The New Century Jazz Quintet has won the inaugural DCJazzPrix, a jazz band competition hosted by the DC Jazz Festival on Saturday, June 18.
Founded in 2013, the New York-based quintet features pianist Takeshi Ohbayashi, drummer Ulysses Owens Jr., trumpeter Benny Benack III, alto saxophonist Braxton Cook and bassist Yasushi Nakamura, who did not perform in the JazzPrix; bassist Corcoran Holt performed with the quintet instead.
The DC Jazz Festival began the competition to, as worded on its website,“identify and showcase emerging, exceptional jazz band talent from across the U.S.; provide a unique professional performance and adjudication platform for jazz bands that is outside of the traditional academic or commercial competition arenas; and help launch and promote the careers of emerging jazz artists committed to sustained and creative band development and performance opportunities.”
The New Century Jazz Quintet competed against two other bands in the contest’s final round—the New York-based Cowboys and Frenchman, and the Washington, D.C.-based Mark G. Meadows and the Movement.
According to the Washington City Paper, “the judging process for the JazzPrix was opaque—deliberately so, at least in part—but apparently included an audience vote. The festival created a hashtag for each of the contestants and encouraged the audience to post them as votes for their favorites.”
The Quintet, as outlined on the website, will receive a $15,000 prize, extensive publicity, business support, career impact and navigation services, and a paid performance on the main stage at the 2017 DC Jazz Festival.