jen awards

JEN’s award program has been in existence since the organization’s first year.

We proudly recognize the talented educators who have made an impact on jazz.

It is our honor and privilege to be able to extend these awards each year to deserving educators and artists.

2025 Nominations

open Spring 2024

Ellis Marsalis, Jr., Educator of the Year Award

Named after the legendary jazz educator, this award recognizes an outstanding college or university educator in the field of jazz, who represents the highest standards of teaching and whose results have brought distinction to their institution and their students.

photo by René Heumer

past awardees

2022 – Joseph Jefferson

2021 – Jim Gasior

John LaPorta 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 recognizes 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 awardees

2022 – Roosevelt Griffin, III, Chicago, IL

2021 – Gary Washburn, Hawaii

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, Houston, TX

2015 – Janis Stockhouse, Bloomington, IN

2014 – Daniel Gregerman, Skokie, IL

2013 – Davie Yarborough, Washington, D.C.

2012 – Bart Marantz, Dallas, TX

2011 – Caleb Chapman, Salt Lake City, UT

Award Recipients prior to JEN

2008 – Don Cantwell, Barneveld, NY

2007 – Bob Sinicrope, Milton, MA

LeJENds of Jazz Education Award

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

photo by Frances Scanlon

past awardees

2022 – Joseph Jennings

2021 – Phil Wilson
            Geri Allen
            Clarence Acox, Jr.
            Dr. James Hardy Patterson

2020 – Kidd Jordan

2019 – Barry Harris
2018 – Dr. John Edward Hasse

2017 – Ellis Marsalis, Jr.

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

LeJENds of Latin Jazz Award

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

photo by Bart Marantz

past awardees

2022 – Ignacio Berroa

2021 – Pete Escovedo

2020 – Chucho Valdés

2019 – Alex Acuña

2018 – Bobby Sanabria

2017 – Eddie Palmieri

2016 – Paquito D’Rivera

2015 – Poncho Sanchez

2014 – Candido Camero

Donald Meade Legacy Jazz Griot Award

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 at the annual JEN Conference in tandem with JEN, continues his legacy through recognizing other jazz griots with the
Donald Meade Legacy Jazz Griot Award, in addition to creating platforms in which their stories can heard around the world.
Click to learn more about AAJC and the Donald Meade Legacy Jazz Griot Award.

photo by Frances Scanlon

past awardees

2022 – Roxanne Stevenson

2021 – Barry Harris

2020 – Stephen Foster

2019 – Jimmy Heath

2018 – Nobuko “Cubi” Narita

2017 – Willie Pickens

2016 – Larry Reni Thomas

2015 – Congressman John Conyers, Jr.

2014 – Dr. Larry Ridley

2013 – Dr. Willis Kirk

2012 – Donald Meade

Presidents’ Service Award

The Presidents’ 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 who has given tirelessly of their efforts, resources, expertise, and time, demonstrated their commitment to JEN’s mission, and is a true example of altruism.

photo by Frances Scanlon

past awardees

2022 – Michael Shirtz

2021 – Tony & Nancy Sinnott, Deb Rhea

2020 – Ryan Adamsons

2019 – Dr. David Fodor (IL)

2018 – Mary Ann Fischer

2017 – Frances Scanlon

2016 – Richard Condit

2015 – Sharon Burch

2014 – Jerry Tolson

2013 – Gene Perla

2012 – Larry Green

2011 – Steve Crissinger

2010 – Jim Widner

charlotte lang

Swiss/Dutch saxophonist Charlotte Lang was born in 1996 in Basel and studied the bachelor and master program at the JAZZCAMPUS Basel under the guidance of Domenic Landolf and Daniel Blanc. She is currently studying the Master of Music in Global Jazz at the Berklee College of Music in Boston under the artistic direction of Danilo Pérez. In addition she is part of Terri Lyne Carrington’s Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice.


From 2015 to 2018, Charlotte she was a member of the Swiss National Youth Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Christian Muthspiel. Since 2020, she became a member of the German National Youth Jazz Orchestra (Bundesjazzorchester Deutschland), under the direction of Niels Klein and Ansgar Striepens. She also plays is the Austrian FJO (Frauen Jazz Orchester→Women Jazz Orchestra of Austria).


In 2021, Charlotte founded her own Quintet the „Charlotte Lang Group“, for what she is composing, arranging and booking. In the fall 2023, her first album will be recorded and hopefully released by a renowned label.


Charlotte plays in the “Swiss Jazz Orchestra” and the “Zurich Jazz Orchestra”, the two professional Big Bands of Switzerland.

Charlotte recently got the unique opportunity to write a monthly blog for the Swiss Jazz & Blues Magazine called JAZZTIME, to tell readers about her time at abroad and specifically her time at Berklee. Her graduate program lasts only until the summer of 2023. She hopes to stay in the United States to enlarge her network and build her musical career.