Press release for immediate distribution

2015 Festival Awards

The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal honours James Cotton, Erykah Badu, Al Di Meola, King Sunny Ade, Jim Galloway and Bill Milkowski

Montreal, Wednesday, May 20, 2015 — This year, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal highlights the exceptional contributions to music made by James Cotton, Erykah Badu, Al Di Meola, King Sunny Ade and Jim Galloway, as well as the remarkable oeuvre of Bill Milkowski. During this 36th edition of the Festival, our winners will be presented, respectively, with the B.B. King Award, Ella Fitzgerald Award, Miles Davis Award, Antonio Carlos Jobim Award, Oscar Peterson Award and Bruce Lundvall Award.

2015 B.B. King Award: James Cotton

James Cotton is the second recipient of the B.B. King Award, created in 2014 for the 35th edition of the Festival to honour and recognize the exceptional talent of an artist who has left an indelible mark on the blues scene. A true blues giant, James Cotton won his stripes armed with the smallest of wind instruments: the harmonica. Over 70 years into his remarkable career, the man nicknamed “Superharp” built his reputation on a fiery stage presence, energetic musicianship and a powerhouse voice. After playing with Muddy Waters for 12 years, he took the plunge in 1966 and launched a career marked by national and international tours and some thirty albums including Deep in the Blues, named Best Traditional Blues Album at the Grammy Awards. Triple Bill with Taj Mahal, John Mayall and James Cotton, June 27, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA (Événements spéciaux TD series). James Cotton succeeds the artist in whose name the trophy was created, B.B. King (2014).

2015 Ella Fitzgerald Award: Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu is the 17th recipient of the Ella Fitzgerald Award, established in 1999 for our 20th anniversary and conferred in recognition of the versatility, improvisational originality and quality of repertoire of a singer renowned on the international scene. One of the leading artists who has shaped the landscape of contemporary R&B, Erykah Badu earned the title “Queen of Neo-soul.” A major artist at Motown, she made her dazzling entry into the charts in 1997 with Baduizm, a first album poised between soul, hip-hop and jazz that was certified triple platinum and won a pair of Grammys before repeating the feat with Mama’s Gun in 2000. Her recent discography includes New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War (2008), followed by Part Two: Return of The Ankh (2010). Erykah Badu. Opening act: Charles Hamilton, June 29, 7:30 p.m. in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA (Événements spéciaux TD series). In accepting the prize, Erykah Badu will be following previous Ella Fitzgerald prizewinners 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).

2015 Miles Davis Award: Al Di Meola

Al Di Meola will be the 22nd recipient of the Miles Davis Award, created for our 15th anniversary in 1994 to honour a great international jazz musician for the entire body of his or her work and for that musician’s influence in regenerating the jazz idiom. A legendary guitarist universally hailed for his flamboyant play and impeccable, dazzling technique, Al Di Meola has established himself as a jazz fusion virtuoso of the first order in a 40+-year career, playing with the likes of Chick Corea in Return to Forever or in the super trio he formed with Paco de Lucía and John McLaughlin, creating his very own inimitable musical world marked by a multitude of Latin influences. The guitar legend offers Festival fans the full measure of his versatile talents with his latest electric tour. Al Di Meola, Elegant Gypsy & More, Electric Tour 2015, June 26, 8 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (Les Grands concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series). Al Di Meola is the latest in a series of Miles Davis prizewinners. He follows 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).

2015 Antonio Carlos Jobim Award: King Sunny Ade

King Sunny Ade is the 12th recipient of the Antonio Carlos Jobim Award, created for the Festival’s 25th anniversary to honour artists distinguished in the field of world music whose influence on the evolution of jazz and cultural crossover is widely recognized. The invincible king of juju music, born at the crossroads of pop, Afrobeat and traditional Nigerian music, King Sunny Ade ranks among the most celebrated musicians in Africa. In a career that stretches over more than a half-century, the singer, songwriter and guitarist renowned for staging fiery, flamboyant concerts reached the peak of his popularity in the ’80s, winning international acclaim with three albums, Juju Music, Synchro System and Aura, released on Island Records, and launching international tours. King Sunny Ade, June 30, 10 p.m., Club Soda (Les Nuits Heineken series). As winner of the Antonio Carlos Jobim Award, King Sunny Ade follows in the footsteps of 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).

2015 Oscar Peterson Award: Jim Galloway

Jim Galloway is the 27th artist to receive the Oscar Peterson Award, which is presented posthumously. This prize was created on the 10th anniversary of the Festival in 1989 to salute a Canadian musician who has made outstanding contributions to jazz in this country and for the quality of his art. One of the world’s premiere soprano saxophonists, Jim Galloway built his reputation with a joyous, lyrical style and his love of swing, along with a gift for dissolving the boundaries between traditional and modern jazz. He was co-founder of the du Maurier Downtown Jazz Festival (today the TD Toronto Jazz Festival). Thanks to his many collaborations with the greatest names in jazz and his globetrotting travel, Jim was a fantastic artistic director of the Festival from 1987 until his retirement in 2009. Jim Galloway passed away on December 30, 2014. As recipient of the Oscar Peterson Award, Jim Galloway follows in the footsteps of 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).

2015 Bruce Lundvall Award: Bill Milkowski

Bill Milkowski is the 7th recipient of the Bruce Lundvall Award. In keeping with a tradition launched for the Festival’s 10th edition, and repeated every five years with the addition of a new prize, the Festival marked its 30th anniversary with the creation of the Bruce Lundvall Award, presented annually to a non-musician who has left a mark on the world of jazz or contributed to the development of the music, through the media, the concert or record industries. Bill Milkowski is an independent writer based in New York and has been covering the jazz scene since 1980. Regularly featured in magazines including Down Beat, Jazziz and Absolute Sound, he is the author of JACO: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius, Swing It: An Annotated History of Jive, Rockers, Jazzbos & Visionaries and co-author of Here And Now: The Autobiography of Pat Martino. He has also written 500 booklets and liner notes, and produced recordings for Blue Note, Columbia, Concord and NYC Record label. As recipient of the Bruce Lundvall Award, Bill Milkowski follows in the footsteps of 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).

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