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
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">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
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
"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.