Don Was 4 web optimised 1000 CREDIT Gabi Porter

Don Was, the President of the iconic Blue Note Records, has been announced as the recipient of the PPL Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Jazz FM Awards. Set to take place on 30 April at Shoreditch Town Hall, the ceremony will honour a wide range of artists from the UK and US jazz scenes. Was, besides being a renowned record producer, has been credited with reviving Blue Note since being appointed its CEO in 2012, with successful signings including Gregory Porter, GoGo Penguin and Trombone Shorty. He’s also overseeing the label’s 80th anniversary this year, with celebrations including an extensive vinyl release programme and Swiss film-maker Sophie Huber’s cinematic tribute to the label’s legacy, with her film Beyond the Notes getting a cinematic release.

Commenting on the Lifetime Acievement Award, Don Was said: “I’m incredibly grateful to Jazz FM for recognizing me and Blue Note Records with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Jazz is what inspired me to become a musician many years ago, and it is incredibly rewarding and humbling to serve as the caretaker for this historic and hugely important label. It’s a responsibility I welcome and one that I take very seriously. This honour is especially meaningful coming from Jazz FM, who not only keeps the jazz legacy alive but carries the torch forward by recognizing and supporting the great jazz that is being created today .”

The award’s organisers have also confirmed that acclaimed British singer Beverley Knight will perform a tribute to iconic soul vocalist Aretha Franklin, who died in 2018. The awards will be hosted by Jazz FM presenters Chris Philips and Jez Nelson with the recipients of the PRS for Music Gold Award and Impact Award to be announced ahead of the ceremony.  

Nominees include jazz giants Wayne Shorter, Charles Lloyd and the late great John Coltrane (for his posthumously released best-selling Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album) alongside many names from the resurgent British jazz scene, including Sons of Kemet, Nubya GarciaEmma Jean-Thackray, Camilla George, Joe Armon-JonesMoses Boyd and Sarah Tandy, while live events such as Jazz Re:fest (Brighton edition) and The Cookers at Church of Sound, are also recognised.

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The full list of nominees is as follows:

Breakthrough Act
Cassie Kinoshi
Emma-Jean Thackary
Sarah Tandy
The Digital Award with Oanda
Blue Lab Beats
Louis Cole
Moses Boyd – 1Xtra Residency
The Innovation Award with Mishcon de Reya
Orphy Robinson – Freedom Sessions at Vortex
Steam Down
Tomorrow’s Warriors
Instrumentalist of the Year
Camilla George
Jean Toussaint
Rob Luft
International Jazz Act of the Year with Lateralize
Jamie Branch
Makaya McCraven
Wayne Shorter
Soul Act of the Year
José James
Leon Bridges
Poppy Ajudha
Blues Act of the Year
Eric Bibb
Errol Linton
Roosevelt Collier
Vocalist of the Year
Cherise Adams-Burnett
Ian Shaw
Judi Jackson
UK Jazz Act of the Year (Public Vote) with Cambridge Audio
Jason Yarde
Joe Armon-Jones
Nubya Garcia
Album of the Year (Public Vote) with Arqiva
Charles Lloyd & The Marvels and Lucinda Williams – Vanished Gardens
Jean Toussaint Allstar 6Tet – Brother Raymond
John Coltrane – Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album
Sons of Kemet – Your Queen Is A Reptile
Various Artists – We Out Here
Wayne Shorter – Emanon
Live Experience of the Year (Public Vote)
Jason Moran: The Harlem Hellfighters – Tour
Jazz Re:Fest 2018: Brighton Edition
Makaya McCraven and Nubya Garcia – EFG London Jazz Festival
Orphy Robinson presents Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks – Tour
Steam Down featuring Kamasi Washington
The Cookers – Church of Sound

 – Mike Flynn

Photo by Gabi Porter

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