Benny Jones Sr.
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
MUSIC HERITAGE AWARD
The Foundation for Entertainment, Development and Education announced special awards and nominees in musical categories of the Big Easy Awards. Winners will be announced at the Big Easy Awards gala April 19 at the Orpheum Theater.
Keyboardist Jon Cleary will receive the Entertainer of the Year award. He recently won a Best Regional Roots Music Grammy award for GoGo Juice, which is nominated for the Big Easy's Best Album of 2015. The British native adopted New Orleans as a home and has crafted his own brand of R&B. Cleary is nominated for Best Rhythm and Blues and Best Male Performer.
Drummer Benny Jones Sr. has been a pillar in the New Orleans brass band scene since the 1970s, from years spent with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Olympia Brass Band to the Treme Brass Band. He will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rapper Mia X (Mia Young) will receive the Music Heritage Award. She worked with DJ Mannie Fresh before recording with Master P in the 1990s, and she released three albums on his No Limit label: Good Girl Gone Bad (1995), Unlady Like (1997) and Mama Drama (1998). Unlady Like and Mama Drama both sold more than half a million copies.
There are awards in 15 music categories including jazz, rock, blues, country and folk, rap and bounce, Cajun and zydeco. In addition to Cleary, Best Male Performer nominees include Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Cliff Hines and Mike Dillon, who also is nominated for Best Heavy Metal/Punk with The Mike Dillon Band. The Best Female Performer nominees are Helen Gillet, Alexis Marceaux, Kristin Diable, who also is nominated for Best Country/Folk, and Aurora Nealand, who is nominated for Best Album of 2015 along with Tom McDermott for City of Timbres.
The Big Easy Awards gala features both stage and music awards, but some categories will be announced April 19 on www.bestofneworleans.com. The gala is at 7 p.m. April 19 at Orpheum Theater. Comedians Chris Trew and Tami Nelson emcee the event. The event is sponsored by Gambit, Adler's Jewelry, Abita Brewing Company, Barefoot Wines & Bubbly, Evamor Natural Artesian Water and Hard Rock Cafe. Tickets are $45 for gallery and balcony seating, $100 for orchestra seating. Contact Cat Burr at (504) 483-3130 for tickets.
Big Easy Music Award Nominees
Best Male Performer
Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews
Best Female Performer
Best Album OF 2015
Ladies & Gentlemen... Nigel Hall
Aurora Nealand and Tom McDermott
City of Timbres
Aurora Nealand & The Royal Roses
Best Brass Band
The Hot 8 Brass Band
New Breed Brass Band
The Original Pinettes Brass Band
Rebirth Brass Band
Tyrone Foster & the Arc Singers
Pastor Tyrone Jefferson
The Johnson Extension
Best Funk Band
George Porter Jr.
Best Rhythm and Blues
Glen David Andrews
Tank & The Bangas
Walter "Wolfman" Washington & The Roadmasters
Luke Winslow King
Best Heavy Metal/Punk
The Mike Dillon Band
Lonely Lonely Knights
The Write Brothers
Best Zydeco Band
Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band
Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers
Lil Nathan & The Zydeco Big Timers
Best Cajun Band
Louis Michot's Melody Makers
Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys
Roddie Romero & the Hub City All-Stars
Panorama Jazz Band
Best Emerging Artist
DJ RQ Away
DJ Soul Sister