2018 NJA finalists announced

Australia’s most prestigious jazz competition, the National Jazz Awards have been a central feature of the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues since 1990. A different instrument is featured every year, and this year the spotlight turns to drums. Congratulations to the 2018 National Jazz Awards finalists. This year’s finalists are:

Alex Hirlian, 24 (Sydney, NSW),

Alex Reid, 25 (Perth, WA),

Alexander Inman-Hislop, 25 (Petersham, NSW),

Alf Jackson, 27 (Hobart, Tas),

Angus Mason, 25 (Glengowie, SA),

Damien Ellis, 32 (Thornbury, Vic),

James McLean, 28 (Preston, Vic),

Josh Baldwin, 33 (Adelaide, SA),

Lewis Pierre-Humbert, 27 (Tecoma, Vic),

Oli Nelson, 25 (Redfern, NSW)

Congratulations to all the finalists!

Heats and final performance

The finalists will perform at the Festival over two days of heats on 2-4 November, with the winner being announced after the final performance (Sunday, 4 November, 5-6pm, WPAC Theatre).

As well as cash prizes, the National Jazz Awards offer major industry kudos and the chance to gain valuable industry experience, networks and career advancement. The finalists will compete for their share of $21,000 in prize money ($12K winner, $6K second place, $3K third), as well as

performance and recording opportunities. The winner will have the opportunity to perform at the Rabobank Amersfoort Jazz Festival in May 2019.

Zoe Hauptmann, Co-Artistic Director for the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues, said the benefits of succeeding in the National Jazz Awards are far-reaching.

“The Awards provide a substantial boost to the careers and profile of young musicians. Alumni include the likes of Barney McAll, James Muller, Phil Slater, Elana Stone, Scott Tinkler, Michelle Nicolle and Stephen Magnusson,” Ms Hauptmann said.

The judging process

All entrants submitted three recorded pieces including at least one original composition and one with a band to show judges they have mastered their craft. Judging is conducted ‘blind’ to eliminate any potential for bias—with identifying details removed from applications (gender, age, ethnicity, etc), judges assess entries on a range of factors including technical proficiency, musicianship, improvisation and overall impression.

Our sponsors

The Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues acknowledges the generous support of the Anthony and Sharon Lee Foundation, and the support of the Australian Jazz Real BookABC Jazz APRA AMCOSRed Rock Drums Australia, the Rabobank Amersfoort Jazz Festival and Pughouse Studios.