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2016 Festival awards

2016 B.B. King Award: Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal A towering troubadour and explorer of African-American music, American bluesman, singer and multi-instrumentalist Taj Mahal opened the scope of the blues to Caribbean rhythms, funk, zydeco and African stylings. An undisputed blues master honoured with a Lifetime Achievement for Performance Award in 2014, his 55-year career features over forty albums under his name and collaborations with such giants as The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Ry Cooder, B.B. King, Bob Marley, John Lee Hooker and Miles Davis.

Taj Mahal succeeds James Cotton (2015) and the artist in whose name the trophy was created, B.B. King (2014).

All the B.B King Award recipients

2016 Ella Fitzgerald Award: Gregory Porter

Gregory Porter Drawing comparisons to Nat King Cole and Donny Hathaway, American singer and songwriter Gregory Porter proudly carries the torch handed down by the great African-American singers of the ’60s and ’70s. Thanks to his unique style and a vocal grandeur in constant evolution, Gregory Porter has made his name as an immense talent and established himself in the pantheon of contemporary vocal jazz. His discography includes such notable albums as Water (2010), Be Good (2012) and Liquid Spirit (2013), a platinum (one million copies) release and winner of the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album, as well as Take Me to the Alley (2016).

In accepting the prize, Gregory Porter will be following previous Ella Fitzgerald prizewinners Erykah Badu (2015), Diana Ross (2014), Holly Cole (2013), Liza Minnelli (2012), Sade (2011), The Manhattan Transfer (2010), John Pizzarelli (2009), Aretha Franklin (2008), Harry Connick, Jr., (2007), Etta James (2006), Al Jarreau (2005) Tony Bennett (2004), Bobby McFerrin (2003), Dianne Reeves (2002), Diana Krall (2001), Dee Dee Bridgewater (2000) and Diane Schuur (1999).

All the Ella Fitzgerald Award recipients

2016 Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award: Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson The “Mozart of pop-rock”: that’s how the ’60s press nicknamed the young Californian behind the Beach Boys. The songwriter responsible for such universal classics as I Get Around, Surfin' U.S.A., Wouldn't It Be Nice and Good Vibrations as well as legendary album Pet Sounds, he founded the Beach Boys in 1961 with brothers Dennis and Carl, his cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine. In 1988, Brian Wilson launched a brilliant solo career, recording 11 albums and touring the world.

As a recipient of the Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award, Brian Wilson follows in the footsteps of Elvis Costello (2014), James Taylor (2012), Robert Plant (2011), Smokey Robinson (2010), Stevie Wonder (2009), Leonard Cohen (2008), Bob Dylan (2007) and Paul Simon (2006).

All the Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award recipients

2016 Miles Davis Award: Kenny Barron

Kenny BarronHailed by the Los Angeles Times as one of the world’s greatest jazz pianists, Kenny Barron launched his career with the Mel Melvin Orchestra. A tireless collaborator, he has played alongside such notables as Ron Carter, Yusef Lateef, Charlie Haden, Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie. Nominated for 9 Grammy Awards, he has performed on over 200 recordings and released over forty albums as a leader, including Green Chimneys (1983), People Time (1992), Wanton Spirit (1995), Spirit Song (2000), Canta Brasil (2002), Images (2004), Traveler with Lionel Loueke (2008) and The Art of Conversation (2014) with Dave Holland.

Kenny Barron is the latest in a series of Miles Davis prizewinners. He follows Al Di Meola (2015), Terence Blanchard (2014), Charles Lloyd (2013), Ron Carter (2012), Stanley Clarke (2011), Sonny Rollins (2010), Ornette Coleman (2009), McCoy Tyner (2008), Mike Stern (2007), Brad Mehldau (2006), Dave Holland (2005), Keith Jarrett (2004), Joe Zawinul (2003), Chick Corea (2002), Michael Brecker (2001), Charlie Haden (2000), Cassandra Wilson (1999), John Scofield (1998), Herbie Hancock (1997), Wayne Shorter (1996), Pat Metheny (1995) and John McLaughlin (1994).

All the Miles Davis Award recipients

2016 Antonio Carlos Jobim Award: Lila Downs

Lila Downs Singer, dancer and Mexican activist Lila Downs owes her renown as an extraordinary artist to her astonishing reinterpretation of traditional Mexican music, weaving in the roots of cumbia, jazz, gospel, hip-hop, and rock, singing in Mixtec, Zapotec, Maya, Nahuatl, English and Spanish. She emerged on the Latin-American scene in the ’90s and rose to international success in 2001 thanks to the song La Línea and album Border. Winner of a Grammy and four Latin Grammy Awards, she has released 9 studio albums, including Pecados y Milagros in 2011 and her most recent, Balas y Chocolate, in 2015.

As winner of the Antonio Carlos Jobim Award, Lila Downs follows in the footsteps of King Sunny Ade (2015), Paco de Lucía (2014), Amadou & Mariam (2013), Emir Kusturica (2012), Youssou N’Dour (2011), Richard Bona (2010), Toots & The Maytals (2009), Gilberto Gill (2008), Angélique Kidjo (2007), Salif Keita (2006), Khaled (2005) and Ibrahim Ferrer (2004).

All the Antonio Carlos Jobim Award recipients

2016 Oscar Peterson Award: Karen Young

Karen Young Singer, composer and guitarist Karen Young has welcomed all possible styles, languages and eras to her art. Her powerful voice is perfect for jazz, and lends itself equally well to soul music, rock, folk and world music, all while spanning the sounds of the centuries. Her career is marked by ten albums and a number of collaborations, including Contredanse (1988) with Michel Donato and Âme, corps et désir (2008), as well as Missa Campanula (2015), a polychoral mass in Latin dedicated to her mother.

As recipient of the Oscar Peterson Award, Karen Young follows in the footsteps of Jim Galloway (2015), Ron Di Lauro (2014), Alain Caron (2013), Peter Appleyard (2012), Jean-Pierre Zanella (2011), Don Thompson (2010), Susie Arioli (2009), Dave Young (2008), François Bourassa (2007), Yannick Rieu (2006), Bernard Primeau (2005), Diana Krall (2004), Kenny Wheeler (2003), Lorraine Desmarais (2002), Moe Koffman (2001), Charles Biddle (2000), Maynard Ferguson (1999), Guy Nadon (1998), Rob McConnell (1997), Nelson Symonds (1996), Michel Donato (1995), Paul Bley (1994), Fraser MacPherson (1993), Vic Vogel (1992), UZEB (1991), Oliver Jones (1990) and, of course, Oscar Peterson (1989).

All the Oscar Peterson Award recipients

2016 Bruce Lundvall Award: Jim West

Jim West The founder and president of Justin Time, the biggest jazz label in Canada, Jim West has been at the heart of the Canadian jazz scene for over 30 years. In 1983, the former buyer for Sam the Record Man founded an independent Montreal record label named Justin Time in his basement, specializing in Canadian jazz artists, as well as a distribution company, Fusion III. The roster of artists he has signed includes such legends as Oscar Peterson, Oliver Jones, Paul Bley, Taj Mahal, Buddy Guy and Diana Krall.

As recipient of the Bruce Lundvall Award, Jim West follows in the footsteps of Bill Milkowski (2015), Jean-Philippe Allard (2014), Tommy LiPuma (2013), Michael Cuscuna (2012), George Wein (2011), Herman Leonard (2010) and the man whose name graces the trophy, Bruce Lundvall (2009).

All the Bruce Lundvall Award recipients

2016 TD Grand Jazz Award: Brad Cheeseman Group

Brad CheesemanThe Festival International de Jazz de Montréal in collaboration with TD—official sponsor and presenter of the event—are pleased to be present the 35th TD Grand Jazz Award to Brad Cheeseman Group, which was deemed best of 9 other jazz ensembles who took part in the pan-Canadian competition. Coming from the Toronto scene, the Brad Cheeseman Group has been blending the rich language of jazz with elements of rock, R&B and fusion, since its beginnings, in 2012. The band was nominated for “Best Jazz Instrumental” at the 2015 Toronto Independent Music Awards and won the 2013 “Instrumental Recording of the Year” at the Hamilton Music Awards. In addition to his work with the BCG, bassist, composer, arranger and instructor Brad Cheeseman has played in a number of outfits and performed with many great Canadian jazz musicians, including Bruce Cassidy, Terry Clarke, Paul DeLong, Adrean Farrugia, John Macleod, Reg Schwager and Nancy Walker. Winner of a number of awards and distinctions, his refined compositions unfurl all the subtleties of excellent modern jazz.

Created in 1982 by the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, the Grand Jazz Award has become a springboard for local musicians with bright futures in jazz. Every summer, the awarding of the TD Grand Jazz Award has increasingly drawn the interest of the general public, as well as observers of the national and international jazz scenes, giving that last big boost to groups or artists on the verge of general recognition.

As a recipient of the TD Grand Jazz Award, Brad Cheeseman Group follows in the footsteps of Rachel Therrien Quintet (2015), Pram Trio (2014), Hutchinson Andrew Trio (2013), Robi Botos (2012), Alexandre Côté (2011), Parc X Trio (2010) and Amanda Tosoff (2009).

All the TD Grand Jazz Award recipients

2016 Stingray Rising Star Award: Tara Kannangara

Tara Kannangara Stingray Music is proud to be associated with the TD Grand Jazz Award. The 2015 Stingray Rising Star Award is going to Tara Kannangara for her piece The House Where I Live, considered by the jury to be the best composition presented in this year’s contest. In addition to a $5,000 grant, the winner will also be given visibility on the Stingray music network and in their magazine all across Canada. By encouraging these upcoming stars, Stingray Music is fulfilling one of its heartfelt objectives.

As a recipient of the Stingray Rising Star Award, Tara Kannangara follows in the footsteps of Florian Hoefner (2015), Rick Rosato (2014), Shirantha Beddage (2013), Don Scott (2012), John Roney (2011), Darren Sigesmund (2010) and Vincent Gagnon (2009).

All the Stingray Rising Star Award recipients

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