Thursday, May 28, 2009

Parliamentary Jazz Awards - the only serious awards left?

Awards are important. Not just to highlight the individual winners but also to help draw attention to the music. There's no doubt that the Mercury nominations for the albums by Portico Quartet and Polar Bear on Babel/Vortex helped their sales dramatically and also the profile of both bands.
Similarly, the BBC Jazz Awards were definitely helpful and encouraging.
The only awards left which adequately take on an awareness of the contemporary jazz scene left over here are the Parliamentary Awards which took place last week. (And congratulations to Phil Robson for winning best musician and Kevin Le Gendre for best journalist in particular.) Though their credibility has not been helped by the recent shenanigans about MPs' expenses. But let's not forget that this is really an award of thanks and support from a group of good-natured jazz fans. No more, no less in my opinion.
Contrast this with the more supportive awards elsewhere. Les Victoires du Jazz in France, the German jazz critics' prize, the Albert Mangelsdorff Prize in Germany (worth €20,000), the Hans Koller Prize in Austria. (Germany also has a series of prizes in the various regions which help bring attention to young musicians.) The list goes on.
We need a proper system, imperfect though they may be.

No comments: