Is the Hudson Valley the Center of the Jazz World?


Well, maybe not, but…

At the Jazz Journalists Association’s Jazz Awards held Saturday at City Winery in NYC, it kinda seemed like it. Sonny Rollins – 80-year-old jazz giant, saxophone colossus and Germantown resident – was awarded the top honor of the ceremony Jazz Musician of the Year.

Rollins was also honored as Best Tenor Saxophonist. In addition, he was the subject of the portrait by John Abbott, which was named Best Jazz Photograph. And, of yeah, Rollins was also the subject of “Sonny Rollins: Getting It Back Together,” by Bret Primack, which was named Best Short Form Video of the Year:

Meanwhile, Hudson Valley saxophonist Joe Lovano and his band Us Five was named Best Small Ensemble, and their album, “Bird Songs,” earned top honors as Best Recording of the Year.

And Albany native Stefon Harris was also named Best Mallet Instrumentalist of the Year.

Nippertown jazz fans will also have the opportunity to see two more of the awards show’s double-winners in the spotlight – for free. The 84-year-old saxophonist Jimmy Heath earned the award for Best Book About Jazz (for his autobiography, “I Walked With Giants”) and well as the coveted Lifetime Achievement in Jazz honors. Heath will be performing with the Heath Brothers at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center on Tuesday, June 28. And Ambrose Akinmusire – who was named Up-and-Coming Artist of the Year as well as Best Trumpeter of the Year – is also slated to perform at the Zankel Music Center on Tuesday, July 5. Both performances are part of the Skidmore Jazz Institute.

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