Seven Jazz Greats Are Named NEA Jazz Masters,
Seattle, WA - At a gala event held today in Seattle, Washington, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia announced that seven living legends of American music are joining the ranks of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters.
Each year since 1982, the Arts Endowment has awarded this title to a handful of living figures in recognition of their exceptional contributions to jazz. Designation as an NEA Jazz Master is the nation's highest honor in jazz and may be conferred on a solo instrumentalist, rhythm instrumentalist, keyboard player, arranger-composer, vocalist or jazz advocate.
The seven new NEA Jazz Masters, who will officially receive their awards at a ceremony and concert on January 7, 2005, are Kenny Burrell (guitarist), Paquito D'Rivera (clarinetist-saxophonist), Slide Hampton (arranger-composer), Shirley Horn (vocalist), Artie Shaw (big band leader), Jimmy Smith (organist) and George Wein (jazz advocate).
"Jazz may well be considered America's most treasured and most influential export,” said Chairman Gioia. "From its earliest days until now it has continued to grow creatively--and yet the people who have given us this art form deserve far greater recognition. By honoring this music's greatest living figures, the NEA Jazz Masters program helps enrich our culture and perpetuates one of the great American inventions.”
To forge new links between these great musicians and the American public, the Arts Endowment recently expanded the NEA Jazz Masters program through a number of outreach initiatives. Notable among these is NEA Jazz Masters On Tour, which aims to bring these musicians to audiences in all 50 states.
Chairman Gioia identified the new NEA Jazz Masters at an event hosted by the Earshot Jazz Society of Seattle, Washington, which has been a frequent partner with the Arts Endowment in other jazz presentations. The featured performer at the event was NEA Jazz Master Benny Golson, appearing with the young musicians of the nationally recognized Garfield High School Jazz Band. Following the ceremony, Chairman Gioia attended a reception at Seattle's Experience Music Project, where he was greeted by EMP's founder, Paul Allen.
The seven new NEA Jazz Masters will receive their awards in January at a gala concert held in Long Beach, California, under the auspices of the annual convention of the International Association for Jazz Education.
About NEA Jazz Masters
From 1982 through 2005, the National Endowment for the Arts has designated eighty great figures in American music as NEA Jazz Masters, based on nominations submitted by the public. Newly named NEA Jazz Masters are honored at an awards ceremony and concert and are provided with a one-time fellowship of $25,000. Only living musicians or jazz advocates may be honored as NEA Jazz Masters.
To help the NEA Jazz Masters make further connections with the American people, the Arts Endowment in 2004 established the NEA Jazz Masters On Tour program. The program provides funds to non-profit presenting organizations to feature NEA Jazz Masters, with educational activities included in each engagement. The launch of the program in 2004 was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts with matching funds from Chamber Music America for 16 presenters through a generous grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Other current outreach initiatives include audio profiles of the 2005 NEA Jazz Masters produced for radio distribution and Arts Endowment co-operation with television broadcasts that will feature the 2005 NEA Jazz Masters. The Arts Endowment also has collaborated with the Verve Music Group on a commemorative two-CD set of recordings by NEA Jazz Masters, and with Verve and Apple Computers' iTunes Music Store to create special edition, digital-only compilations of the music of NEA Jazz Masters for exclusive on-line release. The Endowment has produced an illustrated publication, introduced by A.B. Spellman, with profiles of all the NEA Jazz Masters, 1982-2004.
For more information on NEA Jazz Masters, the public is invited to visit the web site, at www.neajazzmasters.org.
Biographies of the 2005 NEA Jazz Masters:
High resolution photos suitable for print publication are available on the web site.
For more information on the NEA Jazz Masters, please see our Lifetime Honors section.
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