Radio entertainment and showbiz

Jazz FM Awards to honour legendary jazz label Blue Note Records

The organisers of the Jazz FM Awards have announced that iconic US jazz label Blue Note Records and the label’s President – multi-Grammy-winning US musician, record producer and record executive Don Was will be presented with the PPL Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s ceremony.

Celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2019, Blue Note has been synonymous with legendary jazz artists and landmark recordings since its inception, producing works which now represent the pillars of jazz history from the likes of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan, Cannonball Adderley and Art Blakey amongst many others, and remains widely regarded today as the most important jazz label in history.

Detroit-born Was rose to fame in the 1980s with powerhouse pop/rock outfit Was (Not Was), before going on to become a prolific record producer for international superstars such as The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Iggy Pop, Bonnie Raitt, Brian Wilson, and more.

Since taking the helm as Blue Note CEO in 2012, the label has gone from strength to strength enjoying global success with numerous signings. These include Gregory Porter, Trombone Shorty, and GoGo Penguin.

The label also continues to break the mould with genre-defying artists like Robert Glasper sitting alongside revered elder statesmen such as Dr. Lonnie Smith, keeping the balance of tradition and innovation very much alive.

Don Was said: “I’m incredibly grateful to Jazz FM for recognizing me and Blue Note Records with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Jazz is what inspired me to become a musician many years ago, and it is incredibly rewarding and humbling to serve as the caretaker for this historic and hugely important label.  It’s a responsibility I welcome and one that I take very seriously.

“This honour is especially meaningful coming from Jazz FM, who not only keeps the jazz legacy alive but carries the torch forward by recognizing and supporting the great jazz that is being created today.”

Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer of PPL, said: “We are proud to support the work that Jazz FM and the Jazz FM Awards do in showcasing performers and musicians, both established artists such as Don Was as well as session musicians and up and coming performers.

“For five decades Don has written, performed and produced some of the most well-known music in the jazz and blues genres. His leadership of the iconic Blue Note Records label, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, has demonstrated that Don’s passion for jazz remains. It is a pleasure to award him – and Blue Note Records – with the PPL Lifetime Achievement Award.”

The night will also feature a one-off tribute performance by Beverley Knight celebrating the Queen Of Soul Aretha Franklin, who passed away in August 2018 and is seen as one of the most influential soul vocalists of her generation.

The 2019 Jazz FM Awards takes place on International Jazz Day on Tuesday 30th April at Shoreditch Town Hall and will be presented by Jazz FM hosts Chris Philips and Jez Nelson.

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