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The closing deadline for Australia’s most prestigious jazz performance competition, The National Jazz Awards (NJA) has been extended to 7 September 2022.   This year’s NJA’s return with the spotlight turned to our country’s most talented young guitarists.  The prize pool includes a recording session with Pughouse Studios and $7000 for the winner with second and third placegetters receiving $4,000 and $2,000 respectively.

High-level Australian guitarists aged 36 or younger are invited to submit their application by 7 September.  Contestants must submit three recordings – one piece by an Australian composer, another ballad and also a blues standard or original. Full details of the Awards and how to enter are available on the Festival website.

Presented as part of the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues, each year the Awards focus on a different instrument – guitar, bass, saxophone, brass, drums, piano or vocals. The guitar was last featured in 2014, when Carl Morgan took out the prestigious honour.

This year’s five finalists will be announced in late September with the 2022 National Jazz Award finals held in Wangaratta on Saturday 29 October.

“For over 30 years, the Awards have played an important role in developing, showcasing, and nurturing Australian talent. It has proven a valuable stepping stone for many past winners and finalists who have gone on to enjoy national and international success,” said Festival Chair, Dave Fuller.

Previous winners include Matthew Thomson (piano), Lauren Henderson (vocals), Alex Hirlian (Drums), Kristin Berardi (vocals), James Macauley (Brass), Sam Anning (Bass), Carl Morgan (Guitar), Zac Hurren (Saxophone), Phil Stack (Bass), Julien Wilson (Saxophone), Scott Tinkler (Brass), Michelle Nicolle (Vocals) and Barney McAll (Piano).

This year’s judging panel will be led by award winning guitarist and 2002 NJA co-winner Stephen Magnusson.  Throughout his accomplished career, which spans 30 years to date, Magnusson has collaborated with a rich, diverse array of Australian and international artists. Joining him on the panel is Carl Dewhurst, another 30-year creative music veteran, who is considered one Australia’s most accomplished and highly regarded jazz and improvising guitarists and Fran Swinn, who has carved out her own sound in the Australian musical landscape.

National Jazz Awards Information and Entries


Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues
Friday 28 October– Sunday 30 October 2022


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