Can You Sing? Enter the 6th Annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition
For the sixth consecutive year, singers from around the world will gather online to compete in the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition - a 21st century version of the amateur night at the Apollo Theater that helped launch the career of a gifted teenager from Newark, Sarah "Sassy" Vaughan, more than 70 years ago.
But this year, there's a slight change in tempo: For the first time, the competition at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) has been opened to male singers as well as female.
"We've spent the last five years identifying a host of brilliant new vocalists," said John Schreiber, President and CEO of NJPAC, which presents the contest as part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival (November 4-12) - an annual autumn celebration that fills both the Arts Center and venues throughout Newark with swing.
"But for every Sarah, Ella and Billie, there was also a Joe Williams, a Jimmy Rushing and a Billy Eckstine," Schreiber said.
"So why not double down on our mission of seeking out the best new voices in jazz by opening the competition to everyone?"
The move was welcomed by the roster of jazz luminaries who've been involved with the competition since its inauguration.
"The Sassy Awards - which have helped discover some of the finest young female vocalists in the world - will now, thankfully, open the competition to that all too rare species, young male jazz vocalists. Opening the competition to male vocalists will make this event more exciting than ever!" said Grammy-winning bassist and composer Christian McBride, NJPAC's Jazz Advisor and a competition judge from 2014 through 2016.
"'Sassy' had a divine voice that inspired so many people throughout her career up to today. Her instrument, the voice, is the basis for the Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition. Opening the competition to all voices, regardless of gender, seems like the natural progression," added Tony- and Grammy-winning singer DeeDee Bridgewater, who served as judge during the contest's initial round in 2012.
Over its first five years, the competition has become a platform for a single outstanding jazz singer to gain widespread recognition in the music industry. Past winners include Cyrille Aimée, Jazzmeia Horn (winner of the 2015 Thelonious Monk Competition), Ashleigh Smith and Arianna Neikrug, as well as last year's champion, London's Deelee Dubé.
The only international vocal competition of its kind in the world, the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition culminates in a rousing performance on the final day of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival, held in Newark each November.
Beginning May 15, vocalists can enter by submitting recordings of at least three songs at sarahvaughancompetition.com. The public can vote for their favorites; songs have been played, commented on, and voted for, hundreds of thousands of times over the course of the competition's five years. Five finalists, who will be announced on October 10, will perform at NJPAC on November 12 before a panel of judges that will include legendary vocalists Ann Hampton Callaway, Vanessa Rubin and Will Downing, and composer and percussionist T.S. Monk, along with WBGO's Gary Walker.
The competition is open to all vocalists who are 16 years old or older, and who are not presently signed to a major record label. Singers must submit audio clips online through a website powered by Indaba Music (sarahvaughancompetition.com) by September 5 at 5pm.
Think you have what it takes? The judges are looking for vocal quality, musicality, technique, performance, individuality, artistic interpretation - and the ability to swing. The grand prize winner of the coveted SASSY Award will receive a cash prize and a recording deal with Concord Music Group.
The incomparable singer Sarah Vaughan was born in Newark in 1924 and was known as "Sassy" throughout her life for her vibrant personality. After winning the top prize of $10 at the Apollo Theatre's amateur night at age 18 in 1942, she went on to record with the greatest names in jazz, including Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Billy Eckstine and countless others.
The 2017 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition finals will take place on Sunday, November 12 at 3 p.m. in NJPAC's intimate Victoria Theater. For tickets, which go on sale May 19, call 1.888.GO.NJPAC (1.888.466.5722) or visit njpac.org.
About TD James Moody Jazz Festival
Co-produced by NJPAC and WBGO Jazz 88.3FM, the TD James Moody Jazz Festival was inaugurated in 2012 and named in recognition of the jazz saxophone virtuoso from Newark. NJPAC's annual celebration of "America's classical music" is a spree of more than two dozen concerts and related activities - over half of which are free to the community. Guided by Christian McBride, NJPAC's Jazz Advisor, the festival has presented artists such as The Manhattan Transfer, David Sanborn, Tony Bennett, Wynton Marsalis, Al Jarreau, Dianne Reeves, Sérgio Mendes, Bill Charlap, Esperanza Spalding, Fantasia, Chris Botti, Pat Metheny, and the Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette trio, among many others.
TD James Moody Jazz Festival is intrinsic to Newark, a city renowned as the home and creative inspiration for jazz geniuses including Sarah Vaughan and pianist Willie "The Lion" Smith, and institutions such as Savoy Records, the Rutgers-Newark Institute of Jazz Studies and WBGO Jazz 88.3FM. Among the festival's unique events are One on One with Christian McBride, a concert-and-conversation series featuring jazz's top talents; Dorthaan's Place Sunday jazz brunches at the Arts Center's NICO Kitchen + Bar; and a schedule of concerts and special attractions held off-campus throughout Newark.
About TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 9 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at approximately 1,200 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit www.tdbank.com. Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US.
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About Concord Music Group
Concord Music Group, based in Beverly Hills, Calif., is one of the largest independent record and music publishing companies in the world. A small sampling of the company's active roster includes Sir Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Alison Krauss, Valerie June, Ben Harper, Chick Corea, Steve Martin, Esperanza Spalding and Seether. Concord's catalog includes legends such as John Coltrane, John Fogerty, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Ray Charles, MiLes Davis, Little Richard, Otis Redding, Thelonious Monk, Isaac Hayes, Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett, among many others. The company's celebrated family of labels includes Concord Records, Concord Jazz, Hear Music, Fantasy, Stax, Telarc, Milestone, Riverside, Specialty, Prestige and Rounder Records. Additionally, Concord has recently partnered with independent label Loma Vista Recordings, whose illustrious artist roster includes Spoon, St. Vincent, Little Dragon, Birds of Tokyo, Ghost BC, Manchester Orchestra and Papa.
Concord Music Group's releases are distributed throughout the world by Universal Music Group and are regularly licensed for use in major motion pictures, television and advertising. In March 2013, Wood Creek Capital Management, LLC acquired Concord Music Group in partnership with an individual investor group that includes members of Concord's senior management. As an investment manager at the forefront of intellectual property investing, Wood Creek's confidence in Concord underscores a belief in the appreciating value of great music content around the globe.
About WBGO Newark Public Radio
Within public radio, WBGO is regarded as a leader because of its ground-breaking work in community and volunteer involvement, special events, and the presentation of jazz (including collaboration with local artists). Founded in 1979, WBGO is a publicly-supported, cultural institution located in the heart of downtown Newark. WBGO is one of the original 12 New Jersey cultural organizations that has been designated a "Major Impact" arts organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and has been awarded this distinction for each of the past 20 years.
About Indaba Music
Indaba Music is a technology platform and marketing services company home to a community of over 1.1 million musicians worldwide, from emerging artists to Grammy Award winners. Indaba expanded into the Licensing realm with Indaba Sync (www.indabasync.com), a portal for licensing the best emerging content from the Indaba Music community. Indaba Music pioneered the online music collaboration and community space when it launched in 2007, enabling anyone with internet access to create, edit and mix studio-quality music online.
Indaba Music now provides musicians with opportunities ranging from remix contests to sync and licensing opportunities to branded marketing programs. Indaba Music currently boasts musicians from 205 countries and territories. To date, Indaba Music contests have featured artists and brands including Daft Punk, Red Bull, Snoop Dogg, Peter Gabriel, Linkin Park, Yo-Yo Ma, Microsoft, Paul Simon, Converse, Foster The People, Bacardi and Usher. NJPAC
One Center Street
Newark, New Jersey 07102
www.njpac.org or 888.GO.NJPAC (888.466.5722)
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States and is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey - where Great Performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state's and the world's best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted more than 10 million visitors (including over 1.5 million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. Visit njpac.org or call 1-888-GO-NJPAC for more information.