as the culminating event of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival, The SASSY Awards, as they’re informally known, will be hosted by WBGO’s Gary Walker and the event will feature performances by the 2021 co-winners: Tawanda Suessbrich-Joaquim and Gabrielle Cavassa.

The first-place winner will receive a $5,000 cash award, the second-place winner receives $1,500, and third-place gets $500. Past winners include Cyrille Aimée, Jazzmeia Horn, Ashleigh Smith, Arianna Neikrug, Deelee Dubé, Quiana Lynell, Laurin Talese, Samara Joy, Gabrielle Cavassa and Tawanda Suessbrich-Joaquim, and G. Thomas Allen. Learn more about the competition here.

Gary Walker will interview each of the finalists in the weeks leading up to the competition. He spoke first with Lucy Yeghiazaryan about her life and music.

Watch their conversation here:

Lucy Yeghiazaryan interview by Gary Walker

For over 27 years, Lee Mergner served as an editor and publisher of JazzTimes until his resignation in January 2018. Thereafter, Mergner continued to regularly contribute features, profiles and interviews to the publication as a contributing editor for the next 4+ years. JazzTimes, which has won numerous ASCAP-Deems Taylor awards for music journalism, was founded in 1970 and was described by the All Music Guide, as “arguably the finest jazz magazine in the world.”