“The purpose of these awards is to celebrate and honour Canadian jazz musicians of the highest artistic excellence who are deserving of national recognition. Each year two awards will be presented, to one living and one past legend of Canadian jazz,” said Rosnes. “We believe it is time to recognize the great contributions Canadian artists have made to jazz music.”

Nominations are based on individuals who have reached the highest level of artistic excellence, and have made major contributions - through recordings and live performances - within the field of Canadian jazz. Nominees will be chosen and reviewed by a rotating advisory panel of jazz experts from across Canada whose recommendations will be compiled in a master list. The artists who receive the most votes by the panel, in each of the two categories, will be honoured with a Canadian Jazz Master Award. 

The Canadian Jazz Master Awards will be presented annually, under the auspices of the Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival.