The NZ Music Awards season took another step this week with the announcement of the winner of the 2018 Jazz Awards made ahead of the opening of the Wellington Jazz Festival.
Impressive 25-year old bassist and composer Umar Zakaria was named as the Best Jazz Artist for his album ‘Fearless Music’, which also features contributions from Roger Manins, Leonardo Coghini and Luther Hunt.
A graduate of the NZ School of Music and the New England Conservatory in Boston, Zakaria has gained a reputation for emotionally stirring performances. His innovative compositions and arrangements unite diverse musical traditions in an effort to inspire communication and co-operation across ideological boundaries.
The award for Best Jazz Composition went to Wellington jazz pianist, composer and lecturer Anita Schwabe for Springtide, a track from her 2018 album ‘Eat Your Greens’. Callum Allardice and Jake Baxendale were the other Best Jazz Composition finalists.
Unlucky-this-time finalists for the Best Jazz Artist award were Hayden Chisholm, Norman Meehan, and Paul Dyne for ‘Unwind’ and Wellington saxophonist/composer Lucien Johnson for his album ‘West Of The Sun’.