April is Jazz Appreciation Month; a celebration of America's homegrown art form all month long, ending with a global all-star concert on International Jazz Day, April 30. This year's concert will be held in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation.
In Seattle, the festivities began with a night of awards for musicians, presenters, educators and heroes.
Earshot Jazz, the premier presenter of a wide range of jazz and improvised music in Seattle, held their annual Golden Ear Awards event at the Royal Room on April 2. Congratulations to all of this year's winners for each category:
NW Recording of the Year: Greg Ruby and the Rhythm Runners Syncopated Classic
NW Acoustic Ensemble: Pearl Django
Alternative Goup: Rik Wright's Fundamental Forces
NW Concert of the Year: Industrial Revelation Plays Bjork at the Neptune December 2017
NW Instrumentalist: Dawn Clement
Emerging Artist of the Year: Marina Christopher
Vocalist of the Year: LaVon Hardison
A handful of special awards were presented, including recognition to Erik Hanson, Executive Director of Jazz Night School.
The Jazz Journalists Association also chose April 2 to announce their annual Jazz Hero Awards. JJA Jazz Heroes are the advocates, altruists, activists, aiders and abettors of jazz who have had significant local impact.
Often these heroes are the people working behind the scenes to make sure that jazz remains a vital art form in their communities. That's certainly true of this year's Seattle Jazz Hero, Karen Caropepe. She's the Managing Director of Earshot Jazz, and she has also been very active in supporting jazz education.
The Jazz Journalists Association is currently processing nominations for its 23rd annual JJA Awards, covering 39 categories for the past year's best in jazz music, recording, media and journalism. Those winners will be posted on the JJA Jazz Awards site on Tuesday, May 1.
Robin Lloyd hosts Mid Day Jazz and Jazz Caliente on KNKX-FM. She is a member of the Jazz Education Network, and currently serves on the board of the Jazz Journalists Association.