NEWS: Vibraphonist Jonny Mansfield wins 2018 Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize

Jonny Mansfield
Photo credit: Royal Academy of Music

Peter Bacon reports:

This year’s Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize, its eighth annual award for a graduating jazz musician at the Royal Academy of Music who demonstrates excellence in performance and composition, has been won by Jonny Mansfield, the RAM and Edition Records announced today.

Mansfield (22), a vibraphonist and composer based in London, wins the opportunity to release his proposed album on the Edition Records label – it will come out in 2019.

The press release continues:

“Mansfield follows in the footsteps of the highly-acclaimed previous winners; saxophonist Josh Arcoleo (2011), trumpeter Reuben Fowler (2012), vocalist Lauren Kinsella (2013), bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado (2014), vibraphonist Ralph Wyld (2015), guitarist Rob Luft (2016), and saxophonist Tom Barford (2017) whose album is released on 31 August 2018.

“The judging panel – Dave Stapleton: Edition Records Founder and Producer, Nick Smart: the Academy’s Head of Jazz and Evan Parker: saxophonist and lifelong collaborator of the late Wheeler – met in June to decide the winner.

“Evan Parker said: ‘This prize honours the life and work of a musician who was distinguished not simply as a magnificently gifted improvising instrumentalist, but also as a composer and arranger. In awarding the prize to Jonny Mansfield this year we have chosen a young musician who has already shown himself to be remarkably talented in all three disciplines, and seems to have a musical vision beyond his years.’

“Edition Records boss Dave Stapleton commented: ‘As the music industry continues to evolve and change at an unprecedented rate, it’s hugely rewarding for us to have an opportunity to help develop and guide these young, talented and vital artists of the future. Jonny Mansfield is a musician of real depth and maturity, both as an instrumentalist and composer. Jonny also has the ability to recognise the wider challenges facing him and appro
ach them with drive and determination to pursue a career in this music. To succeed in the 21st Century music industry requires all-round skill and talent, which Jonny has in abundance.’

“Kenny’s son, Mark Wheeler, said: ‘I have enjoyed hearing Jonny a few times at Academy events and also online, and I know my Dad would have loved his playing and his wonderful writing. It’s exciting to see how these young musicians flourish and it remains a source of joy for all the family that Dad’s name and legacy lives on through this fantastic prize.’”

LINK: LJN interview with Jonny Mansfield from 2017

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