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Kenny G, Diana Krall Big Winners At Billboard/BET Jazz Awards

No surprises in awards process determined strictly by sales figures.

Saxophonist Kenny G and singer/pianist

Diana Krall hauled in the most prizes at

the Billboard/BET Jazz Awards on Friday.

The awards ceremony, at Black Entertainment Television's studios in

Washington, D.C., capped three days of workshops, panel discussions and

performances at the first annual Billboard/BET Jazz Conference.

Arista recording artist Kenny G won six awards to Krall's three. G won for

Best Contemporary Jazz Album and Best Contemporary Jazz Instrumental Album

for Faith. He also won for Best Contemporary Jazz Artist, Best

Contemporary Jazz Instrumentalist, Top Contemporary Jazz Saxophonist and Best

Single Artist Jazz Anthology, for Kenny G Greatest Hits.

Verve artist Krall's album When I Look in Your Eyes earned

Mainstream Jazz Album and Mainstream Jazz Vocal Album awards.

She also got the award for Mainstream Jazz Artist.

There were no surprises at the ceremony. The winners were chosen strictly on

data based on radio airplay and Soundscan, which tabulates retail sales. No

subjectivity was involved in the selection process.

Though 22 awards were given out, only a few honorees were on hand to receive

them: singer Ramsey Lewis, who won the

Best Jazz Group award; the Rippingtons,

who won Best Contemporary Jazz group; pianist Herbie

Hancock and trumpeter Donald

Byrd, who each won a Lifetime Achievement Award.

About 200 audience members were sprinkled around an auditorium that could

hold 1,000.

Hancock, who has a show on BET, called "Future Wave," and singer/pianist

ONT COLOR="#003163">Carol Welsman co-hosted the ceremony, which

will be televised on both the BET and BET on Jazz networks on July 29 at 11

p.m. (EDT). This will be the first jazz-awards ceremony to be televised to

more than 62 million homes.

Welsman, a 6-foot-2 Canadian who dwarfed her legendary co-host, opened the

show with a rendition of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." Performances

throughout the evening included pianist Eliane

Elias playing a samba-laced "But Not for Me,"

COLOR="#003163">Kurt Elling singing "The Thrill Is Gone," and the

winner in the New Artist of the Year category, pianist

COLOR="#003163">Marc Cary, playing a blues tune.

"If not for the giants of this music — like

COLOR="#003163">Pops, Bird,

Basie,

COLOR="#003163">Duke and Miles

— I wouldn’t be here, and most of these other artists wouldn’t be here

either. I am touched and honored," Byrd said upon accepting his Lifetime

Achievement prize.

Boxed Set of the Year Award went to Sony Legacy's Miles Davis and John

Coltrane: The Complete Columbia Recordings 1955–1961, which

saxophonist Gary Bartz accepted on the

winner's behalf.

"This is some of the most wonderful music ever recorded," Bartz said. "I grew

up listening to this music before playing with Miles in 1970. All I can say

is, 'Musician power!' "

Other winners were the Phil Collins Big Band, for Big Band of the Year;

guitarist Pat Metheny, for Soundtrack of

the Year, for Map of the World; and Keith

Jarrett, for Top Jazz Pianist, Mainstream Jazz Instrumentalist,

and Mainstream Jazz Instrumental Album, for The Melody at Night, With

You, on ECM.

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