LetterOne and Air Artist Agency are proud to announce the winner of the “LetterOne ‘RISING STARS’ Jazz Award” Europe edition 2017:
Tom Ibarra, a 18-year-old French guitarist and composer, has beaten tough competition to become the “LetterOne ‘RISING STARS’ Jazz Award” winner. With a distinctive voice in Jazz, Funk and Fusion, Tom competed against over 270 artists from over Europe for the title.
Entries were judged by a panel including US record producer Brian Bacchus; England´s jazz superstar Jamie Cullum; Norwegian jazz journalist Karen Frivik; and French festival and radio producer Sebastien Vidal. Mikhail Fridman, founder of the Leopolis Jazz Festival in Lvov, chaired the panel.
As winner of this year’s “LetterOne ‘RISING STARS’ Jazz Award”, Tom will embark on a 2018 tour of seven of the major jazz festivals in Europe. These include the Nice Jazz Festival in France; JazzOpen in Stuttgart, Germany; Heineken Jazzaldia in San Sebastian, Spain; the Kongsberg Jazz Festival in Norway; the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in the UK and the Leopolis Jazz Festival in Lvov, Ukraine. In addition, he will receive PR and marketing support.
Commenting on the award, Mikhail Fridman said, “Tom has outstanding potential. The quality of the entries and the standard of the music was so astounding that it became the most challenging task for the jury to be just and fair in selecting the final winner”.
Jamie Cullum, said, “It is encouraging to see that there are so many unbelievably talented musicians out there. Tom is only 19 years of age, but plays with the feel of a veteran and has a tool kit of musical abilities that allows him to step up at any given moment to put his stamp on the music”.
Born in October 1999, Tom began playing guitar at the age of 6 and was influenced by artists including Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, Weather Report and Wes Montgomery. He released his debut album ‘15’ appeared in 2015, 4 years after starting to compose original songs. Over the years, Tom’s talent has been recognized by jazz greats including Marcus Miller, Richard Bona, Didier Lockwood and Sylvain Luc, who have all invited him to share the stage with them on various occasions.
Other than the “LetterOne ‘RISING STARS’ Jazz Award”, Tom has a number of impressive awards under his belt. He was the youngest ever guitarist to be endorsed by Ibanez Guitars, won the first prize of the French performing rights society, SACEM, in 2013 and 2014 and the Jeune Espoir Action Jazz (Young Talent award) in 2016.
The “LetterOne ‘RISING STARS’ Jazz Award” is a significant event in the European jazz calendar, sponsored by Mikhail Fridman, an international businessman, philanthropist and most importantly, a huge fan of jazz.
Producing the “LetterOne ‘RISING STARS’ Jazz Award” is the award-winning Air Artist Agency Ltd in London, whose director Burkhard Hopper has a long-standing experience in introducing new artists. For 9 years Burkhard Hopper ran the Rising Stars concert series, which – among others – introduced artists such as Diana Krall, Brad Mehldau and Esbjörn Svensson.