After Battling the Pandemic, the Village Vanguard Wins Livestream Producer of 2021

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The Jazz Journalists Association has named the Village Vanguard the livestream producer of the year, a major rebound for a club that’s been hammered by the pandemic but adapted with unparalleled resourcefulness in weekly livestreams by legends of jazz, from David Murray to Andrew Cyrille, George Cables, Immanuel Wilkins, and Ron Carter.

Carter, the most-recorded bassist in history, won the lifetime achievement award, beating out nominees Pharoah Sanders, Roscoe Mitchell, and Charles Lloyd. No question Carter deserves recognition, but someone tell me how on earth Sanders didn’t win. Sanders all day: “I think he’s probably the best tenor player in the world,” Ornette Coleman told me in 2006. (I’m also a JJA member, for disclosure, but this isn’t even a controversial take. Sanders released Promises this year; can’t multiple lifetime achievement awards be given during the pandemic?)

Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington rightly won musician of the year; Maria Schneider pulled in four awards; Ambrose Akinmusire took the trumpet title; Branford Marsalis scored for soprano saxophone; Anat Cohen for clarinet; and Linda May Han Oh for bass. The full list of winners is an exceptional roll call.

Bonus Recharge: Tyshawn Sorey is headlining the Vanguard this weekend, and this Saturday is the second-ever livestream from the Van Gelder Studio, with organist Joey DeFrancesco on the same Hammond that Jimmy Smith recorded on. DeFrancesco joins drummer Billy Hart, saxophonist Houston Person, and guitarist Peter Bernstein. Tickets here. To gear up, sample the Van Gelder archives: the rejuvenating “Willow Weep for Me” by Stanley Turrentine and Gene Harris. Recharge tips at recharge@motherjones.com.

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