Jazz has a long tradition in Austria, dating back to the 1920s, and has produced numerous internationally successful musical personalities and formations:

Joe Zawinul, Hans Koller, Vera Auer, Fatty George, the Erich Kleinschuster Sextet, Michael Mantler, the Vienna Art Orchestra, Werner Pirchner & Harry Pepl, Karlheinz Miklin, Wolfgang Puschnig, the Jazzwerkstatt Wien and Graz, Viola Falb and many more. More than ten educational institutions (music universities and conservatories) throughout Austria continuously train numerous young musicians who decisively enrich Austrian and international musical life through their creative work.

In the years 1997-2009 the "Hans Koller Prize" existed in numerous categories (Musician/Album/Newcomer of the Year, "European Jazz Prize", Audience Award, etc.). The discontinuation of this jazz prize due to professional changes of its organizer Mathias Rüegg has created a clear gap in the perception of jazz and the appreciation of the artistic achievements of many musicians in Austria.

The term "jazz" should be defined broadly and include not only idioms of jazz history (traditional, swing, bebop/cool, hard bop/free, fusion etc.) but also improvised music in general as well as border crossers of the genre in the direction of classical/contemporary music, folk music/world music, dance/electronic, soul/funk and rock/pop. Accordingly, the overall spectrum also includes a wide variety of casts, formal structures and crossovers with other art forms (literature, dance, film, ...).

The transcultural principle inherent in jazz – whose emergence is inseparably linked to transatlantic colonial history – should be particularly emphasized insofar as artists who have come to Austria from all continents and have their center of life here are invited to participate in the Austrian Jazz Award.

Kunst- und Kulturstaatssekretärin Mag.a Andrea Mayer, BMKÖS

"The newly created Austrian Jazz Award will not only grant the excellent domestic jazz scene broader attention from the media and the audience, but above all honor the achievements of outstanding musicians. Jazz as a highly lively art form that thrives on open-mindedness and tolerance towards the new and unknown, on the moment and creative agility, on listening and listening, can teach us a lot about tolerant and harmonious coexistence. I am looking forward to an inspiring award ceremony under the aegis of the Austrian Music Council and the resulting impulses for the Austrian and international jazz scene."

Kulturstadträtin Mag.a Veronika Kaup-Hasler, Stadt Wien

"With awards, we honour people for their extraordinary achievements. They are an appreciation for commitment, dedication and excellence and at the same time create attention – not only for individual personalities, but they also pay tribute to genres and areas of work. I am delighted to have been awarded the first Austrian Jazz Awards, with which we are focusing our attention on Austrian jazz and its outstanding musicians: a scene that is an integral part of the domestic music landscape, and whose protagonists stimulate the national and international music world with their diverse and creative work at the highest level."

Marcus Ratka, Rektor der JAM Music Lab Privatuniversität

"As a university dedicated to all forms of jazz and popular music, we are honored and delighted to be part of the supporters of the Austrian Jazz Awards! Jazz has a long and important tradition in Austrian music history. Once known as music for dance, theatre, variety and film, it later developed into a platform for musicians, bands and orchestras who carried jazz out into the world. Today, the Austrian jazz scene sets important accents for improvised music that transcends stylistic boundaries. We wish the Austrian Jazz Awards every success and look forward to making a valuable contribution to this important project as a university."

mica / Sabine Reiter

mica – music austria has as its founding mission to support the internationalization of Austrian musicians. Since 2011, we have been doing this together with the Austrian Music Fund under the umbrella brand Austrian Music Export. In the field of jazz, we have been able to establish very constructive and successful collaborations in Austria, for example with the Saalfelden Jazz Festival or with the Kick Jazz event at Porgy & Bess. At both events, we will be able to present the Austrian jazz scene to an international professional audience of organizers invited by Austrian Music Export. In addition, Austrian Music Export also works with cooperations and a focus on Austria at festivals abroad in order to make the jazz scene internationally visible. The Austrian Jazz Award is another important tool in the toolbox of export activities. We are particularly pleased that we can use synergy effects due to the proximity to Kick Jazz in December and also present the winners of the awards to an international audience of experts. In this way, the prize can also contribute to the international visibility of the great Austrian jazz scene from the very beginning!

ORF Ö1 Jazzredaktion

"Since the discontinuation of the "Hans Koller Prize" in 2010, there has been no comparable, nationwide award for jazz in Austria. Filling this gap would be essential insofar as the awarding of the jazz prizes in the past has always attracted media attention throughout Europe and has meant invaluable impulses for the domestic jazz scene. Under the direction of the Austrian Music Council and in cooperation with the most important scene players, this ball could or should be resumed under new auspices so that jazz can once again anchor its position more firmly in the country's public cultural life."