The Ascona Jazz Award Hall of Fame
Bernard "Pretty" Purdie and Paolo Tomelleri
The Ascona Jazz Award 2018 goes to the legendary American drummer Bernard Pretty Purdie; a master of the funk and soul drums who has worked together with the biggest names names from Louis Armstrong to Aretha Franklin, and from Miles Davis to James Brown. A second Ascona Jazz Award is conferred to the great clarinetist, band leader and Italian Jazz pioneer Paolo Tomelleri, who celebrates in 2018 80 years and almost 60 years career!
The 2017's award goes to the Grammy Award Winner pianist and singer Jon Cleary: a true symbol, representing the New Orleans contemporary R&B-funk scene and one of the most brilliant interpreters of the city’s great piano tradition.
The Ascona Jazz Award 2016 recognizes Davell Crawford’s “great music personality and his excellent skills as entertainer and music director. A highly individual and recognizable musician, Davell Crawford is certainly one of the best contemporary interpreters of New Orleans’ rich music tradition”.
The festival confers the Ascona Jazz Award 2015 to trompeter, arranger, composer, and founder of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Irvin Mayfield for his role in the cultural rebirth of the Crescent City after Katrina.
The 2014 award goes to Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) for the rebirth of New Orleans tourism after hurricane Katrina and for his efforts in making the most of the city's extremely rich musical scene.
The 2013 Ascona Jazz Award goes to the drummer and Original Tuxedo Jazz Band new band leader, Gerald French. His versatility, his extraordinary emotional and festive drumming style, the relaxed rhythm and feeling – all perfect examples of the laid back New Orleans style – in addition to his generous personality, make of Gerald French a drummer who should be taken as an example, in the best New Orleans tradition.
Over 50 years of career, an icon of soul music, one of the great classic American voices: for the first time at the festival, the 2012 award is conferred to the “Soul Queen of New Orleans”: the amazing Irma Thomas.
Uncle Lionel Batiste & Paul Kuhn
The 2011 Award is conferred to Uncle Lionel Batiste. Singer, grand marshall, ands bass drummer of the Treme Brass Band, Uncle Lionel (1931 - 2012) embodied the historical memory of the New Orleans music and social tradition and was a source of inspiration for everyone. A crowning achievement to a unique and unparalleled career, a second Ascona Jazz Award 2011 is presented to German pianist, singer, and bandleader Paul Kuhn (1928-2013).
Shannon Powell & Herlin Riley
The 2010 Ascona Jazz Award goes to drummers Shannon Powell and Herlin Riley, two musicians with extraordinary technical skills and great musical sensitivity. Both from New Orleans, Riley and Powell are perfect expressions of the rich rhythms and musical soul of the Crescent City, at the crossroad of traditional and contemporary.
The 2009 Ascona Jazz Award goes to a gifted young Italian pianist from Naples whose international career took off at JazzAscona: piano virtuoso and a stride master, Rossano Sportiello.
The winner of the 2008 Ascona Jazz Award is New Orleans saxophonist Donald Harrison. The award recognizes Harrison’s passion and commitment to the culture of New Orleans' Mardi Gras Indians in his role as “Big Chief”, inherited from his father.
The 2007 Ascona Jazz Award goes to American saxophonist Red Holloway (1927 - 2012), a living "soul jazz" legend who helped define the role of the saxophone in soul and R&B music, alongside artist such as Etta James, Jeff McDuff or George Benson.
Father Jerome Ledoux
A special Ascona Jazz Award 2007 goes to a very unique New Orleans personality: charismatic Father Jerome LeDoux, the long-time Parish Priest of St. Augustine Church, the oldest black Catholic church in America and located in the historic Tremé neighborhood.
The Ascona Jazz Award 2006 goes to musical director, saxophonist, and popular showman Pepe Lienhard for his role as ambassador of Swing as director of the Swiss Army Big Band and, still today, as leader of the Pepe Lienhard Big Band.
A special 2006 Ascona Jazz Award goes to New Orleans singer Lillian Boutté for her extensive support of Hurricane Katrina victims, her role as World Ambassador of New Orleans music, and her role as Godmother of the SOS New Orleans Jazz Heritage Fund, launched by JazzAscona.