Jazz News: Doris Duke Awards, Piano Competition, Jones & Jillette CD review

Jun 30, 2018

The 2018 Doris Duke Artist Awards for jazz go to… NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater, violinist Regina Carter and vibraphonist Stefon Harris.  It’s akin to the MacArthur genius grant, with a $250,000 flexible fund for their creative endeavors, and an extra $25,000 for retirement savings, something many jazz artists do not have. LINK: Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

And another major jazz award was announced this month, winning the inaugural Ellis Marsalis International Jazz Piano Competition at Marshall University in West Virginia is… Philadelphia’s Ben Paterson.

The seven finalists from around the world had to play solo, in an instrumental trio, in a quartet with a vocalist and in multiple jazz styles.  Downbeat.com quotes judge Arturo O’Farrill on the competition. “You have taken a great risk with your ego and with your art.  If you … come out unscathed, then that’s a more important lesson.”

The prize package includes a $25,000 grant, and a contract with ELM Records, management, promotion and booking support, and 12 gigs already set up. LINK to Downbeat.com article

The new piano player in Vegas has been doing his thing on the down-low for 16 years at the Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio Hotel & Casino.  E-Jazz News.com writes up this player, Mike Jones, as a “technical, harmonic and melodic wizard.”  And over his shoulder on the string bass, illusion-buster Penn Jillette himself.  Indulging his ambition to move from electric bass to upright, Teller brought in Jones to be the music director for the Penn & Teller Show, and give him a venue to improve his technique on the walking bass and trading fours.

EJazzNews.com reviews the duo’s new CD recording on Capri Records called “The Show Before the Show,” which includes Great American Songbook, Brazilian, and jazz standard fare. LINK to EJazzNews.com review