Shunzo Ohno, Omar Sosa Paolo Fresu, Xavier Faro -Jazz Winners ISCJazz Winners Announced in International Songwriting Competition (ISC)

Judges Include Danilo Perez, Mike Stern, John Burk (President, Concord Music Group)
Dan McCarroll (President, Warner Bros. Records), and More

May 17, 2017 -- The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) is pleased to announce its 2016 Jazz Winners. Now in its 16th year, ISC is the world’s largest international songwriting competition, receiving more than 16,000 entries from 137 countries throughout the world. More than $150,000 in cash (US) and merchandise is awarded to 71 winners in 23 categories, covering all genres of contemporary music, including Jazz, Latin, Rock, Pop, R&B/Hip-Hop, and much more.

ISC has been called “the songwriting competition to take note of” by The New York Times, and winning ISC is considered to be a prestigious songwriting achievement. Over the years many renowned jazz artists have been honored, including: Gregory Porter; Omar Sosa; David Friesen; Bruce Gertz; Allan Harris; Eishin Nose; Harvey S; Jeff Tain Watts; Lionel Loueke; Matt Shulman; and many more.

This year, First Place in the Jazz category goes to Shunzo Ohno (Gifu, Japan) for his song “Go On.” Second Place is awarded to Paolo Fresu (Berchidda, Italy) for “Zeus' Desires,” and Third Place goes to Xavier Faro (Cahors, France) for “Les Passagers.”

Candace Avery, Founder and Director of ISC, says, “The ISC Jazz category is always one of the most competitive categories because the overall level of songwriting talent is extremely high. We are thrilled to honor so many accomplished jazz artists, and we look forward to hearing many more great jazz songs in the future.”

The 2016 Jazz winners include:

Garnering First Place is trumpeter Shunzo Ohno for his song “Go On.” Born and raised in Gifu, Japan, Ohno now resides in upstate New York, USA. He was the winner of the ISC Grand Prize in 2013 and is now being recognized once again by ISC for his outstanding songwriting ability. A two-time Grammy winner, Ohno is one of the most versatile and influential trumpeters in modern jazz. Over the years he has performed with Art Blakey, Gil Evans, Larry Coryell, Wayne Shorter, Machito and His Afro-Cuban Orchestra, Herbie Hancock, and more. During his life he has faced much adversity, including a serious car accident and then throat cancer. His recovery through these life-changing events has created inspiration and the development of a unique sound with a musical voice that is heard around the world. The documentary Never Defeated, The Shunzo Ohno Story highlights the song “Musashi” (the song for which Ohno won the ISC Grand Prize) as well as his life’s challenges and triumphs.

Paolo Fresu (Omar Sosa & Paolo Fresu)SECOND PLACE
Second Place is awarded to Paolo Fresu (Berchidda, Italy) for “Zeus' Desires.” The song is showcased by the decade-long partnership between Cuban-born Omar Sosa and Italian trumpeter/flugelhorn player Paolo Fresu. The song “Zeus’ Desires” was released on their album Eros in 2016. Together they have forged a collaboration that has been widely praised by critics and jazz fans. Individually they have also both achieved tremendous recognition and accolades. Over the years Fresu recorded and toured with Carla Bley, and he has composed music for theatre, dance, radio, television, and film. Multi-instrumentalist Sosa is a prolific, much-lauded performer known for his genre-bending recordings that fuse jazz, world music, hip-hop, and electronic elements with his Afro-Cuban roots. He is a seven-time Grammy nominee.

Xavier Faro (Meajam)THIRD PLACE
Third Place honors go to Xavier Faro for the song “Les Passagers.” Hailing from Cahors, France, Faro is a pianist/composer and member of the acclaimed group Meajam. Their debut album "Dans L’Herbe" was released in 2014. In addition to Meajam, Faro regularly performs with Alain Angeli, revisiting classic jazz in a free and playful manner. He recently recorded the album "A l’est" with quartet Toultoutim which was released in January, 2017. He also collaborates with the group Tiptoe Combo which fuses Latin and Afro music with modern Jazz. The group will release its first album, De l’autre côté, in the Fall of 2017.

In addition to these winners, 12 Jazz songs garnered Honorable Mentions:

Are You Kidding Me?!” – Jim Whitney (Franconia, NH, USA)
“Ballad Of The Innocent” – Jeff Siegel / Jeff “Siege" Siegel Quartet Ft. Feya Faku (Shokan, NY, USA)
“Blue Reflection” – Shota Yamamoto / Kyoto Composers Jazz Orchestra (Owariasahi, Aichi, Japan)
“Choice” – Eden Bareket / Eden Bareket Trio (Brooklyn, NY, USA)
How To Lamp” – Dave Hassell / Dave Hassell Quintet (Brooklyn, NY, USA)
I Can't Take It Anymore” – Salvatore Cirillo (Caserta, Italy)
“Letter To The Spring” – Hye-Jeung Kang / Lunaria (Seoul, South Korea)
Sanctum” – Yuto Kanazawa (Shirakawa City, Fukushima, Japan)
Two In One” – Ryo Hatakeyama (Kobe, Japan)
Upside Swagger” – Eli Bennett (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
Well Red” – Jason Anick / Jason Anick and Jason Yeager (Portsmouth, NH, USA)
“Yasou-kyoku” – Jazz Koto / Guitar Ramses (Shinjuku-ku, Japan)

Many other deserving songs also share in the prestige and kudos of winning their respective categories in ISC. Winners hail from all over the world (59% of this year’s winners come from outside the USA), representing diverse cultures and ranging from talented amateurs to seasoned songwriting veterans..

For the first time in the history of the competition, the Grand Prize is awarded to Canadian songwriters. It is with great pleasure that ISC bestows its highest honor to Canadian troubador Matt Epp and Morocco-born Manitoba-raised 16-year old phenom Faouzia for their co-written song “The Sound Ft. Faouzia,” entered in the Folk/Singer-Songwriter category. Most of all, the Grand Prize winners take home $25,000 in cash (USD) and over $45,000 in additional prizes.

For a complete list of ISC 2016 winners, go to:

The complete panel of 2016 judges includes: 

Recording Artists: Chris Cornell; Lorde; Tom Waits; Ziggy Marley; American Authors; Donovan; Bastille; Joe Bonamassa; Martie Maguire (Dixie Chicks); Keane; Hardwell; India Arie; Kaskade; Danilo Perez; Jay Farrar (Son Volt/Uncle Tupelo); Vijay Iyer; Sara Evans; Afro Celt Sound System; Jesse & Joy; Gerald Casale (Devo); Mike Stern; Carlos Vives; Joy Williams (Civil Wars); Rickie Lee Jones; Ray Benson (Asleep At The Wheel); Ana Barbara; Salif Keita; John Mayall; Fat Joe; Luis Fonsi; Art Alexakis (Everclear); Nicholas Gunn; Ryan Bingham; Amadou & Mariam; Jordan Feliz; Matt Maher; Mariana Vega; and Femi Kuti.

Industry Executives

Craig Kallman (Chairman/CEO, Atlantic Records); Dan McCarroll (President, Warner Bros. Records); Seymour Stein (Chairman/CEO, Sire Records); Ed Vetri (President, Wind-Up Records); Craig Balsam (Owner, Razor & Tie/Washington Square/Kidz Bop); Daniel Glass (President, Glassnote Records); Steve Yegelwel (Senior Vice-President, Island Records); John Esposito (Chariman & CEO, Warner Music Nashville); Afo Verde (Chairman, Sony Music Latin); Jason McArthur (VP of A&R, Provident Label Group/Sony Music Entertainment); Bruce Iglauer (Founder/President, Alligator Records); John Burk (President, Concord Label Group); Mike Easterlin (President, Fueled By Ramen/Roadrunner Records); Angel Carrasco (Latin Music Consultant/Producer); Aaron Bay-Schuck (President of A&R, Interscope Records); Richard Stumpf (CEO, Atlas Publishing); Steve Greenberg (CEO, S-Curve Records); Gordon Kerr (CEO, Black River Entertainment); Nate Albert (EVP of A&R, Capitol Records); Kim Buie (VP of A&R, New West Records); Albert Schilcher (VP of Music and Music Marketing, MTV International); Nick Burgess (Sr. VP of A&R, Virgin/EMI); Josh Bailey (Sr. VP of A&R, Word Entertainment);

Chris Eckman (Co-Founder, Glitterbeat Records); Colin Barlow (Managing Director, RCA UK); Peter Weber (Co-Founder, Glitterbeat Records); Jacob Edgar (Founder, Cumbancha); Laura Margolin (Publishing, Glassnote Records); Benjamin Groff (Founder, The Brill Building); Golnar Khosrowshahi (President, Reservoir Media Management); Sas Metcalfe (President, Global Creative, Kobalt Music); Carianne Marshall (Partner, Songs Music Publishing); Rich Goodman (President, Rip Tide Music Group); Chris Van Belkom (VP, Combustion Music); Tamara Conniff (EVP, Roc Nation); Jerome Spence (VP Film/TV, Secret Road); Jamie Masada (Owner, Laugh Factory); Julie Kertes (General Manager, National Parenting Publications Awards, NAPPA); Claire S. Green (President, Parents' Choice Foundation); Cyndi Nelson (General Mgr, Zanies Comedy Club); Leib Ostrow (Founder/CEO, Music For Little People); and Cory Robbins (Founder/President, Robbins Entertainment).

Sponsors include: Adam Professional Audio, Berklee College of Music, Big Joe Stomp Box Company, CAD Audio, Celebrity Access, D’Addario, Dark Horse Institute, Disc Makers, Fran’s Chocolates, Gauge Precision Instruments, Gig Salad, Graph Tech, Irie Magazine, Klotz, LANDR, Lewitt, Lowden Guitars, Lurssen Mastering, Marshall, Merch Cat, Musicians Institute, ONErpm, OWC, PRA Audio,, Sweetwater, and Thalia.

Entries are now open for the 2017 competition. For more information and to enter, go to

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