Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) Announces 2021 Jazz Heroes
The Jazz Journalists Association today announced a slate of 23 Jazz Heroes – defined as "activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz" – from 21 U.S. locales to be celebrated for their energy, imagination and resilience in sustaining communities of artists and audiences.
Most of these Heroes, whether in Atlanta or Portland, Oregon, the District of Columbia or Montana, Kansas City, the San Francisco Bay Area or Washington Heights, notably upped their games in response to challenges resulting from 2020's pandemic, economic crisis and social-political turmoil.
The 2021 JJA Jazz Heroes include:
• Gail Boyd, entertainment lawyer and founder of the trending Facebook group "Alternative Venues for Jazz, "
• John Dimitriou, whose Jazz Alley kitchen in Seattle has served nearly 100, 000 free meals to those in need since the pandemic struck,
• Marguerite Horberg, who has stepped up online programming connecting musicians of Chicago and Havana, and beyond;
• Electric bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma, producer of Philadelphia's Outsiders Improvised and Creative Music Festival;
• Henry Wong, whose Baltimore listening room, An die Musik, was among the earliest to pivot from live-in-person to live-streamed performance.
In addition: MJ Williams keeps the jazz flame alive in Montana; Philip Bither curates new jazz and improvisation for Minneapolis' Walker Art Museum; F. Norman Vickers reports on traditional (mostly) jazz from Pensacola; José Massó broadcasts Con Salsa bilingually in Boston; Bret "the Jazz Video Guy" Primack has expanded his purview in Tucson; Susan J. Ross is the "PhotoGriot" of Atlanta; and Gerald Dunn is the Jazz Disciple of Kansas City.
For the complete list of 2021 JJA Jazz Heroes, go to www.JJAJazzAwards.org/2021-Jazz-Heroes/
The JJA first hailed an "A Team" (for "activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors") in 2001, citing Dr. Billy Taylor and other founders of the Jazz Foundation of America for their good works. Over the past 20 years, the "A Team" has been renamed as "Jazz Heroes, " and the honor roll, based on nominations from the Hero's local supporters, has included arts administrators, collective organizers, health care providers, instrument repair specialists, educators, presenters, producers, media mavens, extraordinarily devoted fans and many musicians who have deeply invested in their communities.
A non-profit 501 (c) 3 international professional organization, the Jazz Journalists Association produces the annual JJA Jazz Awards, as well as panel discussions, webinars, workshops and other programming in support of writers, photographers, broadcasters, videographers and other content providers covering jazz in all forms, in all media.
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