2016 Big Easy Music nominees

Benny Jones Sr., Jon Cleary and Mia X are among New Orleans’ best of the year in music



Benny Jones Sr.

Jon Cleary


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 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
Jon Cleary
Mike Dillon
Cliff Hines

Best Female Performer
Kristin Diable
Helen Gillet
Alexis Marceaux
Aurora Nealand

Best Album OF 2015
Jon Cleary
GoGo Juice
Thirty Tigers

The Deslondes
The Deslondes
New West

Nigel Hall
Ladies & Gentlemen... Nigel Hall

Aurora Nealand and Tom McDermott
City of Timbres

Best Jazz
Terence Blanchard
Aurora Nealand & The Royal Roses
Herlin Riley
Christian Scott

Best Brass Band
The Hot 8 Brass Band
New Breed Brass Band
The Original Pinettes Brass Band
Rebirth Brass Band

Best Gospel
Collage 3
Tyrone Foster & the Arc Singers
Pastor Tyrone Jefferson
The Johnson Extension

Best Funk Band
Naughty Professor
Nigel Hall
George Porter Jr.

Best Rhythm and Blues
Glen David Andrews
Jon Cleary
Tank & The Bangas
Walter "Wolfman" Washington & The Roadmasters

Best Blues
Brint Anderson
Colin Lake
Sonny Landreth
Luke Winslow King

Best Rap/Bounce
Big Freedia

Best Heavy Metal/Punk
The Mike Dillon Band
Donovan Wolfington

Best Rock
Lonely Lonely Knights
The Revivalists
Sweet Crude

Best Country/ Folk Band
Spencer Bohren
The Deslondes
Kristin Diable
The Write Brothers

Best Zydeco Band
Buckwheat Zydeco
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

Best Latin/World
Bamboula 2000
Alexey Marti
Panorama Jazz Band

Best Emerging Artist
Motel Radio
Sexual Thunder!
Sonic Bloom

Best DJ/Electronica
DJ RQ Away
DJ Soul Sister
Gravity A
Quickie Mart

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