This year’s Jazz FM Awards ceremony took place at Shoreditch Town Hall, London on Tuesday 30 April (UNESCO International Jazz Day), with the winners reflecting the strength and vibrancy of the UK and US jazz scenes. Among those taking home gongs were emerging London-based saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi, who is making waves with her SEED Ensemble, winning Breakthrough Act of the Year, while fiery fast-rising tenorist Nubya Garcia won the public vote for the UK Jazz Act of the Year.

More established artists among the winners included expat US saxophonist (and former Jazz Messenger) Jean Toussaint, who won Instrumentalist of the Year, while Shabaka Hutchings’ incendiary four-piece Sons Of Kemet won the public vote for their all-conquering Your Queen Is A Reptile in the Album of the Year category. Transatlantic triumphs included drummer/producer Makaya McCraven winning International Jazz Act of the Year; tenor titan Kamasi Washington’s spontaneous appearance at south London’s Steam Down venue helped it and its live jazz collective scoop Live Experience of the Year and leading US guitarist and singer Eric Bibb was named Blues Artist of the Year.

The Blue Note record label’s 80th anniversary this year was also recognised with its president, Don Was, receiving the PPL Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to him by old friend, and The Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr. The night’s other special award saw Quincy Jones’ vocal protégé Jacob Collier collect the PRS for Music Gold Award. Hosted by Jazz FM presenters Chris Philips and Jez Nelson, there were live performances from singer Beverley Knight, who paid tribute to late-great soul-jazz vocal legend Aretha Franklin, while the high-energy Steam Down Collective closed out the show in emphatic style with a guest appearance from Makaya McCraven on drums.

Mike Flynn

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The full list of winners is as follows:

Breakthrough Act: Cassie Kinoshi

The Digital Award: Louis Cole

The Innovation Award: Steam Down

Instrumentalist Of The Year: Jean Toussaint

International Jazz Act Of The Year: Makaya McCraven

Soul Act Of The Year: Poppy Ajudha

Blues Act Of The Year: Eric Bibb

Vocalist Of The Year: Cherise Adams-Burnett

UK Jazz Act (Public Vote): Nubya Garcia

Album Of The Year (Public Vote): Sons Of Kemet – Your Queen Is A Reptile

Live Experience Of The Year (Public Vote): Steam Down featuring Kamasi Washington

PRS for Music Gold Award: Jacob Collier

PPL Lifetime Achievement Award: Don Was and Blue Note Records


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