Introduction

LetterOne ‘RISING STARS’ Jazz Award

The ‘LetterOne “RISING STARS” Jazz Award’ has become a significant event on the jazz calendars in Europe and North America and is currently entering it’s third year. The award was conceived to address that real concern first and foremost by offering invaluable practical support for the artists in question. The winners will tour major festivals across their continents to gain experience and exposure (7 major festivals in Europe and 10 major festivals in North America) and they will have their marketing and PR handled by the highly respected Air Artists Agency, an imprint with substantial credibility that has been accrued from long years of working with a host of both newcomers and veterans from all over the world. Crossing borders has become increasingly important for artists in a global marketplace, and the ‘LetterOne “RISING STARS” Jazz Award’ will enjoy priceless national and international exposure.

What started in 2017 as a Europe-centric event with 18-year old French guitarist Tom Ibarra as winner has since expanded into Northern America. The search for the ‘next big thing in Jazz’ is on and also here, the competition is a golden opportunity for American based musicians to be catapulted onto the nations prestigious jazz scene.

Legendary artists, such as the vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, were on the jury for the 2018 edition of the award (North American edition). Besides Dee Dee Bridgewater, the jury included journalist and author Michelle Mercer, record producer and A&R Brian Bacchus, festival director Andre Ménard and the sponsor of the ‘LetterOne “RISING STARS” Jazz Award’ – Mikhail Fridman. Mikhail Fridman also chaired the jury for the European edition, which previously consisted of journalist Karen Frivik, radio host Alex Dutilh, Wulf Müller from Okeh Records, TSF program director and programmer for the Nice Jazz Festival and Duc des Lombards in Paris – Sebastien Vidal – and UK Jazz superstar Jamie Cullum.

Producing the ‘LetterOne “RISING STARS” Jazz Award is the award-winning artist agency AIR ARTIST AGENCY, whose director Burkhard Hopper has a long-standing experience in introducing new artists. For 9 years he ran the RISING STARS concert series, which – among others – introduced artists such as Diana Krall, Brad Mehldau, Nicholas Payton, Jane Monheit and Esbjörn Svensson.