Winners of the Estonian Jazz Awards announced!

Estonian Jazz Awards. Photo: Siiri Padar

On 26 April the Jazz Estonia and Jazzkaar Festival announced this year’s winners of Estonian Jazz Awards. Due to the state of emergency, the awards were presented for the first time via a live broadcast from Philly Joe’s Jazz Club. The award ceremony was broadcast live on Delfi portal and the Jazzkaar Facebook page and can be rewatched here.

Already for the 14th time, Estonian Jazz Awards were presented to outstanding local jazz musicians. Awards were given in five categories: Jazz Musician of the Year 2020 is the pianist and pedagogue Joel Remmel; Young Jazz Talent 2020 was awarded to the singer and violinist Marianne Leibur; selected as Jazz Ensemble of the Year 2020 is Kadri Voorand in duo with Mihkel Mälgand that has also gained international recognition; Jazz Composer of the Year 2020 was awarded to the composer and double bass player Mingo Rajandi, and the Jazz Promoter of the Year 2020 award was given to the jazz festival with the longest tradition in Estonia, TUJA / Student Jazz.

“My emotions are extremely positive and this really bring a smile on my face. It may sound like fake modesty, but having been selected the Jazz Musician of the Year came as a huge surprise to me. Moments like this make me look in the mirror and think about how I have reached where I am? I am grateful to all the people, especially my family and fellow musicians, with whom I could share this path. It also gives me the responsibility and impetus to continue my journey,” pianist and composer Joel Remmel commented on his winning of the Jazz Musician of the Year 2020 award.

Jazz Musician of the Year 2020 was awarded to the versatile pianist and pedagogue Joel Remmel, who has been leading his group, Joel Remmel Trio for nine years already and has released four studio albums which have received acclaim from critics as well as listeners. On 1 May the pianist will release his first LP of his solo music, Live at Taff Club. The Jazz Musician of the Year award recognises the most active and professional jazz musicians in Estonia, who have stood out the most with their creative work during the recent years. Jazz Musician of the Year receives the monetary prize of EUR 3,500, presented in cooperation with Estonian Authors’ Society and Viru Keskus.

Young Jazz Talent 2020 was awarded to the soloist, violinist and songwriter Marianne Leibur for her outstanding activity. Having released her debut album at the end of 2019, Leibur is currently pursuing her master’s degree at the Jazz Department of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. The Young Jazz Talent award recognises the initiative and high level of young musicians and encourages their endeavours. The prize for the winner of Young Jazz Talent 2020 was presented by Telliskivi Creative City, sending her to the largest jazz festival in Europe, North Sea Jazz.

The title of Jazz Promoter of the Year 2020 was awarded to Tudengijazz (TUJA), the jazz festival with the longest tradition in Estonia. The aim of TUJA is to support the initiative, creativity and international cooperation of young musicians, and through this also the development of Estonian jazz. The festival brings together young talents from Estonia and other European countries, with the desire to offer students an output for the creation and performance of their works. The festival also presents international projects of new compositions and promotes the development of knowledge through seminars. The aim of the award, presented for the 12th time, is to recognise a person or an organisation that has made a significant contribution to the promotion and development of jazz music in Estonia. Jazz Promoter of the Year receives the smartest coffee machine, Jura ENA8 Full Metropolitan Black from our main sponsor, JURA, as well as a free pass to all concerts of Jazzkaar and Jazz Estonia during the period of one year.

Jazz Ensemble of the Year 2020 was awarded to Kadri Voorand and Mihkel Mälgand for their album In Duo with Mihkel Mälgand. Both artists have previously also won the title of Jazz Musician of the Year at Estonian Jazz Awards. As a duo they mainly play original music for vocal, bass and piano. Their soulfully poetical songs always leave room for improvisation as well as electronic effects. The aim of the Jazz Ensemble of the Year award, presented for the fifth year, is to encourage the original music and concert activity of ensembles. Jazz Ensemble of the Year receives a monetary prize of EUR 1,000, presented in cooperation with a private sponsor.

Jazz Composer of the Year award was given to Mingo Rajandi, composer and double bass player, artistic director of several ensembles and initiator of diverse interdisciplinary projects. Her most recent major works include the interdisciplinary stage production Creating Gods commissioned for the Arvo Pärt Days, the project Trees Talk with world-famous bassoonist Martin Kuuskmann, which premiered at the Estonian Music Week in Toronto, and the production Double Bass at the Estonian Drama Theatre, which was recognised with the Estonian Theatre Award. She is also the leader of the Mingo Rajandi Quintet, which recently recorded their first studio album. Jazz Composer of the Year is awarded to jazz composers who contribute to the fresh creation in the field of jazz and collaborate with musicians both in Estonia and abroad. Jazz Composer of the Year receives a monetary prize of EUR 2,000, presented in cooperation with the Estonian Authors’ Society.

All winners will also receive a sculpture by Tiiu Kirsipuu. More than 90 names were nominated for the Estonian Jazz Awards, from which the jury selected this year’s nominees. Winners of the Estonian Jazz Awards were selected as a result of the joint vote of the jury and the audience, where the audience vote was equal to one jury vote. The 2020 Jazz Awards were presented by the Jazz Estonia and the Jazzkaar Festival in cooperation with a private sponsor of jazz music, Estonian Authors’ Society, Eesti Päevaleht, Viru Keskus, JURA and Telliskivi Creative City. The broadcast was facilitated by Philly Joe’s Jazz Club and the team of Babahh Media.

The 31st Tallinn International Festival Jazzkaar will take place from 9 to 15 October 2020 in various places around Estonia and on 3 November at Alexela Concert Hall. The programme of the Jazzkaar Festival 2020, which was postponed to this autumn, can be found here. The 17th concert season of the Jazz Estonia will be opened with concerts in September and will include events in various places around Estonia. The programme will be announced in May both on their website and on social media.

Main sponsors of the festival are JURA, Jazz Pesulad and Eesti Päevaleht. Annual sponsors are My City Hotel, BMW, Tallink and Aktaprint. The concert of the legendary jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater will be presented by Viru Keskus. The festival hub is set up with the help of Prike, Telliskivi Creative City and Fotografiska Tallinn. We are also sponsored by Overall, MyFitness, Kodupaber, NOBE, Estonian Public Broadcasting and Estonian Authors’ Society. Embassy of Norway and Embassy of Sweden help us bring the musicians of their countries to Estonia. We are also grateful to the Ministry of Culture, the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the City of Tallinn and Enterprise Estonia for their support.

Press photos of the winners can be seen here.
Press photos from the award ceremony can be seen here. Photos: Siiri Padar


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