Ready for the 2018 Australian Jazz Bell Awards?

It’s that time of the year, when the Australian Jazz community gathers to celebrate its annual achievements. On Monday 14 May, the 16th Australian Jazz Bell Awards ceremony will take place at Bird’s Basement in Melbourne, in a Gala dinner honouring the artists responsible for some of the best jazz albums of the year.

“The ‘Bells’ celebrate and elevate excellence in the performance, creativity, recording and presentation of Jazz in Australia and the ceremony is a perfect night to get acquainted with the lively jazz scene,” reads the Media release.
This year it will be attended by Australian jazz legends such as Barney McAll, Kristin Berardi, Daniel Sunsjar, Andrea Keller along with young and aspiring musicians Kayleigh Pincott, Evan Harris, Jack Earle, and others.

As always, the nomination and selection process has not been easy. A list of the nominees who didn’t get to the shortlist this year, would be in itself a who-is-who of Australian jazz masters – which is further proof of the level of excellence and extraordinary talent and creativity in the jazz scene. There are seven award categories this year and the shortlist of nominees were determined by the members of the Australian Jazz Academy.

Genius pianist Barney McAll dominates the shortlist, being featured in four categories with his visceral masterpiece, ‘Hearing the Blood’, while brilliant newcomer saxophonist Evan Harris follows with three nominations, each representing a different generation of Australian jazz. Another newcomer, singer Kayleigh Pincott is featured with her impressive debut, Solace, competing against Kristin Berardi and Andrea Keller. If the presence of a pianist among vocalists seems paradoxical, it is not. Andrea Keller, on her way to claiming her rightful place as a living national treasure, is nominated for her absolutely beautiful song cycle ‘Still Night: Music in Poetry’, featuring Gian Slater and Vince Jones.

Here is the full list of nominees:

Best Australian Jazz Vocal Album: Best Australian Jazz Song of the year:
Kristin Berardi – I’m Glad There is You Barney McAll – Love is the blood
Andrea Keller – Still Night: Music in Poetry Speedball – Judgement Day
Kayleigh Pincott – Solace Kayleigh Pincott – Empathy
Best Australian Instrumental JazzAlbum: Best Australian Jazz Ensemble of theyear:
Barney McAll – Hearing the Blood Barney McAll
Speedball – We Have Moved Daniel Susnjar Afro-Peruvian Jazz Group
Evan Harris – Skylines I Hold the Lions Paw
Best Produced Album: Young Australian Jazz Artist of the year:
Barney McAll – Hearing the Blood Evan Harris
Speedball – We Have Moved Jack Earle Trio
Evan Harris – Skylines Milton Man Gogh

The winner in each of the seven award categories receives $5000 as well as the Award presented at the Ceremony.

The Australian Jazz Bell Awards are named after the late Australian jazz pioneer, Graeme Bell, AO.