The 10th Annual TD James Moody Festival Announced At NJPAC

b.1972" data-original-title="" title="">Christian McBride, “The SASSY Awards” featured performances by the competition’s five finalists as well as a special appearance by one of today’s top jazz vocalists, Dianne Reeves.

The contenders took to the stage with magnificent performances in front of a live audience. Winner G. Thomas Allen wowed the esteemed panel of judges with his rendition of “Misty”, a standard recorded by div class='card-up'">>img src='' alt='Sarah Vaughan' loading='lazy' /">Sarah VaughanSarah Vaughanvoice / vocals

1924 - 1990" data-original-title="" title="">Sarah Vaughan in 1964. Andrea Miller (Costa Mesa, California) performed her rendition of “Bye Bye Blackbird”, April May Webb (Edison, NJ) sang “Social Call”, Latvian-born Arta Jēkabsone (Jersey City, NJ) sang “Gone with the Wind”, and Vik Gečytė (Paris, France) performed her rendition of “Lover Come Back to Me”.

As the first-prize winner of the SASSY Awards, G. Thomas Allen received a $5,000 cash award. April May Webb, who was the runner-up, was awarded a $1,500 cash prize, and third place recipient Arta Jēkabsone won $500.

Pulled from over 160 submissions from 25 countries, the finalists performed before the distinguished panel of judges, including premier jazz pianist div class='card-up'">>img src='' alt='Renee Rosnes' loading='lazy' /">Renee RosnesRenee Rosnespiano

b.1962" data-original-title="" title="">Renee Rosnes (West Orange, NJ), President & CEO of WBGO Radio Steven A. Williams, past winner of both the Sarah Vaughan and Thelonious Monk International Vocal Jazz Competitions div class='card-up'">>img src='' alt='Jazzmeia Horn' loading='lazy' /">Jazzmeia HornJazzmeia Hornvoice / vocals

" data-original-title="" title="">Jazzmeia Horn, Paterson-born guitarist/singer div class='card-up'">>img src='' alt='John Pizzarelli' loading='lazy' /">John PizzarelliJohn Pizzarelliguitar

b.1960" data-original-title="" title="">John Pizzarelli, and renowned singer and NJCU professor div class='card-up'">>img src='' alt='Sheila Jordan' loading='lazy' /">Sheila JordanSheila Jordanvoice / vocals

b.1928" data-original-title="" title="">Sheila Jordan.

The competition recalls the humble beginnings of legendary jazz singer/NEA Jazz Master Sarah Vaughan (1924-1990) who, back in 1942, was a Newark teenager and winner of an amateur singing contest at the Apollo Theater. That memorable night helped launch the lifework of one of the most successful, influential jazz vocalists in the history of American music. The competition is also known as The Sassy Awards, a nod to the nickname of singer. Past winners include div class='card-up'">>img src='' alt='Cyrille Aimee' loading='lazy' /">Cyrille AimeeCyrille Aimeevoice / vocals

b.1984" data-original-title="" title="">Cyrille Aimee, Jazzmeia Horn, div class='card-up'">>img src='' alt='Ashleigh Smith' loading='lazy' /">Ashleigh SmithAshleigh Smithvoice / vocals

b.1989" data-original-title="" title="">Ashleigh Smith, Arianna Neikrug, Deelee Dubé, Quiana Lynell, div class='card-up'">>img src='' alt='Laurin Talese' loading='lazy' /">Laurin TaleseLaurin Talesevoice / vocals

b.1982" data-original-title="" title="">Laurin Talese, div class='card-up'">>i class='fa fa-user'">>

Samara Joy
voice / vocals

" data-original-title="" title="">Samara Joy, Gabrielle Cavassa and Tawanda Suessbrich-Joaquim. What has become one of the top annual vocal competitions in jazz, The SASSY Awards offers outstanding jazz singers a one-of-a-kind platform for embarking on a career in the music business—and offers audience members a chance to discover the jazz stars of tomorrow. Gifted young contestants from around the world are evaluated on vocal quality, musicality, technique, performance, individuality, artistic interpretation, and ability to swing.

About G. Thomas Allen

Vocalist, composer, and music educator G. Thomas Allen is known for his remarkable vocal flexibility, warm timbre and cross-genre experimentation. He has worked with the late David Baker and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, performing Duke Ellington’s: Sacred Concerts at the Strathmore Hall, and has shared the stage with influencers such as Bobby Broom, Pharez Whitted and Dennis Luxion. As bandleader, he released his debut self-titled album in 2020, which hit No. #1 of the iTunes jazz charts. Thomas is a two-time graduate of Morgan State University, with degrees in Vocal Performance and Speech Communication. He currently serves as the Jazz and Contemporary Voice Instructor at ChiArts and on the voice faculty of Columbia College Chicago (CCC).

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G. Thomas Allen Is The Winner Of The 10th Annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition as part of NJPAC’s TD James Moody Jazz Festival


G. Thomas Allen Is The Winner Of The 10th Annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition as part of NJPAC’s TD James Moody Jazz Festival

G. Thomas Allen is the Winner of the 10th Annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Competition


G. Thomas Allen is the Winner of the 10th Annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Competition