The Monday before the beginning of Jazz Fest will showcase another longtime New Orleans music tradition, the Big Easy Awards and the announcement and awarding of the WWOZ Guardians of the Groove.
The Award Ceremony, presented by Harrah’s New Orleans Casino & Hotel and Gambit Weekly, will be held on Monday April 21, 2008, in Harrah’s Theatre. Special award winners this year are: Entertainer of the Year — Terence Blanchard; Lifetime Achievement in Music — Eddie Bo; Ambassador of Music — Donald Harrison; and Music Heritage Award — Al Johnson. Doors open 8:00 p.m and the show starts 8:40, with an after party in Harrah’s Masquerade Lounge immediately following with Big Sam’s Funky Nation.
This year marks the 20th year as the award ceremony, hosted by Harry Shearer, moves to a new venue, the theater in Harrah’s Casino. The magical evening is full of performances by stellar nominees and combinations of nominees. This year there will be eight performances including The Figs, a hot new country group of six women from Lafayette, Jon Cleary with Marva Wright, and Terence Blanchard’s jazz quintet. Another highlight will be the Big Easy Funky AllStars with Donald Harrison, Matt Perrine, Shamarr Allen, Troy Andrews, Big Sam, Jon Cleary and Stanton Moore.
WWOZ outstanding volunteers Patti & David Averbuck and long time jazz host Clinton Scott will be awarded the 2008 WWOZ Guardian of The Groove Awards as part of the Big Easy Award Ceremony.
Clinton Scott has been a dedicated WWOZ show host for over 20 years, bringing us the best jazz has to offer with “Sittin’ In with Clint” every Sunday. Grandfather of rising jazz star Christian Scott, Clinton was the president of Nola Recording Company, Pelican Managerial Agency, and Bonatemp Music Publishing Company, bringing us such hits as "Teasing You" by Willie Tee, "Barefootin'" by Robert Parker and "It Ain’t My Fault" by Smokey Johnson. Years ago, Clinton tried to retire from the WWOZ airwaves, but we wouldn’t let him — this Guardian of the Groove still has too much musical knowledge to share for us to let him go.
Here’s what WWOZ’s Operation Director Fred Goodrich said about Patti and David: “David and Patti Averbuck came through the Armstrong Park studio doors in 2003 and haven’t stopped working since. The dynamic duo have taken on the most complicated tasks, brought order where there was chaos, and redeveloped entire systems. They have done it all and they never cease to amaze. Even the simplest task is done with loving care and a positive attitude that brightens everything around them.
Patti and David are truly Guardians of the Groove and shining examples of volunteerism at its best. We thank them so very much for the countless hours they contribute behind the scenes. Don’t even get us started about the over 350 hours of programming David aka ‘Jellyroll Justice’ has burned for the station, so that the music will never stop at ‘OZ, even if we have to leave town!”