Estonian Jazz Awards: Musician of the Year goes to Raul Sööt

25. April 2019

Annual Estonian Jazz Awards will be announced today, on the 25th of April, before the Joshua Redman’s concert at Vaba Lava. The award ceremony takes place for the 13th time and the event is sponsored by Festival Jazzkaar and the Estonian Jazz Union. The title Jazz Musician of the Year is given to the saxophonist, lecturer and composer Raul Sööt.


Singer, composer and arranger Karmen Rõivassepp is acknowledged with the Young Jazz Talent award and Raadio Tallinn with Maian Kärmas receive the Jazz Promoter of the Year award. JT Conception wins the Jazz Band of the Year award and a saxophonist and composer Maria Faust receives the Jazz Composer of the Year award.


The saxophonist, educator and composer Raul Sööt is one of the best composers in Estonia for writing compositions to the big ensembles. He has created music for Deeper Sound, Estonian Radio Big Band, Estonian Dream Big Band, EBU Jazz Orchestra, and many other collectives. Raul Sööt’s composition written in collaboration with Andres Paal was performed at “9 Anthem Freedom” concert dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia.  


“The Jazz Musician of the Year award is a huge compliment for me, especially as I am acknowledged by my own circle. Inevitably, every minor or greater recognition comes with a burden of responsibility and the perception of that is slowly coming to me. I will try to be worthy of it, ”comments Raul Sööt, a fresh laureate. The winner receives a prize of 3,500 euros in cooperation with the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, a trophy created by Tiiu Kirsipuu and an annual subscription of Estonian newspaper Eesti Päevaleht.

The aim of the Jazz Awards is to recognize the most active, professional and creative Estonian jazz musicians in the last three years. More than 60 candidates were suggested for the Jazz Awards by the jury. In addition to jury’s candidates the audience was also able to give their votes on the Eesti Päevaleht website.


Young Jazz Talent Karmen Rõivassepp is awarded a trip to Europe’s largest jazz festival North Sea Jazz by Telliskivi Loomelinnak. Young Jazz Talent also receives mentoring sessions by Music Estonia, a trophy by Tiiu Kirsipuu, an opportunity to perform at Jazzkaar during this year and a recording session at the Estonian National Broadcasting studio.


Jazz Promoter Award winner Raadio Tallinn and Maian Kärmas receive the smartest espresso machine by the main sponsor of Jazzkaar festival – JURA, a trophy by Tiiu Kirsipuu, an opportunity to perform at Jazzkaar and a recording session at the Estonian National Broadcasting.


Jazz Ensemble of the Year JT Conception is awarded with € 1,000 in cooperation with NOBE and a trophy created by Tiiu Kirsipuu. Jazz Composer of the Year Maria Faust receives a prize of 2000 euros in cooperation with the Estonian Association of Authors and a trophy by Tiiu Kirsipuu.


Jazzkaar festival takes place between 19. – 28. April with more than 80 concerts in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Viljandi, Kuressaare, Narva, Haapsalu, Rapla, Rakvere and Muraste. Jazzkaar’s wide programme reaches homes of jazz fanatics, trains, trams, hospitals, schools, kindergartens and many other unexpected places.


Jazzkaar 2019 headliners are Bobby McFerrin, John Scofield, Joshua Redman and Judith Hill. Never before has there been so many new album launches by the Estonian musicians – a total of 9 new albums reaches the audience. Jazzkaar festival is located in Telliskivi Loomelinnak already for the 5th year with a freshly renovated Punane Maja.


Festivali Jazzkaar mainsponsors are JURA, Jazz Carwash and Eesti Päevaleht. Aastasponsorid on My City Hotel, BMW, Tallink ja Aktaprint. Bobby McFerrin “Gimme 5” concert is presented by Viru Keskus. Festival centrum has been built by Prike ja and Telliskivi Loomelinnak, the cafe partner is Reval Café. The festival is supported by Overall, MyFitness, Kodupaber, NOBE and ERR. Musicians’ travel arrangements have been sponsored by Embassy of Israel, Embassy of Sweden, French, Estonian and Hungarian Goethe Institut. Festival is supported by Estonian Ministry of Culture, Cultural Endowment of Estonia and Tallinn CIty.