NEW YORK Bassist Dave Holland, who took home four awards, was the big winner at Sunday's Jazz Journalists Association Awards 2000 ceremony.
Big names such as Ornette Coleman and Tito Puente also were honored at the gathering, hosted at the Knitting Factory. But Holland scored the most swag. He won awards for Musician of the Year, Bassist of the Year, Live Performance of the Year and Record of the Year for Prime Directive, which includes the track "Make Believe" (RealAudio excerpt).
Holland, who was rehearsing his big band for a July 1 gig at the Montreal Jazz Festival, was unable to accept the award in person. Instead, he asked his daughter and manager, Louise Holland, to stand in and shoulder home his collection of trophies.
"My father appreciates these awards quite a bit and wishes he could have been here to thank you all personally," Louise Holland said.
(Click here for a full list of Jazz Awards 2000 winners.)
The ceremony was held in the main space of the nightclub that was once the nexus of New York's Downtown music scene. (The Knitting Factory now shares that status with Tonic, a club also located in lower Manhattan.)
A Community Feel
As Sex Mob's Solid Sender played in the background, a crowd of about 150 to 200 artists, industry folk and friends ate, drank and hung out.
The event seemed to cultivate a sense of community among those involved in playing, presenting and writing about jazz.
"It's really nice to come down here and hang with guys who I have played with and haven't seen in a while," said nominated trumpeter Terence Blanchard. "It doesn't even matter if I win an award or not. Just seeing guys get some recognition for their playing makes it worthwhile."
Howard Mandel, president of the JJA, did everything from setting up food and greeting attendees at the door to sharing in announcing nominees and winners from the stage. "We are expecting anywhere from 20 to 2,000 people here," he said with a grin. The space was filled but not packed, allowing for people to meet and greet with relative ease.
Age, Youth Both Served
Established and new artists, young and old, walked away with what are essentially critics' choice awards.
Legendary musicians were among the winners. Saxophonist and composer Coleman received the Lifetime Achievement in Jazz award. Puente the late giant of the timbale was honored as Master of Other Percussion of the Year, and 75-year-old Roy Haynes landed Drummer of the Year honors.
To the surprise of virtually no one, the best reissue of the year went to Miles Davis and John Coltrane: Complete Columbia Studio Recordings. The producer of that reissue, Bob Belden, was on hand to collect the award.
Moving rapidly from up-and-comer to acknowledged leader is vibist Stefon Harris, 27, a repeat winner of JJA awards. Last year, he won for Best Debut Recording with Red Cloud of Dust. For 2000, Harris won Marimba/Vibist of the Year.
Pianist Jason Moran captured Best Debut Recording with his Soundtrack to Human Motion, Kurt Elling captured the Best Male Vocalist Award and Greg Osby won Best Alto Saxophonist.
Osby seemed less than thrilled. "Of course it's nice to be honored for what takes a ton of work," he said. "It's good to get recognition. But can you put a trophy between two slices of bread and make a sandwich? Can you eat a trophy?
"I don't mean to be cynical, but I've been doing this for a long time, and it seems like now I'm getting attention because I made a few records that featured elders. [1999's Friendly Fire with tenor titan Joe Lovano, and this year's The Invisible Hand with guitarist Jim Hall.] Maybe that's not the case, but it seems coincidental. Hopefully, this will lead to more fruitful work situations."
A Few Surprises
Consensus around the room was that Russell Malone was a surprise winner for Best Guitarist. "I thought Jim Hall, for sure," said a well-known saxophonist who requested anonymity.
Malone was pleased with his victory and said, "I need to thank guys like Wes Montgomery and Eddie Lang, who planted the tree that I stand in the shade of."
A few eyebrows were raised when Jazzhouse.org, the website of the JJA, and "Future Jazz," Mandel's book, won awards for Best Website and Best Book. "That's a little self-congratulatory, don't you think?" a guest noted.
Moran stopped on his way out the door and said it was a good hang. "I'm happy I won and everything, but it's fun to talk with guys whose playing you've been checking out," he said. "Maybe do some playing together."