Deadline for 2022 SASSY Awards is September 6

May 9, 2022

Deadline for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s 11th Annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Competition is September 6, 2022. The contest is open to solo vocalists from around the world. The five finalists will be announced in the fall of this year, and they will sing at a final performance on November 20, 2022 on the NJPAC stage in front of judges and a live audience. The event will be part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.

Also known as the SASSY Awards, the competition is open to vocalists over the age of 18 of all genders and nationalities, from anywhere in the world, who have not been signed by a major record label. Contestants are judged on vocal quality, musicality, technique, performance, individuality, artistic interpretation, and ability to swing. The first prize winner will receive a $5,000 cash award; second place finisher will receive $1,500, and 3rd place winner will be the recipient of $500.

The judges include: violinist Regina Carter, bassist Christian McBride, drummer T.S. Monk, bandleader/composer Maria Schneider, and WBGO Radio personality Pat Prescott. Host of the November 20th event will be WBGO’s Gary Walker, and the 2020 SASSY co-winners, Tawanda Suessbrich-Joaquim (pictured above) and Gabrielle Cavassa, will perform. Suessbrich-Joaquim and Cavassa, along with 2019 winner, Samara Joy, appeared on the cover of the July/August 2021 Jersey Jazz Magazine, and 2021 winner, G. Thomas Allen, was interviewed in the December 2021 Jersey Jazz.

Sarah Vaughan, a Newark teenager in 1942, won an amateur singing contest that helped launch her career. After winning the SASSY Award last November, Allen told Jersey Jazz he was inspired by Sarah Vaughan’s rendition of the Erroll Garner/Johnny Burke song, “Misty” sung at a live concert in Sweden in 1964. “I saw a YouTube clip of it,” he said, “and I sort of used that and modeled my jazz phrasing from it.” Seussbrich-Joaquim said Vaughan’s “style and voice and contribution to jazz are really the foundation of my jazz education and love for jazz.”

For more information about The SASSY Awards, log onto


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