6 Jun 2020

NZ Music Awards 2020: Jazz winners announced

From RNZ Music, 12:30 pm on 6 June 2020

Congratulations to Dixon Nacey and Jake Baxendale who won Best Jazz Artist and Best Jazz Composition respectively.

Dixon Nacey and Jake Baxendale

Dixon Nacey and Jake Baxendale Photo: Supplied

Dixon Nacey was awarded Best Jazz Artist Tui for his 2019 album The Edge of Chaos, while Jake Baxendale received the APRA Best Jazz Composition award for his work ‘Tui’.

The winners were announced today by Charlotte Ryan on RNZ’s Music 101.

The awards are normally celebrated at the Wellington Jazz Festival, which was postponed due to Covid-19.

During a 27-year long career, Dixon Nacey has worked with some of the finest local and international musicians across a wide range of genres – and now adds the Tui for Best Jazz Artist to his mantle.

For his debut as bandleader, the 2019 album The Edge of Chaos featured a raft of talented musicians including Dixon on guitar, Roger Manins (saxophone), Kevin Field (piano), Olivier Holland (bass) and Andy Keegan (drums) across seven outstanding songs.

Jake Baxendale is  a saxophonist and composer for two stalwart ensembles – Antipodes, and The Jac - he has been a New Zealand Music Awards finalist in both Jazz categories multiple times.

This year he’s being recognised for his composition ‘Tui’, which is part of the brand-new album The Gathering released by The Jac yesterday.

“Every year, the calibre of our finalists for Te Kaipuoro Tautito Toa continues to impress. Safe to say, this year’s winner Dixon has paved an impressive career so far and I’m excited to see what he tackles next,” Recorded Music’s Damian Vaughan says.

“The incredible craft and imagination on display in this year’s finalists and winners is continued testament to the quiet hard work of the composers and musicians in our jazz community,” APRA’s Ant Healey says,  “The range, expansive vision, and joyful expression in Jake Baxendale’s composition deserves to be celebrated.”

 “Congratulations to all the nominees for this year’s awards and in particular the winners Dixon Nacey and Jake Baxendale,” Wellington Jazz Festival Creative Director Marnie Karmelita says.

“We’re devastated that the impact of Covid-19 necessitated the postponement of the 2020 Wellington Jazz Festival to November but we know how important an event it is for our local musicians and our music and hospitality venues. We can’t wait to come together again to experience and celebrate our incredible Aotearoa-New Zealand jazz musicians and composers.”

Other finalists for the Recorded Music NZ Best Jazz Artist were ALCHEMY, and Michal Martyniuk, while Callum Allardice and Myele Manzanza were the finalists for the APRA Best Jazz Composition award.

  • To hear full tracks from all the finalists, check out Nick Tipping's rundown on Inside Out.

Finalists for Recorded Music NZ Best Jazz Artist

  • Winner: Dixon Nacey – The Edge of Chaos
  • Michal Martyniuk – Resonate

Finalists for APRA Best Jazz Composition

  • Winner: Jake Baxendale – ‘Tui’
  • Callum Allardice – ‘Phobos and Deimos’
  • Myele Manzanza – ‘Mortality’