Cup Weekend 2024

Media Release: Submissions now open for Australia’s prestigious National Jazz Awards

Call out for Australia’s leading young jazz guitarists

The National Jazz Awards, Australia’s most prestigious jazz performance competition, returns in 2022 with the spotlight turned to our country’s most talented young guitarists.  The prize pool includes a recording session with Pughouse Studios and $7000 for the winner with second and third placegetters receiving $4,000 and $2,000 respectively.

Presented as part of the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues, each year the Awards focus on a different instrument – guitar, bass, saxophone, brass, drums, piano or vocals. The guitar was last featured in 2014, when Carl Morgan took out the prestigious honour.

Awarding winning guitarist and 2002 NJA co-winner Stephen Magnusson will head this year’s judging panel.  Throughout his accomplished career, which spans 30 years to date, Magnusson has collaborated with a rich, diverse array of Australian and international artists including Charlie Haden, Scott Tinkler, Archie Roach, Sam Anning, Julien Wilson, Paul Grabowsky, Elixir, Paul Kelly, Rickie-Lee Jones and KD Lang. He has released numerous albums, toured throughout Europe and has taught at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Zurich, Victorian College of the Arts and Monash University.

Joining him on the panel is Carl Dewhurst, another 30-year creative music veteran, who is considered one Australia’s most accomplished and highly regarded jazz and improvising guitarists. His original projects include Showa 44 with Simon Barker, The Drip Hards, Carl Dewhurst Quartet and Dewey. Carl is a member of Scott Tinkler’s DRUB, Band of Five Names, Daorum, Trace Sphere and was a longtime member of The Australian Art Orchestra, The James Morrison Quartet, The Vince Jones Band, 20thCentury Dog, Gest8 and NUDE.

Fran Swinn has carved out her own sound in the Australian musical landscape with her own band, The Fran Swinn Trio and as a member of Improv Mill, Big Guitar and the Louisa Rankin band.

The one time recipient of a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music is now passing on her musical knowledge and experience at Victoria University, where she teaches guitar and performance.

High-level Australian guitarists aged 36 or younger are invited to submit their application by 31 August.  Contestants must submit three recordings – one piece by an Australian composer, another ballad and also a blues standard or original. Full details of the Awards and how to enter are available on the Festival website

The winners are competing for cash and studio time along with national recognition.

“For over 30 years, the Awards have played an important role in developing, showcasing, and nurturing Australian talent. It has proven a valuable stepping stone for many past winners and finalists who have gone on to enjoy national and international success,” said Festival Chair, Dave Chair.

Previous winners include Matthew Thomson (piano), Lauren Henderson (vocals), Alex Hirlian (Drums), Kristin Berardi (vocals), James Macauley (Brass), Sam Anning (Bass), Carl Morgan (Guitar), Zac Hurren (Saxophone),Phil Stack (Bass), Julien Wilson (Saxophone), Scott Tinkler (Brass), Michelle Nicolle (Vocals) and Barney McAll (Piano).

This year’s five finalists will be announced in late September with the 2022 National Jazz Award finals held in Wangaratta on Saturday 29 October.

National Jazz Awards Information and Entries:

Media Enquiries: Prue Bassett Publicity
Michaela Hall: 0419 113 633|
Prue Bassett: 0419 559 040 |