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West Coast Musicians Sweep National Jazz Awards

May 15, 2009

If it wasn’t obvious before, it should be clear now that the centre of the Canadian jazz universe has moved to the west coast.

The evidence? Musicians who are either from here or who live here completely dominated the National Jazz Awards for the second year in a row.

The names say it all: Terry Clarke, Jodi Proznick, Brad Turner, Phil Dwyer, Hugh Fraser, Bill Coon, Jesse Zubot, Ian McDougall, Don Thompson, Eli Bennett, Ross Taggart, Joe Coughlin, and Cellar Live (that’s a label), with multiple wins going to Brad Turner and Don Thompson, and the jazz festival of the year award going to the Vancouver Jazz Festival.

In fact, including the jazz fest and record label awards, the west coast took 17 of 25 available music awards (3 of the 28 categories went to journalists), with five Island musicians (Phil Dwyer, Ian McDougall, Hugh Fraser, Ross Taggart, and Joe Coughlin) scooping hardware.

Last year, west-coasters declared their large presence by winning about half of the awards.

When the national awards were first established eight years ago, the standing joke was that they were really the Toronto jazz awards disguised as a national event. That’s obviously no longer the case. It’s high time the organizers of the event started moving the awards ceremony around the country, beginning with Vancouver next year.

Go to http://www.nationaljazzawards.com/winnerslist.html for a complete list of the 2009 winners.

– Rick Gibbs

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