This year the American bassist/composer Ben Allison (1966) has been elected winner of the Bird Award 'Artist Deserving Wider Recognition'. According to the jury Allison is a born musical leader who approaches music in a completely original and authentic manner. The flexibility in his present-day oeuvre, in which he merges tradition and modern ideas, is striking. Moreover he manages to create a fine context for his coherent compositions and modern improvisations. In his playing he shows great sensitivity for dynamics, which has its reaction on his fellow musicians. This all-round musician doesn't shy away from adventure in music at all, an attitude that finds the utmost expression in his formation Medicine Wheel. At the same time Allison has the talent to develop many successful initiatives, including projects such as Peace Pipe and the Herbie Nichols Project. Furthermore he is also artistic manager of the New York Jazz Composers Collective, a musician-run, non-profit organization that encourages artists to take artistic risks.
At the North Sea Jazz Festival Ben Allison will perform together with his quartet, featuring trumpet player Ron Horton, guitarist Steve Cardenas and drummer Gerald Cleaver.
Other nominees for the Bird Award 'Artist Deserving Wider Recognition' 2005 were: Bert van den Brink, Jorge Pardo, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Lars Danielsson en Tony Overwater.
This year the jury consisted of Kees van Boven (programmer), Jaap Lüdeke (Concertzender), Henk Meutgeert (Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw) and Wouter Turkenburg (Royal Conservatory The Hague).