Jazz FM Awards 2018 nominees announced

PRS for Music Gold Award winner to be announced ahead of ceremony

The words 'Jazz FM Awards 2018' in blue on a black background

Bassist extraordinaire Thundercat, formidable vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, genre-bending bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding, and pioneering trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah are all up for awards alongside the cream of the thriving UK scene including Shabaka Hutchings, Nubya Garcia, Jacob Collier and Yazz Ahmed, as announced at this evening’s nominations event held in London at ‘Melomania at Cambridge Audio’.

Recognizing the best emerging new artists, contemporary jazz icons and established stars from across the worlds of jazz, soul and blues, the Jazz FM Awards are now in their fifth outing and will celebrate what has been a remarkable year for jazz which has seen the genre continue to enjoy widespread critical acclaim and a huge resurgence in popularity. The ceremony will take place at Shoreditch Town Hall on International Jazz Day on 30 April.

As well as the awards presentation, which will be hosted by Jazz FM presenters Chris Philips and Jez Nelson, the night will feature several performances from a range of acclaimed artists led by rising star pianist and MD of this year’s Jazz FM Awards House Band, Ashley Henry. Cecile McLorin Salvant, who was recently honoured at the Grammys, is the first artist confirmed to perform at the event and will showcase material from her 2017 release Dreams and Daggers. The US powerhouse vocalist has been nominated for two awards this year under the categories of International Jazz Act of the Year and Album of the Year, with the latter decided by public vote.

The recipients of the special award categories - PPL Lifetime Achievement Award, PRS For Music Gold Award and Impact Award - will be announced ahead of the ceremony. In previous years, these special award-winners have included Oscar-winning film director Damien Chazelle, Georgie Fame, Quincy Jones, Gregory Porter and the late Hugh Masekela.

Public voting is open now at and will close on Monday 2 April.

The Jazz FM Awards 2018 is a partnership between Jazz FM and Serious and is made possible with the support of Mishcon de Reya, PPL, PRS For Music, Rathbones, Oris Watches, Grange Hotels, Lateralize, Arqiva, Yamaha, RCS, Shoreditch Town Hall, Cambridge Audio, Denbies Wine Estate, Warsteiner, Sharpstream and British Airways.

Full list of 2018 Nominees:

Breakthrough Act of the Year

  • Ezra Collective
  • Nubya Garcia
  • Rob Luft

Soul Artist of the Year

Sponsored by RCS 

  • Jordan Rakei
  • Leroy Hutson
  • Moonchild

UK Jazz Act of the Year (Public Vote)

Sponsored by Cambridge Audio

  • Dinosaur
  • Ezra Collective
  • Kansas Smitty’s House Band

Digital Initiative of the Year

  • Esperanza Spalding: Exposure
  • Jacob Collier: I Harm U
  • Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club: Live Streaming

Instrumentalist of the Year

Sponsored by Grange Hotels

  • Evan Parker
  • Theon Cross
  • Yazz Ahmed

Blues Artist of the Year

  • Lucky Peterson
  • Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’
  • Robert Cray

Jazz Innovation of the Year

Sponsored by Mishcon de Reya

  • Carleen Anderson: Cage Street Memorial
  • Joe Armon-Jones and Maxwell Owin: Idiom
  • Shabaka Hutchings

Vocalist of the Year

Sponsored by Lateralise

  • Alice Zawadzki
  • Liane Carroll
  • Zara McFarlane

International Jazz Artist of the Year

Sponsored by Oris Watches

  • Cécile McLorin Salvant
  • Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
  • Thundercat

Album of the Year (Public Vote)

Sponsored by Arqiva

  • Blue Note All-Stars – Our Point of View
  • Cécile McLorin Salvant – Dreams and Daggers
  • Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah – Diaspora
  • Denys Baptiste – The Late Trane
  • Phronesis – The Behemoth
  • Thundercat – Drunk

Live Experience of the Year (Public Vote)

Sponsored by Rathbones

  • A Concert for Alice and John - Pharoah Sanders Quartet, Denys Baptiste and Alina Bzhezhinska – EFG London Jazz Festival at The Barbican
  • An evening with Dave Holland – Ambleside Days Festival at Zephirellis Cinema
  • Jazz Re:Fest at Southbank Centre
  • Makaya McCraven featuring Theon Cross Trio and Jaimie Branch Fly or Die Ensemble - CHICAGOXLONDON Day 1 at Total Refreshment Centre
  • Randolph Matthews – Jazz in the Round at Love Supreme Festival
  • Ronnie Scott’s presents Ezra Collective – EFG London Jazz Festival at Islington Assembly Hall   

PPL Lifetime Achievement Award


Impact Award


PRS For Music Gold Award


About Jazz FM

  • Jazz FM is the largest commercial jazz station in the world, celebrating the complete spectrum of jazz in all its colourful forms since 1990
  • Jazz FM broadcasters, producers and team are true devotees, with a deep love and understanding of their particular jazz shade, their passion is vivid, their enthusiasm infectious, sharing the finest jazz with everyone
  • Jazz FM co-founded Love Supreme, the widely acclaimed greenfield 3-day jazz festival and was the first commercial radio station to collaborate with the BBC in creating BBC Music Jazz – a national pop-up digital radio station
  • As the UK’s only dedicated jazz broadcaster, Jazz FM is on a mission to entertain, promote and celebrate all that’s great about jazz. Involvement with national festivals and awards is part of this - setting the bar high for live performance, recognizing outstanding talent and strengthening the jazz community
  • Jazz FM is available across the UK on DAB, DTV, online, smart phone, tablet and via Amazon Alexa
  • No matter how people tune-in they always listen in colour.

About Serious 


Serious is a producer of live jazz and international and contemporary music. Working with artists and partners from the UK and internationally, Serious creates and produces a diverse range of concerts, tours, festivals and live events. Serious creates and produces the EFG London Jazz Festival.

In addition, Serious is Associate Producer at London’s Barbican, co-programmer for Sage Gateshead’s annual International Jazz Festival and are programme consultants for Love Supreme Jazz Festival. Committed to the future of the music industry, Serious provides professional development opportunities for young and emerging artists and delivers an extensive learning and participation programme.

About AIM

The Association of Independent Music (AIM) is a trade body established in 1999 to provide a collective voice for the UK’s independent music industry.

AIM represents over 800 music companies, from the largest independent labels in the World to underground stalwarts, DIY artists, start-ups and independent distributors. AIM promotes this exciting and diverse sector globally and provides a range of services, discounts and events to members, enabling them to grow, grasp new opportunities and break into new markets.

AIM was instrumental in the creation of Merlin, the global digital rights which ensures that independents have a vehicle to protect and enhance their ability to compete in the ever changing world of digital music. In 2006 AIM worked with sister organisations across the globe to set up the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN), in response to business, creative and market access issues faced by the independent sector everywhere.

The AIM Independent Music Awards is the leading awards ceremony for independent music, shining a spotlight on the great wealth of talent to come out of the most exciting and forward thinking sector in the UK. The AIM Awards is proud to recognise the real heroes of music; those who do things their own way, make incredible music and inspire us all with their creativity, commitment & spirit.

Head to to find out more.

About BBC Music

BBC Music, led by Bob Shennan, Director of Radio and Music, is the corporation’s strongest commitment to music in 30 years – comprising of new partnerships and ground-breaking music initiatives, which include Ten Pieces, the classical music initiative for schools, and BBC Music Day. Recent programmes last include Sounds Like Friday Night, a brand new six part music show for BBC One, produced by the award-winning independent production company Fulwell 73.  Radio 2 In Concert presented Tears for Fears, CHIC feat. Nile Rodgers, Liam Gallagher and Paloma Faith and Deep Purple, with all performances on Radio 2 and in vision on BBC Red Button, produced by BBC Studios.  BBC One presented Children in Need Rocks the 80s! Harry Styles at the BBC, Sam Smith at the BBC, with U2 at the BBC in December, which follow the acclaimed Adele at the BBC and Michael Bublé at the BBC.  Also in December was Gregory Porter's Popular Voices, a new three part series on BBC Four, and The Year In Music 2017, a one hour special on BBC Two, hosted by Claudia Winkleman with guest presenter Clara Amfo, which featured the BBC Music Awards 2017. In May 2018, BBC Music presents The Biggest Weekend - a music festival with all the BBC’s music stations for over 175 000 people, taking place across four sites, in four nations, over four days celebrating the range and diversity of music supported by the BBC.

About DIT

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) has overall responsibility for promoting UK trade across the world and attracting foreign investment to our economy. We are a specialised government body with responsibility for negotiating international trade policy, supporting business, as well as delivering an outward-looking trade diplomacy strategy.

About DIY

Previous generations have had their influencer brand and, over the last fourteen years, DIY has become the music discovery media platform for a new generation of artists and fans who are still passionate about music. DIY is the UK’s largest free media platform dedicated to music and - more importantly - supporting emerging artists as a music discovery brand. We have an international following of over 1m+ a month (500,000 on social media alone), reinforced by a national presence led by our print magazine, which boasts distribution at over 200+ outlets, now including Rough Trade NYC. DIY also offers an ongoing programme of regional live events and hosts stages at festivals like The Great Escape, and Latitude where we help to showcase great new acts.

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