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Women Set the Agenda, and a New Precedent, at the Jazz Journalists Association Awards / WBGO

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The Jazz Journalists Association Awards is an annual ritual for writers, musicians, and music industry types. On Tuesday evening June 13, the hundred or so people gathered at The New School's Theresa Lang Center crowded into the frame. The man with the camera (writer-photographer Michael Jackson) commanded his subjects to "squeeze in," a process that kept everyone on their toes, quite literally, and brought forth peals of laughter.

There could have been no more apt scene, for an artistic community remarkable for its closeness. But it also captured what might be considered a watershed moment in jazz. Of the 29 awards given to musicians in 2018, a dozen went to women - a record number in this male-dominated field. Singer Jazzmeia Horn won Up and Coming Musician of the Year. And for the first time in the 22-year history of the awards, the award for Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism went to a female writer: Patricia Willard.

Nicole Mitchell accepting Best Flutist at the JJA Awards on June 12, 2018. Linda May Han Oh won for Best Bassist, and cellist Tomeka Reid, flutist Nicole Mitchell, soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom, and baritone saxophonist Claire Daly, were present to accept their awards. After accepting her award, Bloom offered some perspective. "In the 1970s, the first women's jazz festivals shone a light on female performers and offered one idea of what they could be," she said. "Today you can see an expansiveness in the musical vision of the women here, a uniqueness, depth, intellect, and full range of expression. I'm so pleased to be in such rich and beautiful company."       See the complete list of the winners on JJA website      photo: ENID FARBER

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