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Photo Gallery: Inaugural Jazz Music Awards held in Atlanta

On Saturday, October 22, the first annual Jazz Music Awards were held at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, Ga. In a ceremony hosted Dee Dee Bridgewater and actor Delroy Lindo, awards were given out in eight categories. (The complete list of winners is below.) Organized by Wendy F. Williams and WCLK FM, the night featured performances by The Baylor Project, Dianne Reeves, Lizz Wright, Jazzmeia Horn, Ledisi, Somi, Orrin Evans, Tia Fuller, Brandee Younger and Kenny Garrett. Wayne Shorter was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award, which he accepted in a pre-recorded video. Music director Terri Lyne Carrington led a house All-Star band featuring Evans, James Genus, Mark Whitfield, Marcus Strickland, Braxton Cook, Milena Casado, Ray Angry, Nikki Glaspie and Kassa Overall.

List of awards:

Best New Artist
Samara Joy

Best Contemporary Artist
Ragan Whiteside

Best Mainstream Artist
Christian McBride & Inside Straight

Best Vocal Performance (TIE)
Somi Zenzile: The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba
Stacey Kent Songs From Other Places

Best Duo, Group, or Big Band
Christian McBride & Inside Straight

Best Contemporary Album
Bob Baldwin

Best Mainstream Album (TIE)
Orrin Evans The Magic of Now (Album)
Kenny Garrett Sounds From The Ancestors (Album)

Song of the Year (Fan Vote)
Norman Brown “Back At Ya” (Single)

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.”