LOS ANGELES, Feb. 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Tonight, ASCAP, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the world leader in performing rights and advocacy for music creators, held the ASCAP Jazz Awards celebration at Herb Alpert's Vibrato Grill Jazz club in Los Angeles. ASCAP presented the prestigious ASCAP Founders Award to pioneering jazz legend Roscoe Mitchell and the esteemed ASCAP Vanguard Award to four-time GRAMMY-nominated pianist/composer Gerald Clayton. The ceremony also recognized former ASCAP President Marilyn Bergman with the inaugural ASCAP President's Award for her service to ASCAP's music creators. In addition, two ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer recipients were recognized for their distinctive talents.
ASCAP's President Paul Williams commented: "We are honored to present Roscoe Mitchell and Gerald Clayton with awards in celebration of their unique contributions to music. For five decades, Roscoe Mitchell has continuously expanded our ideas of how contemporary music is heard and made, and influenced generations of music creators in the process. Gerald Clayton has become an accomplished ensemble leader, capturing the full spectrum of human emotion through improvisatory composition. Both Roscoe and Gerald have reshaped the pulse behind jazz music, and for that we are forever grateful."
ASCAP President and current Chairman of the Board Paul Williams presented the inaugural ASCAP President's Award to former ASCAP President Marilyn Bergman for her contributions to ASCAP and for elevating the rights of music creators worldwide, over more than three decades of transformative leadership.
Williams commented: "Marilyn Bergman shaped the legacy of ASCAP with her passionate commitment to championing our music makers and laying the groundwork for the next generation of creatives. She presided over our organization during a time of incredible growth, and reacted to changes in the music landscape with political savvy and acumen. It is an honor to award her with ASCAP's very first President's Award."
Bergman was honored with a performance of "Make Me Rainbows" by Sheléa, accompanied by Katisse Buckingham (saxophone). "Make Me Rainbows" was written by Bergman, her husband Alan Bergman and iconic composer John Williams, and is featured on Sheléa's forthcoming album tribute to the Bergmans, Pretty World.
The audience consisted of jazz notables and VIPs who enjoyed exclusive performances from the honorees alongside some of the extraordinary jazz musicians with whom they have collaborated. Award winners Mitchell, Clayton, Austin and Barson each took the stage, and guest performers included Matt Shipp (piano), Junius Paul (bass), Vincent Davis (drums), Gizel Rodriguez (vocals) and Afro Yaqui Music Collective.
The show also featured two winners of ASCAP Foundation prizes. Trombone and vocal extraordinaire Mariel "Spencer" Austin received The ASCAP Foundation Phoebe Jacobs Award, which is awarded to a female recipient of an ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award to honor the memory and work of Phoebe Jacobs, a long-time jazz advocate and publicist who was also committed to music education and nurturing aspiring composers and musicians. Ben Barson, also an ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award recipient, received The ASCAP Foundation Johnny Mandel Prize, an award made possible by the film & TV composer, arranger and jazz musician Johnny Mandel and his wife Martha, to further the career of an aspiring jazz composer.
View full coverage of the 2018 ASCAP Jazz Awards at www.ascap.com/jazzawards18.
ASCAP Founders Award recipient Roscoe Mitchell is an internationally renowned musician, composer and innovator, who began his distinguished career in the spirited 1960s of Chicago, Illinois. His role in the resurrection of long neglected woodwind instruments of extreme register, his innovation as a solo woodwind performer and his reassertion of the composer into what has traditionally been an improvisational form have placed him at the forefront of contemporary music for over four decades. Mitchell has recorded over 100 albums and has written hundreds of compositions, ranging from classical to contemporary, from wild and forceful free jazz to ornate chamber music. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the John Cage Award for Music from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance, the Golden Ear Award from the Deep Listening Institute and the American Music Center Letter of Distinction. Currently he is the Distinguished Darius Milhaud Professor of Composition at Mills College, Oakland, California.
The ASCAP Founders Award recognizes the accomplishments of songwriters and composers who have made pioneering contributions to music by inspiring and influencing their fellow music creators. Recipient Roscoe Mitchell joins legendary music creators such as Diane Warren, Stephen Schwartz, Quincy Jones, Dr. Dre, Elvis Costello, Billy Joel, Annie Lennox, Sir Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Tom Petty, Smokey Robinson, Carly Simon, Patti Smith, Steely Dan, Rod Stewart, James Taylor, Tom Waits, Stevie Wonder and Neil Young.
ASCAP Vanguard Award recipient Gerald Clayton develops musical narratives that unfold as a result of both deliberate searching and chance uncovering. Clayton began his musical journey as the 2002 Presidential Scholar of the Arts Award winner at the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance at USC's Thornton School of Music under the instruction of piano icon Billy Childs. Clayton's inclusive sensibilities have allowed him to perform and record with such distinctive artists as Diana Krall, Roy Hargrove and Dianne Reeve and he has enjoyed an extended association since early 2013, touring and recording with saxophone legend Charles Lloy. Clayton has served as Musical Director of the Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour, a project that has featured his trio along with Ravi Coltrane, Nicholas Payton, Terence Blanchard and Raul Midón. His harmonic curiosity and critical awareness have led to numerous awards and accolades, including four Grammy nominations.
The ASCAP Vanguard Award recognizes the impact of outstanding ASCAP members who are shaping the future of American music. In receiving the award, Gerald Clayton will join a select group of American music's most quintessential trailblazers, including The All-American Rejects, Arcade Fire, Band of Horses, Beastie Boys, Beck, Björk, Diplo, fun., Jack Johnson, Kate Nash, The Killers, Meghan Trainor, Modest Mouse, Nine Inch Nails, Sara Bareilles and The Strokes.
Inaugural ASCAP President's Award recipient Marilyn Bergman is an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning, Hall of Fame Songwriter who served as ASCAP's first female President and Chairman from 1994 to 2009. Her 15-year tenure as President and Chairman was marked by a series of noteworthy achievements, which have had a positive and lasting impact on music creators. Under her leadership, ASCAP saw its largest expansion of membership in the history of the organization—from 55,000 to 350,000 music creators. Her passion and political savvy paid off with a series of victories in Washington, including the Sonny Bono Act, securing an extra 20 years of copyright protection for creators. Bergman was instrumental in the launch of several programs for new music creators, including ASCAP's "I Create Music Expo," which, now in its 13th year, remains as the largest singular event of its kind. Currently an active presence on ASCAP's Board of Directors, Bergman continues to bring strong insights and a collaborative spirit towards addressing the current and future needs of ASCAP's growing membership.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business - from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With more than 650,000 members representing more than 11.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at www.ascap.com, Twitter and Instagram @ASCAP and on Facebook.