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Transcultural jazz prize: The winner of the 2nd Achava Jazz Award is the Miguel Zenón Quartet

Miguel Zenón Quartet | Photo: Jimmy Katz

Transcultural jazz prize: The winner of the 2nd Achava Jazz Award is the Miguel Zenón Quartet

Of the seven finalists of the Board of Trustees, the jury selected the Miguel Zenón Quartet. The namesake of the winners of the 2nd ACHAVA Jazz Award is the saxophonist Miguel Zenón, who was born and grew up in Puerto Rico and currently lives in New York. His music is a perfect blend of Latin folk music and jazz. The quartet also includes: Luis Perdomo (piano), Hans Glawischnig (double bass) and Henry Cole (drums).

The reasoning of the jury: New York-based saxophonist Miguel Zenón resists habits. His music is complex and clear at the same time, finely structured and far-reaching, artfully planned and openly conceived. For more than two decades, she has combined the rhythms and forms of his Puerto Rican roots with the style achievements of modern jazz, linking the two worlds to a whole that hovers between the various lines of development. The result is a transcultural work of art that goes far beyond the usual possibilities of jazz design. A master of the subtle with the profound power of reflected tradition. (Ralf Dombrowski for the jury)

The award distinguishes an artistically outstanding band project that focuses its work on the transcultural character of jazz on a very high artistic level by blending folk music, popular music or European art music, etc. into the improvisational or compositional characteristics of jazz.

On 28 September 2019, the award will be presented in a special concert and workshop by the award winner and Avishai Cohen as part of the Achava Festival at Weimarhalle Weimar.

The Achava Jazz Award is a coproduction of the Achava Festspiele Thüringen and the Institute of Jazz and Contemporary Music, University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar.

It honors an artistically outstanding band project that places the transcultural character of jazz at the center of its creative work and translates this into the highest artistic level by using jazz's improvisational or compositional means of expression, for example, folk music, popular music or European art music mixed. From the very beginning, jazz has always been transcultural. More than one hundred years ago it was born of the encounter between Afro-Americans and European immigrants in the southern USA.

Since then, musicians throughout the world have adopted this means of expression and have continued to develop it – and, during the past 50 years, they have done so increasingly independently of the jazz history in the USA. Using their own individual artistic expression, interaction and improvisation, today’s jazz musicians work against musical borders and cartographies, even against the idea of a nationally limited culture. Moreover, they emphasise the musical values that transcend countries, cultures and traditions.

The top-class jury consists of a total of 7 members who decide on the selection of the board of trustees. People from crossover areas such as world music, popular or European art music should be given special consideration.

The jury includes:
Prof. Manfred Bründl (artistic director, University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar)
Günther Huesmann (SWR, Head of Jazz Editorial, dept. Contemp. Music/Jazz)
Martin Kranz (intendant and artistic director of Achava Festspiele Thüringen)
Ramesh Shotham (musician)
Ralf Dombrowski (journalist, Süddeutsche Zeitung)
Prof. Dr. Martin Pfleiderer (Univers. of Music Weimar)
Prof. Dr. Jascha Nemtsov (Scientific Director Achava, University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar)

Board of Trustees
The professors of the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar: Jo Thönes, Wolfgang Bleibel, Jeff Cascaro, Michael Schiefel and Achim Kaufmann as well as Tatiana Parra (Achava Jazz Award winner 2017), Vardan Ovsepian (Achava Jazz Award winner 2017), the musicians Jaak Sooäär (University of Music Tallinn/ Estonia), Stefan Schultze, Peter Ehwald, Jarry Singla, Christian Ramond as well as Thomas Eckardt from Jazzmeile Thuringia

Project coordinator is Thomas Sode.

Selection Procedure
Since this is a jury prize, each jury member was asked to propose several artists or ensembles. The board of trustees created a list of seven from a total of 16 bands. In an extraordinary meeting the jury, chaired by the artistic director, then nominated the award-winning formation on 28 March 2019.

Award ceremony on 28 September 2019
The prize will be awarded on 28 September 2019, during a festive ceremony at the Weimarhalle Weimar, also including a special concert and workshop by the prizewinning ensemble and Avishai Cohen as part of the Achava Festival.

Achava, Hebrew: Brotherhood, stands for intercultural dialogue and respect for others. The Achava Festspiele have taken place every year since 2015.

More information about the programme of the Achava Festspiele Thuringia: www.achava-festspiele.de


Jan Kreyßig
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