This year we decided to create a new category to honour artists who, for one reason or another, are much more popular in other places around the world - not necessarily Japan - than they are here in their hometown (it could just as easily be called the Big In Germany Award).
In past years, this acknowledgement could've been given to Peaches, Feist, Abs & Fase, Danko Jones or Leroy Sibbles. But the most deserving this year has to be singer/pianist Elizabeth Shepherd (pictured, left).
Shepherd has packed out prestigious venues like the Jazz Cafe in London, the Blue Note Club in Tokyo and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, yet here you can still catch the Elizabeth Shepherd Trio playing all night at Mitzi's Sister on a weekday for whatever you care to contribute to the hat when it's passed around. Amazing!