Media release: National Jazz Awards – entries open

Michelle Nicolle

This year the spotlight is on VOICE and the search is on for Australian jazz vocalists up to the age of 35 – either known musicians or those in the early stages of their career.

Vocalists who submit recordings will be vying for a spot in the final ten and the chance to perform at the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues 2012 on Sunday 4 November.  Entries must be in by 1 June 2012.

2012 National Jazz Awards prizes:

– Winner will receive $10,000 (up from $8,000 in 2011) and will be invited to record in-studio for ABC Classic FM’s Jazztrack With Mal Stanley and will perform as part of the 2013 Stonnington Jazz Festival

– Runner-up will receive $5,000

– Third placegetter will receive $2,500 (up from $2,000 in 2011)

Renowned jazz pianist Mike Nock will again serve as chairman of the judges for the Awards. He will be joined by leading Melbourne jazz singer Michelle Nicolle, who was the first vocalist to win the National Jazz Awards in 1998, and renowned vocalist-trumpeter-bandleader Vince Jones.

The judging panel will assess the recordings submitted on a blindfold basis. The ten highest-ranked entrants will then participate in the finals on Sunday 4 November as part of the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues 2012 program. They will perform with a stellar band, featuring pianist Sam Keevers.

The National Jazz Award finals will be broadcast live to air nationally on Jazztrack with Mal Stanley, on ABC Classic FM, from 5.00pm.

The Festival’s Artistic Director, Adrian Jackson, said, “I know there are a lot of very talented jazz singers out there who will want to consider entering the Awards this year. They might be vocalists who already enjoy a strong reputation, or younger musicians who are in the early stages of their career. Either way, they would benefit from the incentives and the increased media profile that can flow from doing well in the National Jazz awards.”

The National Jazz Awards have been an integral part of Australia’s premier jazz festival since the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues began in 1990. Voice was last featured in 2005 with the first prize awarded to Elana Stone.

Past National Jazz Award winners include Tim Firth (2011), Phil Slater (2003), Elliot Dalgeish (1995) and now US-based pianist Barney McCall (1990) and Michelle Nicolle, who said, “[winning the National Jazz Award in 1998] was indeed the beginning for me, in many ways, as a jazz performer. I am sincerely grateful for the huge opportunity afforded me through this award.” Other past winners attest to the value of the National Jazz Awards on The Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues website

ENTRY FORMS can be downloaded from the festival’s website:

NOTE:  Entrants must be no older than 35, as at 1 November 2012 and the closing date for entries is 1 June 2012