Chick Corea, Christine Tobin and the late Humphrey Lyttelton among winners at BBC Jazz Awards 2008
The 2008 BBC Jazz Awards –
celebrating the best of British and international jazz – were held at the Mermaid Theatre in London last night, hosted by BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 3.
Highlights included the first UK performance in 25 years by Chick Corea and Return To Forever and Best Vocalist nominee Ian Shaw's first public performance of the late, great Humphrey Lyttleton's Sad, Sweet Song.
There was also an exclusive performance by Jamie Cullum, Jeff Beck and Kyle Eastwood.
Pianist Kit Downes took home the Rising Star Award and the Best Vocalist Award went to Christine Tobin, who performed a rendition of her song Camille with star violinist Nigel Kennedy.
Saxophonist Tony Kofi received the award for Best Instrumentalist, while the Album Of The Year Award went to Bristol-based quartet The Blessing for their debut release, All Is Yes.
The Radio 3 Jazz Line-Up Best Band Award was given to Curios, the modern piano trio led by Tom Cawley.
The Radio 3 Jazz On 3 Innovation Award went to ultra-contemporary "post-jazz" group Fraud, with saxophonist James Allsop leading the band through one of their daring numbers.
Scottish sax supremo Tommy Smith picked up the Radio 2 Heart Of Jazz award for his unstinting work on the British and international scene.
CEO of Candid Records Alan Bates was presented with the Services To Jazz In The UK Award by his most famous signing, Jamie Cullum, in recognition of his efforts as head of one of the UK's premier jazz labels.
Longstanding ambassadors of jazz, Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine, were presented with the Gold Award, adding another well-deserved trophy to their collection.
Chick Corea and his ground-breaking jazz-fusion group Return To Forever received the Lifetime Achievement Award from legendary Beatles producer Sir George Martin.
Bassist Charlie Haden was presented with the International Award by Mark King of Level 42 and Jez Nelson from Jazz on 3, and performed alongside British pianist John Taylor.
As well as acknowledging the stars of the present and future, the evening also paid homage to a revered figure from the music's past.
Veteran broadcaster and bandleader Humphrey Lyttelton, who died earlier in the year, was posthumously awarded the title of BBC Radio 2 Jazz Artist Of The Year.
Few people in the history of British jazz have done more to further the popularity and profile of the music while remaining true to its spirit.
Ian Shaw, winner of last year's Best Vocalist Award, gave the world premier of Lyttelton's Sad, Sweet Song.
Lyttelton had asked Shaw to record the song, to which he'd written the words, at the BBC Jazz Awards in 2006 and it was eventually recorded within a few days of Lyttelton's death.
Hosted by Paul Gambaccini, an array of international stars presented awards on the night, including singer Jamie Cullum, jazz trumpeter and actor Colin Salmon, Sir George Martin, Goldie, Soul II Soul's Jazzie B and Humph's long-time friend Barry Cryer.
Audiences can watch highlights of the BBC Jazz Awards 2008, including the award presentations and performances, at bbc.co.uk/jazzawards from Wednesday 23 July.
- Rising Star Award - Kit Downes
- Best Vocalist Award - Christine Tobin
- Best Instrumentalist Award - Tony Kofi
- Album Of The Year Award - The Blessing, All Is Yes
- Services To Jazz In The UK Award - Alan Bates
- BBC Radio 3 Jazz Line-Up Best Band Award - Curios
- BBC Radio 3 Jazz On 3 Innovation Award - Fraud
- BBC Radio 2 Jazz Artist Of The Year Award - Humphrey Lyttelton
- BBC Radio 2 Heart Of Jazz Award - Tommy Smith
- International Award - Charlie Haden
- Lifetime Achievement Award- Chick Corea & Return To Forever
- Gold Award - Sir John Dankworth & Dame Cleo Laine
BBC Jazz Awards broadcast details
- BBC Jazz Awards (full concert), BBC Radio 2, Tuesday 22 July, 10.30pm-midnight
- Jazz Line-Up, BBC Radio 3, Saturday 26 July, 4.00pm (highlights and interviews)