From 2000 through 2004, many of today’s top smooth jazz artists and bands were honored during the annual Oasis Smooth Jazz Awards. The awards show got coverage on the BET television channel and produced a CD.
Now, a new version of the awards show, the Oasis Contemporary Jazz Music Awards, featuring smooth jazz, fusion and more will be presented in March 2011 in San Diego. Originally launched by Bill Paddock, among others, in 2000 as the Oasis Smooth Jazz Awards, Paddock and co-managing producer Chris White will produce the awards show and other events to take place over the four-day weekend, March 10-13. Paddock says San Diego was chosen as the host city because of the enthusiastic response from smooth jazz radio station KiFM, the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau and area hotels, and due to the wide variety of local venues.
The event will include the awards show, a reception with the artists and attendees, a concert featuring up and coming artists, and more. After a cocktail kick-off party at the host Hard Rock Hotel on March 10, the opening night show will take place at Balboa Theater. It’s a tribute to Grover Washington Jr. and Wayman Tisdale (Tisdale’s recording of “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” is the theme song for the award weekend), produced by Jason Miles and Tom Braxton, respectively. Performers include Gerald Albright, Jonathan Butler, Jeff Golub, Tom Scott, Gerald Veasley and others.
A charity show on March 11 will be held on the USS Midway, now a floating museum, and will feature Jeff Kashiwa, Gregg Karukas, Richard Smith and Steve Cole. The show is being produced by Seattle-based Cjazz in association with the Oasis Contemporary Jazz Awards.
The awards themselves, and the all-star show presented in conjunction with the awards, will take place on March 12 at the San Diego Civic Theater. A red-carpet arrival to recognize artists, performers and presenters will be held in front of the theater preceding the show. Jeff Lorber is the musical director, and scheduled performers – which includes the artists from the kickoff and charity shows – include the Rippingtons, Steve Oliver, Eric Darius, Jeff Kashiwa, Nick Colionne, Ken Navarro, Shilts, Brian Bromberg, Kim Waters, Paul Brown, David Benoit, Marc Antoine, Oli Silk, Cindy Bradley, Bob Baldwin, Jackiem Joyner, Kenny Lattimore, Darren Rahn, Eric Marienthal, Chieli Minucci, Joel Rosenblatt and Jay Rowe.
The final concert, on March 13 at the Hard Rock Hotel Ballroom, features Kirk Whalum and his Gospel According to Jazz show. A champagne brunch will be served.
The first awards show was held in January 2000 in Ft. Worth, Texas, and the name Oasis was selected because that was name of the local smooth jazz radio station. It was held in Chicago the second year, and then in San Diego, where the name was changed to the National Smooth Jazz Awards. Saxophonist Dave Koz hosted all three shows, and Lorber served as music director.
ShoCorp Inc. took over the awards after the 2002 show. Award winners were announced in 2003 but a planned show at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles was called off before tickets went on sale. The awards have not been presented since 2003.
“I’m happy to be playing a part in bringing back the Oasis Contemporary Jazz Music Awards,” Paddock says. “As in the original years, we will be working with a panel of industry professionals to make this a premier event for fans, artists and everyone involved. … The format has matured, grown, and expanded since we introduced the awards. It will be fun to see the winners in the broader categories.”
“The recording and radio industries have changed drastically in recent years but fans take this genre very personally,” White adds. “The future of this music via the internet and portable personal devices like iPods and smart phones is really exciting. This event promises to be a great recognition of the top jazz artists in the industry for their contributions to the music world, and a great opportunity for jazz fans worldwide to see them all on one stage in a multi-faceted and interactive program format.”
Nominees will be announced on Jan. 10. Winners will be determined by public and industry voting.
For more information on the Oasis Contemporary Jazz Awards, including how to purchase tickets, go to OasisContempoiraryJazzAwards.com.