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                     Last night witnessed Jazz FM’s annual awards bash held on UNESCO’s International Jazz Day at Shoreditch Town Hall. Compeered by long-serving Jazz FM DJs Chris Phillips and Jez Nelson, the star-studded event included several outstanding live performances, most notably from  jazz wunderkind and Quincy Jones’ protégé Jacob Collier, for once minus his bag of hi-tech effects gizmos and impressing by accompanying his singing with just solo acoustic piano. The jazz collective, Steam Down, also performed, with US drummer Makaya McCraven guesting, as well as the UK’s own soul queen, Beverley Knight, who offered up a heartfelt tribute to the late Aretha Franklin with an impassioned rendition of ‘(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman.’

Awards-wise, it was a night of triumph for many UK musicians, including saxophonist, Nubya Garcia, an award-winner for the second-year running, this time in the category of Best UK Jazz Act. Other British winners were Jacob Collier (who was congratulated by a video message from his mentor, Quincy Jones) , soul singer, Poppy Ajdudha, plus the bands Sons Of Kemet (for their album, ‘The Queen Is A Reptile’) and Steam Down, plus Cassie Kinoshi, singer Cherise Adams-Burnett. Another UK resident, American-born saxophonist and erstwhile Jazz Messenger, Jean Toussaint, also picked up a gong as did Louis Cole, Makaya McCraven, blues maven, Eric Bibb – who had earlier performed a duet with Cherise Adams-Burnett.

The final award of the evening went to iconic jazz label, Blue Note Records, and its president, record producer, Don Was, who, looking visibly chuffed, said: “This is really cool – it means a lot to me. I’m going to cherish this. I first heard Blue Note Records in 1966. I was 14 years old and living in Detroit, Michigan. I thought the records were visionary, they were cool,  they were intelligent. They helped me to stay in touch with my hopes and my dreams and they could turn negative vibrations into positive ones. And when they couldn’t, they could help me groove in the face of adversity. And I said back then that I wanted to spend my life making music and I did that, but I never saw a sweet moment like this coming. So, on behalf of my predecessors in the gig, Alfred Lion, Frances Wolff and Bruce Lundvall, on behalf of the wonderful people that have worked at Blue Note over the years, on behalf of the array of incredible musicians who graced the roster of the label, I thank you for this incredible moment.”

Was received celebrity endorsement from ex-Beatle, Ringo Starr, who said: “Good evening everybody, just wanted to say a few words on behalf of Don Was for the Jazz FM Awards. You’ve played on a lot of my tracks over the years… Congratulations, I’m sure you’re all having a great night. Peace and love – you deserve it, love you Don!”

Here is the full list of the night’s winners:

Breakthrough Act sponsored by GHS Global Hospitality: Cassie Kinoshi
The Digital Award sponsored by Oanda: Louis Cole
The Innovation Award sponsored by Mishcon De Reya: Steam Down
Instrumentalist Of The Year sponsored by Savile Row Gin: Jean Toussaint
International Jazz Act Of The Year sponsored by Lateralize: Makaya McCraven
Soul Act Of The Year sponsored by RCS: Poppy Ajudha
Blues Act Of The Year sponsored by British Airways: Eric Bibb
Vocalist Of The Year sponsored by Denbies: Cherise Adams-Burnett
UK Jazz Act (Public Vote) sponsored by Cambridge Audio: Nubya Garcia
Album Of The Year (Public Vote) sponsored by Arqiva: Sons Of Kemet – Your Queen Is A Reptile
Live Experience Of The Year (Public Vote) sponsored by Yamaha UK: Steam Down featuring Kamasi Washington
PRS for Music Gold Award: Jacob Collier
PPL Lifetime Achievement Award: Don Was and Blue Note Records