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The 2008 Big Easy Music Awards honor achievements in music

The Grammy Awards just added Cajun and zydeco music to the categories it explicitly recognizes, but locally, the Big Easy Music Awards have honored achievements in a wide variety of indigenous and broader genres for two decades. In fact, Grammy-winner Terrance Simien won the first Big Easy zydeco award 20 years ago. The Big Easy Awards continue to honor everything from traditional and contemporary jazz to country and folk to hip-hop and electronica. This year's awards will honor several indivduals and groups for their musical achievements and support of the music community. The list of nominees has been released for 23 categories including Best Male and Female performers, Best Emerging Group or Artist and Best Album of 2007. Winners will be announced at the awards gala at Harrah's New Orleans Casino on Monday, April 21. Actor/comedian Harry Shearer will host the event, and the program will include performances by many of the nominated musicians.

Terence Blanchard will be honored as the Entertainer of the Year. The trumpeter, who is artistic director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at Loyola University, originally developed music for the soundtrack to Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke with his quartet. Blanchard expanded that material for symphony and released A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina). In 2007, local music fans were able to hear the material for both sized ensembles, first at Jazz Fest with the quartet and then in concert with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. The music also reached much wider audiences, and Blanchard won the 2008 Grammy for Best Large Ensemble Jazz Album. That recording is also nominated for the Big Easy Best Album award.

Two bands from both the Big Easy Cajun and zydeco categories were nominated for the combined-genre Grammy award. Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience took home the trophy. Also nominated were Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie, the Pine Leaf Boys and Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars.

A few R&B legends will be honored at the Big Easy Awards as well. Eddie Bo will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. The pianist has released more R&B singles than anyone except Fats Domino. Al 'Carnival Time" Johnson will receive the Music Heritage Award.

The Business Recognition Award will be shared by the Downtown Development District and the Young Leadership Council for the Wednesday at the Square spring concert series, which presents free performances in the CBD by a wide variety of local musicians.

The awards gala is sponsored by Gambit Weekly, Harrah's New Orleans Casino & Hotel, Abita Beer, WWOZ 90.7 FM, the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism and Coleman E. Adler & Sons. The event includes open bar, hors d'oeuvres and an after party at Masquerade at Harrah's. Tickets are $100; a limited number of tables for 10 are $1,000. Call 483-3129 to purchase tickets or for information. Proceeds benefit the Foundation for Entertainment Development and Education.

2008 Big Easy Music Awards

Honorary Music Chairman
Don Marshall

Entertainer of the Year
Terence Blanchard

Lifetime Achievement in Music
Eddie Bo

Ambassador of Music
Donald Harrison

Music Heritage Award
Al ' Carnival Time" Johnson

Business Recognition Award
Downtown Development District and Young Leadership Council

WWOZ Guardian of the Groove Award
Clinton Scott, Patti Averbuck and David Averbuck

2008 Big Easy Award Nominations

Gospel Choir
Greater St. Stephen's Choir
Ninevah Baptist Church Choir
Tyrone Foster & The Arc Singers

Gospel Group/Individual
Bishop Lester Love
Bishop Paul Morton
Trinitee 5:7

Blues
Jumpin' Johnny Sansone
Little Freddie King
Washboard Chaz

Rhythm and Blues
Jon Cleary
Al 'Carnival Time" Johnson
Walter 'Wolfman" Washington

Rap/Hip-Hop
Cupid
DJ Jubilee
Lil Wayne

Traditional Jazz
Tom McDermott & Evan Christopher
Matt Perrine
Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Contemporary Jazz
Terence Blanchard
Martin Krusche
Herlin Riley

Traditional Brass Band
Pinstripe Brass Band
Storyville Stompers
Treme Brass Band

Contemporary Brass Band
Hot 8 Brass Band
Rebirth Brass Band
Soul Rebels

Roots Rock
Susan Cowsill
Anders Osborne
Happy Talk Band

Rock
Big Blue Marble
Morning 40 Federation
Rotary Downs

Funk
Big Sam's Funky Nation
Dumpstaphunk
Galactic

Zydeco
Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys
Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie
Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience

Cajun
Pine Leaf Boys
Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys
Red Stick Ramblers
Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars

Country/Folk
Country Fried
The Figs Band
Michael Hurtt and His Haunted Hearts

Latin
AsheSon
OTRA
Vivaz

World Music/Reggae
Casa Samba
Michael Skinkus and Moyuba
Zydepunks

Mixed Bag
New Orleans Bingo! Show
Bonerama
Alex McMurray and the Tin Men

Electronica
Chef Menteur
MC Trachiotomy
Quintron

Male Performer
Troy Andrews
Clint Maedgen
George Porter Jr.

Female Performer
Susan Cowsill
Irma Thomas
Marva Wright

Emerging Group or Artist
101 Runners
Shamarr Allen
Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship?

Best Album of 2007
A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem For Katrina)
Terence Blanchard

Blue Note
From the Corner to the Block
Galactic

Anti-
Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino
Vanguard

click to enlarge Terence Blanchard will be honored as the Entertainer of the Year.
  • Terence Blanchard will be honored as the Entertainer of the Year.
click to enlarge Al "Carnival Time" Johnson will receive a Music Heritage Award. - JACOB BLICKENSTAFF
click to enlarge The Figs Band is nominated for Best Country/Folk Band. - ALYCE LABRY
  • Alyce Labry
  • The Figs Band is nominated for Best Country/Folk Band.
click to enlarge Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience is nominated for Best Zydeco Band.
  • Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience is nominated for Best Zydeco Band.
click to enlarge Eddie Bo will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Eddie Bo will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.
click to enlarge Jon Cleary is nominated for Best Rhythm and Blues Artist. - RICK OLIVIER
  • Rick Olivier
  • Jon Cleary is nominated for Best Rhythm and Blues Artist.
click to enlarge Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship? is nominated for Best Emerging Group or Artist.
  • Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship? is nominated for Best Emerging Group or Artist.
click to enlarge Marva Wright is nominated for Best Female Performer. - STEVEN FORSTER
click to enlarge Donald Harrison has been named an Ambassador of Music.
  • Donald Harrison has been named an Ambassador of Music.
click to enlarge Shamarr Allen is nominated for Best Emerging Group or Artist.
  • Shamarr Allen is nominated for Best Emerging Group or Artist.
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