Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize Winner

-Posted on 18.06.2014

Edition Records and The Royal Academy of Music are pleased to announce that the 2014 winner of the “Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize” is the outstanding bassist and composer Misha Mullov-Abbado

The Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize is awarded each year to a young artist who demonstrates excellence in both performance and composition, selected from all graduating jazz musicians at the Royal Academy of Music. The prize includes release of the artist’s proposed recording on the Edition record label: Misha, the fourth recipient of this major award, will release his album in 2015. Misha follows in the footsteps of highly acclaimed previous winners Josh Arcoleo (saxophonist, 2011), Reuben Fowler (trumpeter, 2012) and Lauren Kinsella (vocalist, 2013) — whose album ‘Blue Eyed Hawk’ is due for release later this year. 

The judging panel — Edition Records boss Dave Stapleton, the Academy’s Head of Jazz Nick Smart together with Evan Parker, saxophonist and lifelong collaborator of Wheeler — met on 18th June to decide the winner. 

Evan Parker said: “We’re now in the fourth year of this wonderful prize in Kenny’s name, and I have to say the talent these young musicians are displaying is as remarkable as ever. Choosing between them is not getting any easier! In the end, Misha’s writing and playing, along with his sense of overall form, very powerfully communicated his maturity. His range of musical reference points means that he can go anywhere from here, and it will be exciting to follow what is clearly the beginning of a journey of an outstanding individual.” 

Edition Records boss Dave Stapleton also commented: “Each year Nick, Evan and I meet to listen, discuss and ultimately decide on the winner for the Kenny Wheeler Music Prize. The level of musicianship on display competes on a global stage, and it is incredibly exciting to see so much maturity and creativity by so many young musicians. Our decision process goes through many levels but communication to the audience and within the band is one of the key factors. From watching and listening to Misha’s performance, it was very clear that he is a complete musician who delivers his performance with huge natural ability and confidence. With such a wide spectrum of influences and proficiency in his playing and writing, it was clear that he is an artist with something to say and we look forward to working with him on his debut album.”


About Misha Mullov-Abbado

Misha is a bass player, composer and arranger based in London. He has directed and performed with bands at various venues across London such as The Vortex, The 606 Club and Pizza Express Soho, as well as various jazz clubs in Europe. He recently finished studying on the Masters jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music, on scholarships from the Countess of Munster and the Arts & Humanities Research Council, where he studied with Jasper Høiby, Michael Janisch and Tom Herbert. He previously studied music at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, where he directed the University Jazz Orchestra, having performed in venues across Europe such as Casa del Jazz in Rome, the Budapest Jazz Club, Jazz Dock in Prague and the Montreux Jazz Festival. Misha is an experienced composer, having studied at Cambridge with Robin Holloway, Jeremy Thurlow and later Pete Churchill at the Academy. He has had works performed at King’s Place, Blüthners’ Piano Centre and the Royal Ballet School, and has written for London-based orchestra Sinfonia d’Amici. Fellow Academy clarinettist Joe Shiner, combining many influences from both jazz and classical music, premiered his Clarinet Concerto in Cambridge. Misha is now writing for various jazz ensembles and is heavily influenced by a variety of jazz musicians such as Brad Mehldau and Pat Metheny, as well as classical music ranging from Bach to Stravinsky and Bartok, and is the winner of the 2014 Dankworth prize for jazz composition. Misha is also an experienced horn player, having performed Schumann’s Konzertstück, Britten’s Serenade and Bach’s Mass in B minor on the natural horn. “A hugely promising talent as a bassist and composer” — Sebastian Scotney, London Jazz News

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