VOTES ARE IN for the 6th New York City Readers Jazz Awards Presented by Hot House Magazine and Jazzmobile

at Birdland Jazz Club on November 24th, 2019 at 4PM 

Celebrating 55 Years of Jazzmobile, 37 Years of Hot House

Mark Ruffin, Host of Real Jazz on Sirius XM will be honored and Cobi Narita will receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Hot House Magazine, in partnership with Jazzmobile, is excited to announce the 6th New York City Readers Jazz Awards on Sunday, November 24th at New York City’s famed Birdland Jazz Club, located at 315 West 44th Street. This greatly anticipated event will celebrate the vitality of the jazz art form by honoring the very finest musicians that this city has to offer.  The public has voted and finalists are announced for each category below. On November 24th, one winner will be announced for each category and attendees will get the chance to witness rare musical collaborations between award winners, and presentations from some of the most important names in the industry. Tickets can be purchased here

This year’s finalists include alto saxophonists Brent Birckhead and Pureum Jin, baritone saxophonists Claire Daly and Lauren Sevian, bassists Linda May Han Oh and Matthew Parrish, clarinetists Anat Cohen and Paquito d’Rivera, drummers Billy Hart and Fukushi Tainaka, female rising stars Joie Bianco and Pureum Jin, female vocalists Champian Fulton and Lynette Washington, jazz groups New York Voices and Sounds of A&R, guitarists Flavio Silva and Peter Bernstein, male rising stars Randall Haywood and Sullivan Fortner, male vocalists John Minnock and Johnny O’Neal, organists Akiko Tsuruga and Pat Bianchi, pianists Amina Figarova and Champian Fulton, players of rare jazz instruments Akua Dixon (cello) and Bart Platteau (flute), tenor saxophonists Jerry Weldon and Roxy Coss, trombonists Corey Wallace and Wycliffe Gordon, trumpeters Freddie Hendrix and Joe Magnarelli, vibraphonists Stefon Harris and Steve Nelson and up for the title of jazz artist of the year are Champian Fulton and Pureum Jin.  Tickets for the event will begin at $55, and a portion of the net proceeds will be donated to Jazzmobile to support its mission to present high quality education and performance programs – an endeavor that also provides employment opportunities for our musicians and vocalists.

Broadcast icon Mark Ruffin, Program Director of Real Jazz on SiriusXM, will be this year’s Honoree. Mark Ruffin is a two-time Emmy-winning broadcaster who has been at the helm of SiriusXM’s Real Jazz since 2007. Previously, Ruffin played jazz on the Chicago airwaves for over 25 years.  In addition he was the co-host of the popular syndicated public radio series “Listen Here,” the producer of the first five years of the nationally syndicated Ramsey Lewis radio program and an original staff member of Oprah Winfrey‘s station “Oprah Radio.”  Ruffin worked for over 20 years as the Jazz Editor for Chicago Magazine and has written over six hundred articles on jazz, broadcasting and African-American culture. In addition, Mark has produced eleven albums including the 2015 Grammy-nominated ‘I Wanna Be Evil: With Love to Eartha Kitt’ by Rene Marie, and ‘Offering: The Music of Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson’ by Charenée Wade.  Other titles include recordings by Chicago be-bop guitar legend George Freeman and New York vocalists Barbara Sfraga and Giacomo Gates.  Ruffin received both the Jazz Journalists Association’s Career Excellence Award in Broadcasting and the Duke Dubois Humanitarian Award from Jazz Week in 2017.

The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Nobuko “Cobi” Narita. Narita is a producer, director and philanthropist whose tireless devotion to the jazz community has spanned over four decades. Among her many achievements, she produced the The New York Women’s Jazz Festival and created the Jazz Center of New York (a performance space for jazz concerts, workshops and jam sessions), and Cobi’s Place, which is a gathering  place for jazz tap dancers. Over the years Narita has been a constant star in the jazz community.  As bassist Earl May noted, “Cobi is the glue for the jazz family. She holds us all together and she’s a guiding light for young musicians.” 

Presenters include world-renowned actress and author Perri Gaffney, who will present Narita with the Lifetime Achievement Award; Amy Niles, Executive Director of WBGO; Will Friedwald, revered jazz critic and journalist for the Wall Street Journal; Tracy Hyter-Suffern, Director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem; marketing consultant Don Jay Smith; JazzCorner President and Founder Lois Gilbert, on-air personality and published author Sheila Anderson; Veteran, International Manager, and Producer Suzi Reynolds, author Virginia DeBerry; and Joseph Petrucelli, Executive Director of the Jazz Foundation of America.  The evening will be emceed by vocalists Antoinette Montague and Ty Stephens.

Originally founded as the Annual Fans Decision Jazz Awards, this star-studded ceremony has become a staple event on the New York City Jazz circuit and consistently sells out. At the previous ceremony, held at The Triad Theater, audiences were treated to performances by winning performers such as Dan Levinson, Bria Skonberg, Rufus Reid, Dave Stryker, Stefon Harris, the late Harold Mabern, and Roy Haynes. The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra was named the top group, and the Newport Jazz Festival founder George Wein was the Honoree of the Year.  The list of winners also included Veronica Swift, rising star-female; Solomon Hicks, rising star-male; Alexis Morrast, up-and-coming young artist; Champian Fulton, female vocalist. 

Gwen Kelley with Solomon Hicks and Antoinette Montague

The New York City Readers Jazz Awards enters a new era this year with a new name and a new partner. For the first time, Hot House Magazine is teaming up with Jazzmobile to honor the best and brightest the city has to offer at world-class venue, Birdland. “I have known Robin Bell-Stevens [Director of Jazzmobile] since I bought Hot House in 2002, and besides having respect for her professionalism, her dedication to jazz and the way she runs one of the most important jazz organizations in New York, I have always felt a deeper connection with her,” said Hot House publisher Gwen Kelley. Kelley went on to say that when founding partner Metropolitan Room closed last year and put the award ceremony at risk, Robin and Jazzmobile stepped in to save the event. Both prominent cultural institutions, Hot House Jazz Magazine and Jazzmobile are two of the longest running jazz-minded organizations in New York City. 

George Wein and Robin Bell-Stevens

Founded in 1964 by NEA Jazz Master Dr. Billy Taylor and philanthropist and arts administrator, Ms. Daphne Anstein, with NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath, Jazzmobile is the first U.S. not-for-profit arts and cultural organization created just for Jazz. Since its inception, the organization has been bringing high quality Jazz performances and education programs to over 4,000,000 people living or visiting New York City and audiences across the country and around the world. Jazzmobile’s many workshops, masterclasses, lecture demonstrations and arts enrichment programs train the next generation of Jazz vocalists and musicians; while also exposing youth to this vibrant art form. Teaming up with Hot House Magazine to recognize and honor those that keep this artform vibrant and potent is a natural next step for the 55-year-old jazz bastion. “Partnering with Hot House Magazine is truly a thrill for Jazzmobile as we continue to grow our fan base and find new ways to carry forth our mission to present preserve promote and propagate Americas classical music, Jazz. This is especially true during our 55th Anniversary year! Thanks to Gwen Kelley, the NYC Readers Jazz Award program is becoming an important Jazz tradition, and we are honored to have been asked to join her,” said Bell-Stevens.

Roy Haynes with Antoinette Montague

Hot House Magazine has had its finger on the pulse of jazz since 1982. It is the oldest jazz magazine in New York City and the only regular publication dedicated to previewing upcoming jazz performances and events. Hot House is more than just a guide book; it is a monthly must-read and could even be considered New York’s jazz bible. The publication features a dynamic range of jazz artists in the tri-state area from and up and coming performers to Grammy-winners and jazz legends. Hot House Jazz Magazine is free of charge and available throughout the New York metro area, thus keeping with it mission of making jazz accessible and available to all. The two organizations see their seminal partnership in presenting the 6th NYC Readers Jazz Awards. This event aligns with the mission of both organizations, allying with the talented men and women who work tirelessly to share their passion with audiences, ensuring a vibrant future for this art form.


Alto Saxophone: Brent Birckhead and Pureum Jin
Baritone Saxophone: Claire Daly and Lauren Sevian
Bass:  Linda May Han Oh and Matthew Parrish
Clarinet  Anat Cohen and Paquito d’Rivera
Drummers: Billy Hart and Fukushi Tainaka
Female Rising Star: Joie Bianco and Pureum Jin
Female Vocalist: Champian Fulton and Lynette Washington
Jazz group: New York Voices and Sounds of A&R
Guitarist: Flavio Silva and Peter Bernstein
Male Rising Star: Randall Haywood and Sullivan Fortner
Male Vocalist: John Minnock and Johnny O’Neal
Organist: Akiko Tsuruga and Pat Bianchi
Pianist: Amina Figarova and Champian Fulton,
Player of a Rare Jazz Instrument: Akua Dixon (cello) and Bart Platteau (flute)
Tenor Saxophonist: Jerry Weldon and Roxy Coss
Trombonist: Corey Wallace and Wycliffe Gordon
Trumpet: Freddie Hendrix, Joe Magnarelli and Tom Harrell
Vibes: Stefon Harris and Steve Nelson
Jazz Artist of the Year: Champian Fulton and Pureum Jin

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