Birmingham soul legend to host British Jazz Awards

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Birmingham soul legend Jaki Graham has been announced as the host of the 2013 British Jazz Awards.

St Paul’s Church in the Jewellery Quarter will host the best jazz musicians in the UK as the prestigious awards ceremony makes a return to Birmingham on July 10th, 27 years after it started in the city.

The event, known in the industry as the ‘Jazz Oscars’, is being produced in partnership with the Jewellery Quarter BID and the Birmingham International Jazz & Blues Festival.

Jaki has enjoyed chart success for more than 30 years with hits such as ‘Could it Be I’m Falling In Love?’, ‘Set Me Free’ and a version of Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’, which topped the USA Billboard dance charts for five weeks in the 1990s.

More recently, Jaki has toured with the BBC Big Band, accompanied Michael McDonald and Al Green on their UK ‘Legends’ arena tour, and joined Sir Cliff Richard on his successful ‘Soulicious’ arena tour.

Last year, Jaki released her first, long-awaited studio album in over 15 years. ‘For Sentimental Reasons’ pays homage to some of her favourite jazz classics with a contemporary twist.

Jim Simpson, former manager of Black Sabbath, started the British Jazz Awards with legendary jazz personalities Humphrey Lyttleton and Benny Green.

He said: “We felt that Jazz musicians were often overlooked for their talents and so decided to set up the British Jazz Awards to celebrate the genre. The Jewellery Quarter BID has helped bring the awards back to Birmingham and we are very excited to have Jaki as the host.”

Luke Crane, Jewellery Quarter BID manager, said: “We are very honoured to be hosting the awards in St Paul’s Church. Situated in a beautiful Georgian square in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter, the church is a unique venue and will provide fantastic acoustics for the artists’ performances. It promises to be a fantastic evening.“

Jazz fans from throughout the UK have voted for their favourite artists in 16 categories. These include 11 instrumental categories, awards for Rising Star, Big Band, and Small Group, plus industry awards to record companies for Best New Album and Best Reissue. There is also an award for Services To British Jazz, decided by the British Jazz Awards panel.

Winners will be presented with a treble clef award provided by Jewellery Quarter-based  company WH Darby. The Birmingham Assay Office will engrave the awards with the winners’ names.

Several of this year’s nominees, along with an exciting array of musicians from around the world, will also be playing at venues across the city as part of the 29th Birmingham International Jazz & Blues Festival (5th -14th July). Over 200 (mostly) free performances will take music to pubs, restaurants and public places around the city, making up Europe’s biggest free jazz party. For more information on jazz events in the Jewellery Quarter, please visit jewelleryquarter.net/jazz.

Tickets to the event are on sale now. Visit www.ticketsellers.co.uk to book or email jilly@jqdt.org.

Jaki Graham will host the 2013 British Jazz Awards
Jaki Graham will host the 2013 British Jazz Awards

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