2021 AWARDS

JEN LeJENds of Jazz Education Award

Established in 2012 by the JEN Board of Directors, the JEN LeJENds of Jazz Education Awardhonors true legends in jazz education. This award is bestowed upon a jazz educator who has distinguished themselves by living up to the JEN Mission.

The following criteria are some of the qualities used for the selection of this award. These criteria should have been demonstrated over several decades of work.

  • Demonstration of being an outstanding educator.
  • Promoting Jazz in all formats (performance and audiences).
  • Encouraging and inspiring musicians, teachers and aficionados of all ages.
  • Recognition at a national and/or international level.
  • Demonstration of a true passion for the art.

Past honorees:

2020 – Kidd Jordan
2019 – Barry Harris
2018 – Dr. John Edward Hasse
2017 – Ellis Marsalis
2016 – Phil Mattson
2015 – Herbie Hancock, Bobby Shew
2014 – Paris Rutherford, Ed Soph
2013 – Rufus Reid, Dave Liebman
2012 – Jamey Aebersold, David Baker, Jerry Coker & Dan Haerle

JEN LeJENds of Latin Jazz Award

Established in 2014 by the JEN Board of Directors, the JEN LeJENds of Latin Jazz Awardhonors true legends of Latin Jazz. This award is bestowed upon a musician who has distinguished themselves by living up to the JEN Mission.

The following criteria are some of the qualities used for the selection of this award. These criteria should have been demonstrated over several decades of work.

  • Demonstration of being an outstanding performer/educator
  • Promoting Jazz in all formats (performance and audiences)
  • Encouraging and inspiring musicians, teachers and aficionados of all ages
  • Recognition at a national and/or international level
  • Demonstration of a true passion for the art
  • Sharing and expanding the art of Latin Jazz in all areas listed above

Past honorees:

2020 – Chucho Valdés
2019 – Alex Acuña
2018 – Bobby Sanabria
2017 – Eddie Palmieri
2016 – Paquito D’Rivera
2015 – Poncho Sanchez
2014 – Candido Camero

Meade Legacy Jazz Griot Award

To Recognize and Celebrate those whose Unique Voices make the story of jazz music more complete.

Founded by the African American Jazz Caucus(AAJC), The Donald Meade Legacy Foundation has been founded upon the premise that the “story” is an essential part of Jazz education and that the storyteller or Griot creates a vital link between the music and life stories. Donald Meade’s first voice stories embrace the social, political and cultural realities that shaped and created jazz truths.  He has inspired and encouraged numerous jazz artists, and he was a steadfast advocate for jazz education, particularly for young people.  The AAJC foundation, presented in tandem with JEN, continues his legacy through recognizing other jazz griots with the Meade Legacy Jazz Griot, in addition to creating platforms in which their stories can heard around the world. Learn more…

Past honorees:

2020 – Stephen Foster
2019 – Jimmy Heath
2018 – Nobuko “Cobi” Narita
2017 – Willie Pickens
2016 – Larry Reni Thomas
2015 – Congressman John Conyers, Jr.
2014 – Dr. Larry Ridley
2013 – Dr. Willis Kirk
2012 – Donald Meade

President's Service Award

The President’s Service Award is awarded annually by the President in consultation with the President-Elect, Vice President, Immediate Past President, and additional members of the Advisory Council of Past Presidents to an individual that has satisfied the following criteria:

  1. Two years of continuing service to the organization
  2. Given tirelessly of their efforts, resources, expertise, and time
  3. Demonstration of commitment to the organization’s mission
  4. True example of altruism

President’s Service Award Recipients:

2020 – Ryan Adamsons
2019 – Dr. David Fodor (IL)
2018 – Mary Ann Fischer (OH)
2017 – Frances Scanlon
2016 – Richard Condit (Lake Charles, LA)
2015 – Sharon Burch, (IA)
2014 – Jerry Tolson, Louisville, KY (JAN 2014 JAZZed: page 31)
2013 – Gene Perla, Easton, Pennsylvania (JAN 2013 JAZZed: page 21)
2012 – Larry Green, Columbia, Missouri (JAN 2012 JAZZed: page 12)
2011 – Steve Crissinger, Columbus, Ohio
2010 – Jim Widner, St. Louis Missouri

The Ellis Marsalis, Jr. Jazz Educator of the Year Award

The Jazz Education Network presents the Ellis Marsalis, Jr. Jazz Educator of the Year award.

The award is named after two legendary jazz educators and will recognize an outstanding elementary, middle, or high school educator with a focus on jazz education, who represents the highest standards of teaching and whose results in the classroom have brought distinction to their institution and their students.

Award Recipient

Nomination Criteria - Ellis Marsalis, Jr. Jazz Educator of the Year

The Jazz Education Network presents the Ellis Marsalis, Jr. Jazz Educator of the Year award.

The award is named the legendary jazz educator, Ellis Marsalis, Jr., and will recognize an outstanding elementary, middle, or high school educator with a focus on jazz education, who represents the highest standards of teaching and whose results in the classroom have brought distinction to their institution and their students.

Eligibility Criteria for Ellis Marsalis, Jr. Educator of the Year Nominee

  • A practicing music educator — currently advancing the artistic lives of students in the classroom
  • Minimum of 5 years teaching experience (jazz context; elementary, middle, or high school setting)
  • Demonstration of student-centered engagement
  • Nominee represents the highest standards of jazz teaching, and results in the classroom have brought distinction to nominee’s institution and students

All information and letters of support are required to complete the application. Partially completed applications not accepted.


Deadline October 31, 5:00 p.m. (EST)

The John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year Award

The Jazz Education Network and Berklee College of Music collaborate to present the John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year award.

The award is named after the legendary jazz educator, John LaPorta, and will recognize an outstanding elementary, middle, or high school educator with a focus on jazz education, who represents the highest standards of teaching and whose results in the classroom have brought distinction to their institution and their students.

Past Recipients

2020 – Paul Pitts, Boston, MA
2019 – Thomas “TL” Lizotte, Cape Elizabeth, ME
2018 – Diane Downs, Louisville, KY
2017 – Dr. Robert Klevan, Pacific Grove, CA
2016 – José Antonio Diaz, Diaz Music Institute, Houston, TX
2015 – Janis Stockhouse, Blooming High School North, Bloomington, IN
2014 – Daniel Gregerman, Niles North High School, Skokie, IL (JAN 2014 JAZZed: page 31)
2013 – Davey Yarborough, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Washington D.C. (JAN 2013 JAZZed: page 18)
2012 – Bart Marantz, Booker T. Washington High School, Dallas, TX (JAN 2012 JAZZed: page 16)
2011 – Caleb Chapman, Crescent Super Band, Salt Lake City, UT (SEPT 2011 JAZZed: page 40)

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Award Recipients prior to JEN

2008 – Don Cantwell, Retired from Whitesboro High School, Barneveld, NY
2007 – Bob Sinicrope, Milton Academy, Milton, MA (SEPT 2008 JAZZed: page 28)

Nomination Criteria - John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year

Eligibility Criteria for John LaPorta Educator of the Year Nominee

  • A practicing music educator — currently advancing the artistic lives of students in the classroom
  • Minimum of 5 years teaching experience (jazz context; elementary, middle, or high school setting)
  • Demonstration of student-centered engagement
  • Nominee represents the highest standards of jazz teaching, and results in the classroom have brought distinction to nominee’s institution and students

All information and letters of support are required to complete the application. Partially completed applications not accepted.


Deadline October 31, 5:00 p.m. (EST)

2021 Award Recipients

Jim Gasior

2021

Ellis Marsalis, Jr. Jazz Educator of the Year Award

Jim Gasior is a pianist and jazz educator based in South Florida. He is the associate professor of jazz and instrumental studies at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida, where he serves as the director of the award-winning NWSA High School Jazz Ensemble. The NWSA HS Jazz Ensemble has been a finalist in the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington competition 13 times. Jim’s students regularly receive top honors and recognition from DownBeat Student Music Awards, Grammy High School Jazz Band and the National Young Arts Foundation. He is in demand as an educator and clinician and has given masterclasses throughout the United States. Gasior holds a bachelor’s degree in studio music and jazz performance, and master’s degree in Jazz pedagogy from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music.

Gary Washburn

 2021 John LaPorta Jazz Educator

of the Year Award

Gary Washburn grew up in Skiatook, Oklahoma. He joined his brother’s dance band while in high school, becoming its lead piano player. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State university and a master’s degree in music from the University of Hawaii. He pursued his doctorate in Boston, which he later earned after a stint in Hawaii. During the early ’70s, Washburn was writing and arranging in Hollywood, specifically for a group called Hi Inergy, which was produced by his brother for Motown. In the late ’70s, Washburn returned to Hawaii a took a teaching position on the Big Island of Hawaii. He works at Honoka’a high and Intermediate School, but is also one of the most sought-after keyboard players on the island.

Barry Harris

2021 Donald Meade Legacy Griot Award (in partnership with the African American Jazz Caucus)

Barry Harris is an internationally renowned jazz pianist, composer and teacher. Recipient of an honorary doctorate from Northwestern University, he has also received the Living Jazz Legacy Award from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Association and an American Jazz Masters Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition, Harris received the Manhattan Borough President’s Award for Excellence. Harris has devoted his life to advancing jazz, and in the 1980s founded the Jazz Cultural Theatre. For the past several decades, he has been and exponent of the classic jazz style developed by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and Coleman Hawkins. When not traveling, Harris holds weekly music workshops in New York for vocalists and instrumentalists.

Pete Escovedo

2021 JEN LeJENds of

Latin Jazz

Percussionist Pete Escovedo has been a musical force since the 1960s. Escovedo has performed with the likes of Tito Puente, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana and many more. As a leader, he has recorded more than a dozen albums. In 2018, he release Back To The Bay looking back at the music scene in the San Francisco Bay Area from his first gig at the California Hotel’s Gold Room in 1953 to the Bay Area Sound of the 1970s. That album, like Escovedo’s career, breaks down barriers between smooth jazz, salsa, Latin jazz and contemporary music. His 2017 memoir, Life In The Key of E, details his journey — from growing up in poverty to performing on the world’s great stages. Known as “Pops”, Escovedo is the patriarch of an amazing musical family that includes daughter Sheila E., and sons Juan and Peter Michael.

Phil Wilson

2021

LeJENd of Jazz Education

Jazz legend Phil Wilson has toured the world teaching, playing clubs and performing concerts since 1957. He has 16 recordings under his name. From 1962-65, he was one of the primary soloists in Woody Herman’s Swinging Herd, which during that time produced five recordings. He played with Louis Armstrong at the 1964 Grammy Awards. Phil was an arranger and composer for Buddy Rich and European Radio Big Bands. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for his arranagement of “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” as recorded by Buddy Rich. The recording became the last big and recording to hit Billboard’s Top 40. The city of Boston proclaimed December 9th, 1995 as Phil Wilson Day, recognizing and honoring his many contributions to jazz education. To celebrate, the Berklee College of Music presented a concert, “The International Dues Band Reunion”, bringing back many notable musicians that had worked with Wilson. Every semester to 52 years, Wilson taught trombone, arranging, composition and ensembles in addition to running his Rainbow Big Band (formerly known as The Dues Band). He said he is blessed having mad lifelong friendships with musicians, students and fans all over the world.

Geri Allen

2021

LeJENd of Jazz Education

Pianist, composer, Guggenheim Fellow and educator Geri Allen receives her LeJENd of Jazz Education Award posthumously. Hailed as one of the most accomplished pianists and educators of her time, Allen’s most recent position was director of jazz studies at the University of Pittsburgh. She was especially proud of performing with renowned pianist McCoy Tyner for the last two years, and was also part of two recent groundbreaking trios: ACS (Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding) and the MAC Power Trio with David Murray and Carrington – their debut recording, Perfections, was released on Motéma Music in 2016 to critical acclaim. Allen was the first woman and youngest person to receive the Danish Jazzpar Prize, and was the first recipient of the Soul Train Lady of Soul Award for jazz. In 2011, she was nominated for an NAACP Award for Timeline, her Tap Quartet project. Over the last few years of her life, Allen served as the program director of NJPAC’s All-female Jazz Residency, which offered a week-long, one-of-a-kind opportunity for young women, ages 14-25, to study jazz. Allen passed away in 2017 after battling cancer. She had recently celebrated her 60th birthday.

Clarence Acox, Jr.

2021

LeJENd of Jazz Education

Clarence Acox. Jr. is and award-winning band director and jazz drummer. Before retiring in 2019, Acox was a popular teacher at Seattle’s Garfield High School, where he nurtured young musicians for 48 years as director of bands. Under his tutelage, the Garfield Jazz Ensemble has won every major competition on the West Coast, including the states of Nevada, California, Oregon, Idaho and Washington. The Jazz Ensemble made 13 European tours, performing at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, the Vienna Jazz Festival in France and the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, as well as many concerts in Paris and Innsbruck, Austria. The band has also been a finalist in the Essentially Ellington National Jazz Band Competition and Festival held at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York for 16 years. The Ensemble twice won first-place in consecutive years in 2003-2004 as well as 2009-2010, making it the first group in the history of the competition to accomplish this feat. An in-demand drummer, Acox is a regular on the club scene in the Seattle area. He has performed with the Floyd Standifer quartet (now the Legacy Quartet) at the New Orleans Creole Restaurant for 27 years.

Dr. James Hardy Patterson

2021

LeJENd of Jazz Education

Dr. James Hardy Patterson is and entertainer, conductor, musician, educator, arranger and composer. Patterson earned his bachelor’s degree in music from Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University) in 1957. In 1965, he earned an master’s of music from the University of Michigan. He also received an honorary doctorate degree from Morris Brown College in 2018. Throughout his undergraduate years, Patterson developed and refined his musical talent with band director Wayman Carver. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he entered the United States Army, where he organized and directed the drum and bugle corps at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He served in communications during his service and also performed with the Seventh Army Band in Stuttgart, Germany. Upon returning to civilian life and earning his  master’s of music from the University of Michigan, he made his way back to Clark College. For over 50 years at Clark Atlanta University, Patterson has trained and motivated students. He founded the Clark Atlanta University Jazz Orchestra in 1968 and continues to lead it. The premise of its founding was to preserve and promote the African diaspora’s history and culture through jazz.

Tony & Nancy Sinnott, Deb Rhea

2021 JEN President’s Service Award

Opening the first JENeral Store at the inaugural JEN Conference in 2010, Tony and Nancy  Sinnott believed in the mission of JEN from the beginning and volunteered to help Co-Founder, Mary Jo Papich, in the launch. They recruited Deb Rhea to join them and they’ve volunteered their time and travelled to every conference since to run the store on site. Tony’s day job is an IT specialist with an insurance company in Madison and Nancy is a trust fund specialist with the state of Wisconsin. They live in New Glarus and like to travel and experiment with brewing. Deb is from St. Joseph, Michigan, and always brings everything needed to the conference to run JEN’s place of business.  The Jazz Education Network presents the 2021 President’s Service Award as a token of gratitude for your years of volunteering your time and energy to run the conference JENeral Store—and always with a smile. Congratulations, Tony, Nancy, and Deb!