Clark Atlanta University’s WCLK: Jazz 91.9 (an NPR member station) is excited to announce its partnership with Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) to broadcast and stream the first Jazz Music Awards: Celebrating the Spirt of Jazz. The music awards will be available for streaming on demand on PBS Passport on Monday, January 1, 2024. The Georgia statewide broadcast will air on GPB’s nine stations WGTV-TV (Atlanta/Athens), WNGH-TV (Chatsworth), WMUM-TV (Macon), WJSP-TV (Columbus), WACS-TV (Dawson), WABW-TV (Albany), WVAN-TV (Savannah), WXGA-TV (Waycross) and WCES-TV (Augusta) on the same day at 7:00 p.m. ET.
The Jazz Music Awards is a new two-hour award show celebrating the best in Jazz, including traditional, contemporary, vocal, instrumental, and experimental. It is the first global, full-scale music award show dedicated to Jazz and the artists who create it. The awards will be hosted by multiple Grammy Award-winning artist, NEA Jazz Master and Tony Award winner Dee Dee Bridgewater, and the widely acclaimed stage and screen actor, Peabody Award winner and Tony Award nominee Delroy Lindo.
GPB is excited to partner with WCLK [an NPR member station] to broadcast and stream the Jazz Music Awards,” said GPB CEO Bert Wesley Huffman. “Through the years, we’ve found ways to collaborate that deepen the value of public media to our respective listening audiences, and the Jazz Awards offer a perfect opportunity to strengthen the partnership between GPB and WCLK while providing a wonderful platform for this treasured art form.”
“We are grateful to partner with Georgia Public Broadcasting,” says Wendy F. Williams, the founder and executive producer of the Jazz Music Awards and the General Manager of 91.9 WCLK, an NPR-affiliated station. “GPB is an excellent home for the Jazz Music Awards, and we look forward to building a national platform with PBS and its 150 affiliates. GPB presented us with a great opportunity to broadcast and stream our program around the world.”
Under the brilliant musical direction of multiple Grammy Award winner and NEA Jazz Master Terri Lyne Carrington, the award show features eight performances by internationally renowned artists, including Dianne Reeves, Kenny Garrett, Orrin Evans, Ledisi, Somi, Lizz Wright, Braxton Cook, Brandee Younger, Jazzmeia Horn, The Baylor Project, Lindsey Webster, and the show’s co-host Dee Dee Bridgewater. Musical tributes included performances for the late Ramsey Lewis, Pharoah Sanders, Joey DeFrancesco, and Jaimie Branch.
Carrington’s All-Star Band features a collective of world-class musicians who played throughout the show. The group includes keyboardist Ray Angry, trumpeter Milena Casado, alto saxophonist Braxton Cook, pianist Orrin Evans, Saturday Night Live bassist James Genus, drummer and percussionist Nikki Glaspie, percussionist Gerson Lazo-Quiroga, electronics, DJ/percussionist Kassa Overall, tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland, guitarist Mark Whitfield, and drummer Carrington.
Carrington, who serves as musical director and one of the executive producers of the show, says, “Our theme, ‘Jazz is the Culture,’ best exemplifies the excellence that was exhibited by the musicians and artists. It was a memorable and stellar night filled with magic. So many of the artists expressed their joy and heartfelt sentiments about building community and the need for an annual platform such as this.”
The awards ceremony will also recognize winners in eight competitive categories, including Best New Artist, Best Contemporary Artist, Best Mainstream Artist, Best Vocal Performance, Best Duo, Group or Big Band, Best Contemporary Album, Best Mainstream Album, and Song of the Year.
The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to the late Wayne Shorter. The Legend Award will be presented to the family of the late McCoy Tyner. The three recipients of the Awards of Distinction include Pulitzer Prize-winning Henry Threadgill for the Jazz Composer Award; avant-garde Jazz trumpeter and composer Ambrose Akinmusire will receive the Jazz Innovator Award; and former U.S. Jazz Ambassador and twice appointed Fulbright Senior Music Specialist, Dr. Lenora Helm Hammonds will be presented with the Jazz Educator Award. Additionally, the beloved Jazz Professor James H. Patterson of Clark Atlanta University will receive the Jazz Impact Award.
The production credits include Wendy F. Williams (founder and executive producer), Rushion McDonald (executive producer), Terri Lyne Carrington (executive producer and musical director), Gwendolyn Quinn (executive producer), J. Kevin Swain (director of live production), Elizabeth Healy (director of broadcast and supervising producer of broadcast); Wendy F. Williams, Gwendolyn Quinn, Terri Lyne Carrington, Elizabeth Healy, and J. Kevin Swain (producers); Eugenia P. Ricks, David C. Linton, James Locklin, and Ray Cornelius (consulting producers); Eric Singer (editor), and Janine Coveney (head scriptwriter).
About the Jazz Music Awards
The Jazz Music Awards recognizes jazz as an American musical art form, birthed from the experience and innovation of African Americans, rooted in blues, ragtime, swing, bebop, and creative improvised music, including Latin jazz, mainstream, smooth, and other contemporary forms or hybrids. The Jazz Music Awards and its creators recognize and amplify Jazz as a vibrant cornerstone of all American music that has profoundly influenced American language, style, traditions, and sounds, producing heroes and cultural phenomena. The Jazz Music Awards is a nonprofit division of Jazz 91.9 WCLK, located on the campus of Clark Atlanta University, the Historically Black College and University, owner and licensee of WCLK.
About Clark Atlanta University
Clark Atlanta University was formed with the consolidation of Atlanta University and Clark College, both of which hold unique places in the annals of African American history. Atlanta University, established in 1865 by the American Missionary Association, was the nation’s first institution to award graduate degrees to African Americans. Clark College, established four years later in 1869, was the nation’s first four-year liberal arts college to serve a primarily African American student population. Today, with nearly 4,000 students, CAU is the largest of the four institutions (CAU, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Morehouse School of Medicine) that comprise the Atlanta University Center Consortium. It is also the largest of the 37-member UNCF institutions. Notable alumni include: James Weldon Johnson, American civil rights activist, poet, and songwriter (Lift Every Voice and Sing, “The Black National Anthem”; Ralph David Abernathy, Sr., American civil rights activist; Congressman Hank
Johnson, Georgia District 4; Kenya Barris, American award-winning television and movie producer; Kenny Leon, Tony Award-winning Broadway Director; Jacque Reid, Emmy Award-winning Television Personality and Journalist; Brandon Thompson, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for NASCAR; Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy. To learn more about Clark Atlanta University, visit www.cau.edu.