Singer Alison Affleck, saxophonist Konrad Wiszniewski, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, and long-serving BBC radio producer Keith Loxam were among the prize winners at the Scottish Jazz Awards presentation held this week in Edinburgh.
Affleck, who appears with the bands Vieux Carre and Dick Lee’s Swingtet, and Wiszniewski, whose partner in the hugely acclaimed New Focus jazz/classical crossover group, pianist Euan Stevenson was voted Best Emerging Artist, were presented with their awards at a glittering, red carpet occasion in the plush night club Dirty Martini in Le Monde on George Street.
Awards also went to the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, whose In the Spirit of Duke concerts in celebration of Duke Ellington took the Live Jazz Experience title, and to Richard Michael, director of Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra and resident jargon buster on BBC Radio Scotland’s weekly magazine programme Jazz House, which won the Media award.
Adventurous a cappella horn quartet Brass Jaw won both the Ensemble title and the Innovation award for their school workshop series. Fife-based jazz-funk octet Das Contras won Album of the Year and Dutch violinist Tim Kliphuis, a popular and regular visitor to Scotland, won the International Musician prize.
A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Jim Mullen, the Glasgow-born London-based guitarist whose distinctive, deeply soulful thumb-style of playing has featured with such internationally revered musicians as pianist Gene Harris, blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon, flautist Herbie Mann and the Average White Band and earned Mullen the soubriquet “God” from the legendary late Chicago jazz-soul-folk poet Terry Callier.
Keith Loxam, who retired from the BBC in the summer after producing programmes including Jazz on Three for many years, was recognised with the Services to Jazz title.
The awards, which are organised by the Scottish Jazz Federation and Audacious Music and are sponsored by the Herald newspaper group, were established in 2010 to celebrate the vibrancy of the Scottish jazz scene across the music’s many styles.
Cathie Rae of the Scottish Jazz Federation said: “We’re very proud of the quality of jazz played both within Scotland and by Scottish-born musicians such as Jim Mullen on the international stage. We’re also pleased that mentors such as Richard Michael and projects including Brass Jaw’s school workshops continue to encourage large numbers of young musicians to take up the music and ensure that the healthy state of jazz in Scotland is on course to continue for years to come. These awards recognise the magnificent effort that goes into sustaining careers and interest in the music.”