Thursday, 07 Jun 2018

Top jazz talent recognised at the NZ Jazz Awards

The winners of the Recorded Music NZ Best Jazz Artist and the APRA Best Jazz Composition were announced tonight at an awards event ahead of the opening of the Wellington Jazz Festival.

Umar Zakaria was awarded Best Jazz Artist for Fearless Music and the Best Jazz Composition was awarded to Anita Schwabe for ‘Springtide’.

Umar’s career is exciting to follow. At just 25-years-old, Umar has already performed internationally with jazz legends like Bob Moses (US), Hagai Bilitzky (Israel), Rob van Bavel (Netherlands), Snorre Kirk (Denmark), Magnus Hjorth (Sweden), Steve Barry, and Mark Lockett, among others.

The album Fearless Music is a strong collection of tracks recorded in collaboration with some of New Zealand’s top jazz musicians.

Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan says Fearless Music is an exceptional record, and Umar is well deserving of the Best Jazz Artist Tui.

“It will be fascinating to see where his career takes him – both here in New Zealand and overseas. I feel like he’s just getting started.”

The APRA Best Jazz Composition was awarded to Anita Schwabe for ‘Springtide’ off her 2018 album Eat Your Greens.

Anita is a jazz pianist and composer who has been a lecturer at the jazz school in Wellington since 1995, who has an impressive resume of live shows including major New Zealand festivals and international venues such as Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

APRA AMCOS Head of New Zealand Operations Ant Healey says: “It’s important for us to be able to celebrate the wonderful work of jazz composers in New Zealand, and to witness the strength and breadth of talent in this community as we come together for the NZ Jazz Awards. Anita has been a well-respected jazz musician and composer for many years, and we’re delighted to see this award go to ‘Springtide’, which is a great reflection of her artistry.”

Anita will be performing her new album at the Wellington Jazz Festival on 8 June as part of the free Jazz at St Peter’s programme.

Other finalists for the Recorded Music NZ Best Jazz Artist were Hayden Chisholm, Norman Meehan,and Paul Dyne for Unwind and Lucien Johnson for West of the Sun.

Callum Allardice for ‘A Gathering’, and Jake Baxendale for ‘Beyond The Palace’ were the other finalists for the APRA Best Jazz Composition.

The awards were announced at the opening night of the Wellington Jazz Festival, which runs from Wednesday 6 through to Sunday 10 June, and features around 150 gigs with local and international jazz performers throughout the week.

Finalists for Recorded Music NZ Best Jazz Artist

  • Winner: Umar Zakaria – Fearless Music
  • Hayden Chisholm, Norman Meehan and Paul Dyne – Unwind
  • Lucien Johnson – West of the Sun

Finalists for APRA Best Jazz Composition

  • Winner: Anita Schwabe– ‘Springtide’
  • Callum Allardice – ‘A Gathering’
  • Jake Baxendale – ‘Beyond The Palace’

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