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9 April 2019

Blue Note Records and Don Was to receive PPL Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Jazz FM Awards

The organisers of the Jazz FM Awards announce today that iconic US jazz label Blue Note Records and the label’s President – multi-Grammy-winning US musician, record producer and record executive Don Was will be presented with the PPL Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s ceremony.

Celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2019, Blue Note has been synonymous with legendary jazz artists and landmark recordings since its inception, producing works which now represent the pillars of jazz history from the likes of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan, Cannonball Adderley and Art Blakey amongst countless others, and remains widely regarded today as the most important jazz label in history. 

Detroit-born Was rose to fame in the 1980s with powerhouse pop/rock outfit Was (Not Was), before going on to become a prolific record producer for international superstars such as The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Iggy Pop, Bonnie Raitt, Brian Wilson, and more. Since taking the helm as Blue Note CEO in 2012, the label has gone from strength to strength enjoying global success with numerous signings including Gregory Porter, Trombone Shorty, and GoGo Penguin, as well as continuing to break the mould with genre-defying artists like Robert Glasper sitting alongside revered elder statesmen such as Dr. Lonnie Smith, keeping the balance of tradition and innovation very much alive.

Of receiving the award, Don Was said,“I’m incredibly grateful to Jazz FM for recognizing me and Blue Note Records with its Lifetime Achievement Award.  Jazz is what inspired me to become a musician many years ago, and it is incredibly rewarding and humbling to serve as the caretaker for this historic and hugely important label. 

It’s a responsibility I welcome and one that I take very seriously.  This honour is especially meaningful coming from Jazz FM, who not only keeps the jazz legacy alive but carries the torch forward by recognizing and supporting the great jazz that is being created today .”

Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer of PPL, said,“We are proud to support the work that Jazz FM and the Jazz FM Awards do in showcasing performers and musicians, both established artists such as Don Was as well as session musicians and up and coming performers.”  

For five decades, Don has written, performed and produced some of the most well-known music in the jazz and blues genres. His leadership of the iconic Blue Note Records label, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, has demonstrated that Don’s passion for jazz remains. It is a pleasure to award him – and Blue Note Records – with the PPL Lifetime Achievement Award.” 

The night will also feature a one-off tribute performance by beloved UK soul-stress Beverley Knight celebrating the undisputed Queen Of Soul Aretha Franklin, who passed away in August 2018 and is seen as one of the most influential soul vocalists of her generation.

The 2019 Jazz FM Awards takes place on International Jazz Day on Tuesday 30th April at Shoreditch Town Hall and will be presented by Jazz FM hosts Chris Philips and Jez Nelson. The recipients of the PRS for Music Gold Award and Impact Award will be announced ahead of the ceremony.  

View the full nominations list here.

The Jazz FM Awards 2019 is a partnership between Jazz FM and Serious and is sponsored by PPL, PRS for Music, Shoreditch Town Hall, Mishcon de Reya, Lateralize, Cambridge Audio, British Airways, Arqiva, Oanda, Warsteiner, Savile Row Gin, Denbies, GHS Global Hospitality, and Yamaha UK.


For more information, please contact:

Joe Baxter

Natasha Thomas

+44 (0)207 636 9562 

About Jazz FM:

Jazz FM is the largest commercial jazz station in the world, celebrating the complete spectrum of Jazz in all its colourful forms since 1990.  Jazz FM broadcasters, producers and team are true devotees, with a deep love and understanding of their particular Jazz shade, their passion is vivid, their enthusiasm infectious, sharing the finest jazz with everyone. As the UK’s only dedicated Jazz broadcaster, Jazz FM is on a mission to entertain, promote and celebrate all that’s great about Jazz. Involvement with national festivals and awards is part of this – setting the bar high for live performance, recognising outstanding talent and strengthening the Jazz community.

No matter how people tune-in they always listen in colour.

About Bauer Media UK:

Bauer Media UK reaches over 25 million UK consumers through a portfolio of world-class, multi-platform media and entertainment brands including heat, KISS, Grazia, Empire, Magic, Absolute Radio and the Hits Radio Network. These brands offer commercial partners access to highly engaged audiences, with creative solutions underpinned by insight and instinct. Bauer Media UK is part of the Bauer Media Group, one of the world’s largest privately-owned media businesses with media assets all over the globe.

About Serious:

Serious is a producer of live jazz and international and contemporary music. Working with artists and partners from the UK and internationally, Serious creates and produces a diverse range of concerts, tours, festivals and live events. Serious creates and produces the EFG London Jazz Festival, which celebrated its 25th year in 2017. 

In addition, Serious is Associate Producer at London’s Barbican. Serious provides Talent Development opportunities for emerging and established artists and delivers an extensive learning and participation programme.

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