New England Conservatory Jazz Studies Department faculty members Jason Moran, Miguel Zenón and Dave Holland have won 2015 JJA Jazz Awards for Musical Achievement from the Jazz Journalists Association. Other NEC affiliated winners include Regina Carter, who graduated from NEC in 1982 and is a member of the school’s Board of Visitors, and Mary Halvorson, who attended NEC Prep in 1998.
Moran was selected as Musician of the Year, Zenón as Alto Saxophonist of the Year and Holland earned recognition in two categories: Record of the Year for his CD with Kenny Barron titled The Art of Conversation (Impulse!), and Trio or Duo of the Year for his duo with Kenny Barron. Carter was chosen in the category of Violinist/Violist/Cellist of the Year and Halvorson is Guitarist of the Year.
Jazz Awards winners are determined through open nominations and direct voting by professional journalist members of the Jazz Journalists Associations. Winners will be celebrated at a party June 16 at The Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City. This is the 19th annual JJA Jazz Awards presentation.
NEC’s Jazz Studies Department was the first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory. The brainchild of Gunther Schuller, who moved quickly to incorporate jazz into the curriculum when he became President of the Conservatory in 1967, the Jazz Studies faculty has included six MacArthur "genius" grant recipients (three currently teaching) and four NEA Jazz Masters, and alumni that reads like a who’s who of jazz. Now in its 44th year, the program has spawned numerous Grammy winning composers and performers. As Mike West writes in JazzTimes: “NEC’s jazz studies department is among the most acclaimed and successful in the world; so says the roster of visionary artists that have comprised both its faculty and alumni.” The program currently has 98 students; 54 undergraduate and 44 graduate students from 14 countries.