Sebastian attended the awards ceremony for the Deutscher Jazzpreis 2022 at the Metropol-Theater in Bremen, on the eve of jazzahead! 2022. We list the winners in all categories ( the full list of nominees at this link); scroll down for a commentary …
GERMAN JAZZ PRIZE 2022
– Artist of the Year: Charlotte Greve
– Vocal: Fola Dada
– Woodwinds: Gebhard Ullmann
– Brass: Shannon Barnett
– Piano / Keyboards: Pablo Held
– Guitar: Ferenc Snétberger
– Bass: Robert Landfermann
– Drums / Percussion: Oliver Steidle
– Special Instruments: Aly Keïta
– Band of the Year: Punkt.Vrt.Plastik
– Large Ensemble of the Year: Trickster Orchestra
– Woodwinds/Brass (International): Emile Parisien
– Piano / Keyboards (International): Sylvie Courvoisier
– String instruments (International): Linda May Han Oh
– Drums / Percussion (International): Marilyn Mazur
– Artist of the Year (International): Michael Mayo
– Band of the Year (International): Sons of Kemet
Recording / Production/ Albums
– Instrumental Album of the Year: Nils Wogram – Muse
– Vocal Album of the Year: Efrat Alony – Hollywood Isn´t Calling
– Debut Album of the Year: Magro – Trippin
– Radio Production of the Year: WDR 3 / States of Play: Sonifikation
– Instrumental Album (International): Charles Lloyd & the Marvels – Tone Poem
– Vocal Album of the Year (International): Gretchen Parlato – Flor
– Debut Album of the Year (International): Tijn Wybenga & AM.OK – Brainteaser
Live Music Awards
– Venue of the Year: Stadtgarten Köln
– Festival of the Year: XJAZZ! Festival
Composition / Arrangement
– Composition of the Year: Rebecca Trescher – Paris Zyklus | The Spirit of the Streets
– Arrangement of the Year: Tilo Weber – Se la mia morte brami
– Journalistic Achievement: Andrian Kreye – American Idol
– Lifetime Achievement: Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky
– Special Award of the Jury: Sebastian Gramss’ HARD BOILED WONDERLAND – Music Resistance
Sebastian writes: The German Jazz Prize awards ceremony at the Metropol-Theater last night was on a severely tight schedule. With awards in over thirty categories to be given out, and an instruction from somewhere on high (opera fans will see a parallel here with Ariadne auf Naxos) that the whole thing had to be completely done and dusted within an hour and a half, it often felt like a very fast conveyor belt. That said, the hosts – Hadnet Tesfai and Goetz Buehler – made it work well, and a live trio doing free improv (saxophonist Daniel Erdmann, guitarist Ronny Graupe, and drummer Lucia Martinez) proved the astonishing adaptability of jazz musicians to create and enhance a mood. Really impressive.
There are deep-seated conventions for German awards ceremonies, and they all needed to be scheduled in. One of these is a “Grusswort”: the sponsors/ funders who have allowed the event to happen get the chance to explain their values and priorities, why they are giving support. The awards were an initiative of the culture minister in the previous (Merkel) government: Dr. Monika Grütters, just like Federal President Steinmeier, is a self-avowed and genuine jazz fan, and during her tenure of the role made a point of being present at jazz gatherings. The new Culture Minister in the Scholz government, Claudia Roth is from the Green party, and her office had sent in a video recording of her in support of the event. “In this country, jazz still far too often does not receive the public attention and support it deserves. We want to change that…”
There was a personal intervention by a Senator and representative of the City and Land of Bremen, Kristina Vogt. She used the brief time at the microphone to emphasise how proud Bremen’s city authorities are to be the hosts of the world’s largest jazz gathering, and that the funding decision to contribute, so that Bremen could host the prize ceremony, was one not just easily and quickly taken, but also done with whole-hearted support. Bremen will be hosting next year too : the third edition will take place on 28 April, 2023.
One of the key features of these awards is the transparency and clarity of processes, and the rigorous respect for the need for jury members at all stages of such processes to recuse themselves. There were complaints last year that the nominee list needed to be more diverse, and the organizers deserve credit for taking such criticism on the chin, and reacting properly to it.
Another immutable expectation at German awards ceremonies is the “Laudatio” (“a ceremonial speech made in the course of a festive event in which someone’s achievements and merits are praised” – Duden). These were given by two speakers, both voiceover specialists working as a relay team: Mediha Kelling Bergner and Dietmar Wunder. For trivia fans, the latter is the German voice of Daniel Craig as James Bond.
Another staple of these events is the acceptance speech. These were being strictly rationed, so the winners in several categories – those who were there in prson – merely stood up while the TV camera panned in on them, made a wave, took a bow, or both. Emile Parisien did a very clear and thoughtful speech, Ukrainian-born singer Tamara Lukasheva took the award on behalf of Sebastian Gramss’ Cologne-based HARD BOILED WONDERLAND and talked about the awful fate of her native country. Uschi Brüning, wife and musical partner of Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, celebrated for his lifetime’s achievement, spoke candidly about her husband’s battles with self-doubt. Even when things are moving fast there can be touching moments and that definitely was one.
Perhaps there is one more expectation of these events. And it is a much simpler one than either a “Grusswort” or a “Laudatio”: a hug. Everyone I spoke to last night was simply grateful for the opportunity to be together, to re-establish lifelong friendships, to be there together. This is a strong community.