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:: Spotlight :: The 2006 Australian Jazz Awards

By: Renee Stekel

The Australian Jazz Awards, a celebration of music, culture and jazz musicians, was held on Thursday May 25, 2006 at Melbourne's Federation Square. It was a night to honour not only the greats of Australian Jazz such as John Pochee or Graeme Bell, the pianist and patron whose surname the Awards is affectionately named after, it was also an evening to showcase the exciting up-and-coming artists such as the smooth soulful voice of Elana Stone and the amazing talents of young pianist Aaron Choulai.

The event, helping to establish local artists and give visibility to jazz musicians, started with drinks and mingling in Fed Square’s impressive BMW Edge auditorium with Host/MC Tracey Bartram beginning the awards ceremony.

The judges varied and were made up of international figures from both Italy and New York as well as Australia and the following 2006 winners were announced:

AUSTRALIAN JAZZ ENSEMBLE OF THE YEAR
The Necks
BEST AUSTRALIAN CLASSIC JAZZ ALBUM
Joe Chindamo - Live at Umbria Jazz ‘05
BEST AUSTRALIAN CONTEMPORARY JAZZ ALBUM
Jamie Oehlers - The Assemblers
BEST AUSTRALIAN JAZZ VOCAL ALBUM
Janet Seidel - Moon of Manakoora
INTERNATIONAL JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Tord Gustavsen Trio - The Ground
YOUNG AUSTRALIAN JAZZ ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Aaron Choulai
AUSTRALIAN JAZZ ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Paul Grabowsky
HALL OF FAME CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
John Pochee

Mixed with performances from several of the artists themselves the audience were treated to the cool and eclectic sounds that the varying artists had to offer. After the awards had been handed out everyone made there way next door to Fed Square’s restaurant/functions area, Zinc. Guests were seated on tables and recipients of Zinc’s dinner and desserts with speeches through out from Albert Dadon, Chairman of the board of The Australian Jazz Awards and of course jazz music played on through out the night.

Overall it was an enjoyable night out, celebrating showcasing and promoting Australian Jazz and Australian musicians.