“Ray’s Kind of Jazz” Writer Aaron Cohen To Be Honored At ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards

13th October 2011

Writer and Ray Charles fan Aaron Cohen will be honored at the 43rd Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards for outstanding print, broadcast and new media coverage of music. The writer, based in Chicago, won the important award for the article “Ray’s Kind Of Jazz”, published in the October 2010 edition of Downbeat Magazine. Cohen, along with the other winners, will be honored at a special invitation-only ceremony and reception on Tuesday, November 15 at ASCAP’s New York offices.

The article explores Ray’s significant impact on the Jazz genre, interviewing a number of fellow musicians and colleagues who experienced the genius’s work first-hand. In reading the detailed accounts of the musical arranging and engineering for Charles’ many jazz albums, it’s impossible not to see the incredible influence he had,  for which, Cohen states, Charles is often unappreciated.

“It’s important for the world to know that while Ray Charles certainly transcended musical categories, he was also an important jazz musician and bandleader. Not only did much of his great music vividly include what he loved and admired about jazz, not only did he hire first rate jazz musicians to play in his groups (including, but not limited to, David “Fathead” Newman, Hank Crawford, Marcus Belgrave and Steve Turre), but he also inspired many other jazz musicians”, said Cohen about the idea behind his award winning article. “For some reason, he’s been largely left out of the accepted jazz pantheon— maybe because of his international popularity—but he definitely belongs in every jazz history syllabus.”

The ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards were established in 1967 to honor the memory of composer/critic/commentator Deems Taylor, who died in 1966 after a distinguished career that included six years as President of ASCAP. Over the years, tens of thousands of dollars have been distributed in cash prizes to winning authors, journalists and broadcast producers and personalities.

To view the online issue of the October 2010 edition of Downbeat Magazine, featuring the award-winning article “Ray’s Kind Of Jazz”, visit http://www.downbeat.com/digitaledition/2010/DB201010/.

Aaron Cohen’s latest work Amazing Grace, about the making, and influence of, the Aretha Franklin album of that name, is currently available through Continuum publishing.

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