Your challenge re Jazz FM Awards, should you wish to accept it…

So, I suggested in my piece on the Jazz FM Awards nominations – it’s here if you haven’t read it – that there was one glaring omission in the lists, and that the presence of journalist Stuart Nicholson in the nominations panel made that somewhat mystifying. Could you spot it?

Your response has been quite understandable: “What on earth is he on about? And why are there no banjo players on this list?”, “Perhaps if we ignore him he’ll just go away – I’m a Five Live woman myself, anyway”, and “Robert Glasper! Call that cutting edge? Harrumph” to name a few, both actual and imaginary.

Well, I’ll have to answer my own question then. It’s Europe (or, the rest of Europe if you EC chaps want to be pedantic).

Europe – quite a big place…

There are five categories – International Jazz Artist, Cutting Edge Award for Jazz Innovation, Album Of The Year, Jazz Media, and Live UK Shows Of The Year – which are open to artists from anywhere in the world. But only British or US musicians appear in them. (Yes, I know that Phronesis is led by a Danish double bass player and has a Swedish drummer, but as far as I am concerned, it’s a UK band because it’s based here.)

Now, I don’t mean to be nationalistic about this, but there has been a lot of debate in recent years about US jazz vs European jazz, etc, so it’s not surprising that we end up with antennas alert to this.

I’m left wondering, was that great champion of European jazz, Stuart Nicholson, shouted down in the nomination discussions? Or, when push comes to shove, does the jazz from that large lump of land to our east simply fail to cut the mustard (sorry about the metaphor mash-up)?

Now, since you failed the initial challenge, how about a follow-up. Just add as a comment on this post your suggestions for European jazz artists, albums, websites or magazines, and/or UK live performances by European jazz artists that might/should have appeared in the nominations list. I’m sure you can think of some, while I do the same.

And remember, it’s only a bit of fun! In no way do we intend to cast aspersions upon the real 2012 Jazz FM Award nominees, who are all jolly fine and worthy, and all that. Positivity about the unsung is what we’re after – not negativity about the already sung.



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6 replies

  1. Peter An interesting take on this… In my Blog post I went the other way,which is understandable I suppose as it is about Leeds! http://jazzleeds.blogspot.co.uk The other interesting nomination is an American in best singer… I feel that there are many other UK singers that are better… but I guess this is opinion and there are definitely better US based singers. As you have pointed out the nominations are a little odd and I would have expected that JazzFM would have thought this through a bit more before going down this road!

    Enjoying your blog M

  2. Absolutely right. Here’s a few suggestions:
    Cutting edge artists: AKA Moon, Trio Grande
    Best instrumentalist: Louis Sclavis, Henry Texier, Ronan Guilfoyle
    Best Newcomer: Kapok,
    Best CD: Simon Nabatov “solo”, AKA Moon “Unison”, Grand Reportage Ensemble deluxe
    “Live from the surface of the sun”

  3. What about Americans who live in Europe? I guess we fall in that grey area. Sorry to complicate things.

  4. Panelists and jurors have to declare any interest, and cannot vote for artists or nominations in which they have a professional interest.

  5. Actually, based on my listening over the past 12 months, I’m wondering if musicians from mainland Europe simply haven’t been touring here much or releasing as many albums here as in the past.

    I’m struggling to think of any obvious candidates. ECM have been marketing Arild Andersen and the SNJO’s excellent “Celebration” as an Arild Andersen album, but to me it’s by a UK band with a Norwegian guest soloist. Enrico Rava’s new album has been getting good reviews, but I haven’t heard it.

    Live, Das Kapital’s Hanns Eisler set at Glasgow Jazz Festival was very enjoyable, but wouldn’t make it onto my list of gigs of the year.

    Have I just been missing out on a lot of good stuff, or has there actually been a lot less European jazz heard in the UK this year?

  6. Hey byased.

    Without even going ‘Europe’, have you checked out British? Go for Mike Janisch’s (granted he’s American, but we’ve adopted him!) mainly British output of records on whirlwind recordings ( http://www.whirlwindrecordings.com ) which is churning out about 20 records this year alone! Or Dave Stapleton/Tim Dickeson’s excellent Edition Records, which is now firmly established and never, EVER seems to disappoint (http://www.editionrecords.com) with quite a few releases this year. Then there’s the F-IRE label run by Barack Schmool (www.f-ire.com/label), which has had some really interesting releases including the ‘hit’ (Mercury and MOBO nominations…) Roller Trio record and great stuff from bands like Eh Joe and my tip for the future, Dominic J Marshall.

    Try Babel Label…you can even hear all their albums for free if you want to try before you buy at http://babel-label.bandcamp.com . Or Basho (http://www.bashomusic.co.uk)…Trish Clowes latest release in particular was great.

    In fact, the more I think about it, I’m really proud of just how much genuinely exciting music is being produced in the UK alone, let alone Europe right now. There are a ton of other Brit labels out there, many of them artist-run, that are doing great work with little reward and definitely deserve our support.

    But if you’re going European, you can’t go too far wrong with ACT. I can’t keep up with how many records they’re releasing a year at the moment, and doubt Blue Note or any other major American label is releasing more than them. And no, it’s not a case of ‘Quantity vs Quality’.

    You may well know these labels already, but if you don’t, I really hope you enjoy what you find!

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