Inside Move: Jazz mavens mull kudocast

Awards show to be staged in L.A. in Aug. or Sept.

HOLLYWOOD — Finding people who say they love jazz is relatively easy. Assembling a jazz kudocast with international TV outlets takes a little more time.

Former Marvin Gaye associate Kitty Sears has created a jazz awards show to be staged in Los Angeles in August or September, most likely at the Shrine Auditorium or Gibson Amphitheater.

Sears and her producer, Igo Kantor, have planned tributes to Count Basie, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Clint Eastwood; negotiations are under way with Hollywood talent to present the awards, with pianist George Duke and Quincy Jones already on board.

But there’s a catch: If there’s no domestic television network, there’s no show. “This is a high-budget special,” Sears said. “The sponsors we have lined up are interested in a televised show.”

Jazz awards are given by magazines such as Downbeat and orgs such as the Jazz Journalists Assn., but nothing that approaches the televised awards shows for genres such as country and R&B.

Award, named the Louie, will be presented in 19 categories, ranging from Brazilian and Latin/Afro-Cuban to hip-hop. Albums released in 2005 will be eligible for the first year’s awards. Sears said sales tallies will determine the five finalists in each category and that a panel of 1,000 voters will determine the three nominees. That same panel, comprising people who work in jazz, will determine the winners.

Sears, CEO and president of Tamar Entertainment, hopes to also generate a live album from the event that George Duke, who is booked as music supervisor, would produce.

Kantor, president of Kanopy Intl. Entertainment and Cyber America, said he has oral commitments from networks in France, Spain, South Africa and Mexico. All of them are waiting to see how the U.S. negotiations pan out.

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