DCJazzPrix™ International Band Competition

DCJazzPrix is an annual international band competition that provides a unique professional and adjudication platform for emerging bands, outside of the traditional academic and commercial arenas. Unlike other performance-based contests, DCJazzPrix puts the emphasis on the essential interactions between band members and recognizes these relationships as the core pursuit of the jazz aesthetic. Young and emerging jazz bands from around are encouraged to apply for what aspires to be a premier global platform for jazz band's seeking new audiences and exciting career navigation opportunities.

All DCJazzPrix applicants will have their music heard by a prestigious jury of jazz luminaries. Up to three finalist bands will be selected to travel to Washington, DC during the annual DC JazzFest to compete at the DCJazzPrix Finals before an enthusiastic crowd of jazz fans. The winning band will begin a yearlong association with the DC Jazz Festival to include: a $15,000 grand prize, customized business development and career impact services, extensive publicity training, and a highly visible 2022 DC JazzFest engagement with commensurate compensation.

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2022 DCJazzPrix Finalists

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AKUA ALLRICH & THE TRIBE (Upper Marlboro, MD): Led by DC-born vocalist Akua Allrich, the band includes bassist Kris Funn, pianist-keyboardist Samuel Prather, and drummer Tyler Leak. Allrich’s style is fluid and ever evolving. Her musical roots run deeply into blues, soul and rhythm and blues, with a clear grounding in jazz and pan-African music. She sings in many languages including Portuguese, French, Spanish, English, Xhosa, and Twi. Given her ability to capture the essence of a broad range of musical genres, Allrich is often likened to legendary artists such as Oscar Brown, Jr., Miriam Makeba and Nina Simone. She has developed popular tribute programs involving the latter two women and other great African American women of jazz. Akua Allrich & The Tribe represent a magnetic Afro-centric multi-culturalism. Learn more.

JALEN BAKER QUARTET (Houston, TX): Led by vibraphonist Jalen Baker, the Quartet includes Paul Cornish on piano, bassist Gabriel Godoy, and drummer Gavin Moolchan. Currently living in Houston, Jalen continues to compose and perform. His unique blend of original modern jazz compositions and jazz standards make for exciting live performances. As a band leader, Jalen has also been awarded the prestigious South Arts Jazz Roads Touring Grant. He has been the featured artist with various organizations such as the Savannah Jazz Orchestra, and Live Music Movement Houston. Jalen Baker represents somewhat of a renaissance of the vibes in jazz, joining his contemporaries Joel Ross and Chien Chien Lu in that regard. Learn more.


JULIETA EUGENIO TRIO (Brooklyn, NY): Performing in the challenging trio setting sans a chording instrument, with Matt Dwonszyk on bass and drummer Jonathan Barber, tenor saxophonist Julieta Eugenio is one of the emerging tenor saxophonists. Originally from Argentina, Julieta moved to New York City almost a decade ago, and has put together a trio to present her music to the world! Her debut album, JUMP (Greenleaf Music), features eight original compositions as well some choice jazz standards performed with her trio that includes Dwonszyk and Barber. Julieta was born in Necochea (Buenos Aires) where she began studying music under the direction of Juan Carlos Gesualdi. Learn more.

Each band will receive benefits associated with a major jazz festival performance opportunity, and the finalists will compete live at the DCJazzPrix Finals on Saturday, September 3rd at Union Stage during the DC JazzFest at The Wharf. Audience response will be a factor in the Jury’s determination of the winner. Aside from gaining significant exposure, the winning band will begin a yearlong association with the DC Jazz Festival to include: a $15,000 grand prize, customized business development and career impact services, extensive publicity training, and a highly visible 2022 DC JazzFest engagement with commensurate compensation.

2021 Winners

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DC Jazz Festival Crowns Sixth Annual DCJazzPrix™ Winners in Unprecedented Tie

Giveton Gelin Quintet and Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé finish in an extraordinary tie vote as co-winners of the 6th Annual DCJazzPrix™ on September 5 as part of the recently concluded 17th anniversary DC Jazz Festival. Launched in 2016, DCJazzPrix is the DC Jazz Festival’s international competition created to recognize and support top rising jazz band talent.


Each of the winning bands specialize in electrifying expressions of 21st century jazz. These brilliant young bands were selected following the DCJazzPrix finals, which took place before an enthusiastic, standing-room-only audience at Union Stage as part of DC JazzFest at The Wharf.    


Giveton Gelin Quintet and Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé, both based in New York City, competed as two of three DCJazzPrix finalist bands that also included British saxophonist Camilla George’s vibrant quintet. All three bands presented exceptional 20-minute sets, rousing a packed audience to its feet and significantly raising the bar for our judges’ deliberations.


Trumpeter and Nassau, Bahamas native Giveton Gelin was mentored by the great trumpeter Eddie Henderson and the late trumpeter Roy Hargrove. He leads the Giveton Gelin Quintet, a classic jazz, tradition-based and original composition-fueled acoustic ensemble with piano, bass, drums and saxophone. Self-taught from the age of 10, Gelin studied at the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory and The Juilliard School, and was selected for the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead education intensive at the Kennedy Center. His current release is True Design. 


Havana, Cuba-born pianist-keyboardist Dayramir Gonzalez founded Habana enTRANCé in 2004. The ensemble specializes in an infectious brand of Afro-Caribbean jazz expression and includes musicians from Argentina and Chile. Gonzalez’s first professional affiliation came at age 16 with former Irakere member Oscar Valdés’ Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble Diákara. He matriculated at the renowned Berklee College of Music and has been mentored by Cuban master pianist-bandleader and DCJF Lifetime Achievement Award winner Chucho Valdés. Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé’s current release is The Grand Concourse (Machat).


“It is exciting to identify and promote the careers of emerging jazz artists committed to the creative and professional development of their very own excellent bands,” said DC Jazz Festival President and CEO Sunny Sumter. “DCJazzPrix is unique in that it recognizes bands over soloists. It allows jazz artists to pause and concentrate on band identity on multiple fronts, increase performance opportunities, and sustain collective output.”


In addition to a $15,000 cash prize, the Giveton Gelin Quintet and Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé have earned a year-long association with the DC Jazz Festival for professional development consultation and business support addressing their varied needs, such as publicity, artistic and financial management, booking and touring, audience and social media engagement, grant writing, commissioning of new works, and brand development. Each band also will receive a paid 2022 DC Jazz Festival mainstage engagement.


2022 DCJazzPrix Application Opens in December 2021.

DCJazzPrix program is made possible by the generous support of The Leonard and Elaine Silverstein Family Foundation. The DCJazzPrix award is made possible by the generous support of Conrad Kenley, and the Galena-Yorktown Foundation.