Ticketmaster is sponsoring the Services To Scottish Jazz Award at Scottish Jazz Awards 2020, which celebrates those working behind the scenes in the industry.

We caught up Co-Producer of this year’s event – Lynne Johnston, to find out more about the award category and Scotland’s Jazz Scene.

As the award winner is chosen by a panel, can you give some examples of the criteria factored in when judging the award?

The Ticketmaster ‘Services To Scottish Jazz’ Award was introduced to the Scottish Jazz Awards last year as we felt a need to celebrate those working tirelessly behind the scenes in the music industry in Scotland.  This year more than ever it is important to shine a light on people whose work may not be on the radar of the general public but who are keeping the cogs turning in the industry.  This can be someone who manages artists, radio presenters, music critics or those putting on shows and festivals.  We feel it is best for the panel to chose the winner in this category as they can nominate their peers who are best deserving of the recognition and we ask the panel to suggest people or organisations who have been active on the jazz scene for many years.  

Once the suggestions are in, the panel vote on the 3 most popular suggestions and we ask them to consider each of the nominees contribution to the jazz industry historically as well as their activity over the past 12 months.  It is also a wonderful opportunity to celebrate people who may not be recognised at other awards ceremonies and acknowledge their hard work and dedication. 

Who are this year’s panel?

A panel of 14 industry specialists, including media, press and promoters from across the UK have carefully selected this year’s nominees, along with the Help Musicians ‘Lifetime Achievement’ and Ticketmaster ‘Services To Scottish Jazz’ Award winners.  They are:

  • Agnese Daverio Jazz & Blues Festival  Promoter Edinburgh
  • Alan Steadman Jazz at Hospitalfield Promoter Arbroath
  • Alison Kerr The Herald & Scotsman Press Glasgow
  • Christoper Barr Glasgow Life Promoter Glasgow 
  • Emma Marsh Swing Promoter Glasgow
  • Grace Black Langtoun Jazz Festival Promoter Kirkcaldy
  • Graeme Knox Whighams Jazz Club Promoter Edinburgh
  • Jill Rodger Glasgow Jazz Festival Promoter Glasgow
  • Jim Gilchrist The Scotsman Press Edinburgh
  • Joe Rattray Promoter Glasgow
  • Keith Mcrae Blue Lamp Promoter Aberdeen
  • Rebecca Vasmant Promoter Glasgow
  • Seb Scotney London Jazz News Press London
  • Sushil Dade BBC Radio Scotland Media Glasgow

How has the jazz scene in Scotland been affected by COVID-19 restrictions?

Along with the rest of the music industry, everything ground to a halt in March when restrictions on mass gatherings were put in place therefore everyone has had to change the way they operate with many acts and promotors moving to live-streamed performances instead of live events.  It was fantastic to see so many artists from the Scottish jazz scene adapting to the times and entertaining their fans from home, with audiences also embracing this new way to experience live music.  

We also produce the Glasgow Jazz Festival and were able to put on some online concerts in place of our usual programme this June, which can still be viewed on our My Player channel.  This year’s ‘Best Album’ nominee Brian Kellock performed a solo show from Glasgow’s The Blue Arrow and ‘Rising Star’ nominee Rebecca Vasmant performed a DJ set from her living room. The Virtual Festival was a great success with viewers from all across the world, therefore we are planning to showcase more Scottish artists in the coming months while live events are still not possible. 

What are the best ways to support Scotland’s Jazz Scene at the moment?

Many acts will have lost out on a year’s worth of gigs and the income that they provide, therefore it is important to keep purchasing tickets for rescheduled tours and festivals as these will happen again once restrictions are lifted.  Even buying a record or a t-shirt will go a long way to support these artists, and many have their own online stores to purchase directly.  If you are in a position to donate, Help Musicians & Musicians’ Union are two vital organisations who have been providing hardship grants and support to musicians in need who have been unable to work over lockdown.

Streaming music, following on social media and signing up to mailing lists is a free way to show your support and will keep you updated on any online concerts that they might be doing until the live scene opens up again.  The Scottish Jazz Awards are also moving online this year which is another chance to support the Scottish scene and is a great way to discover both new and established artists.  You can watch the Virtual Ceremony for free from 6pm on Sunday 18 October at our My Player channel.

Could you share one of your favourite behind the scenes memories from the Scottish Jazz Awards?

This is our 4th year working on the Scottish Jazz Awards and it has been so inspiring to see the up and coming acts making progress each year.  Many of the artists which have been nominated in the ‘Rising Star’ category in the past few years are now competing against their idols in the other categories. Last year’s ‘Best Vocalist’ winner Georgia Cecile is up for ‘Best Vocalist’ at this years Jazz FM Awards and the ‘Best Album’ winner Fergus McCreadie went on to be nominated for the ‘SAY Award’ as well as signing a record deal, so it is fantastic to see them getting recognition beyond the Scottish jazz scene. 

One of my favourite memories was in 2018 when Fionna Duncan picked up the Ticketmaster ‘Lifetime Achievement’ Award.  After her breathtaking closing performance at the ceremony, she spent time talking to all the other winners and nominees, it was lovely to witness her inspiring the new breed of Scottish jazz musicians who are following in her footsteps. 

Photo L-R – Luca Manning, Fionna Duncan, Georgia Cecile & Seonaid Aitken.

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