The National Endowment for the Arts Honors its 2007 NEA Jazz Masters as Jazz Greats Gather in New York
Gala Concert on January 12 Marks the 25th Anniversary of the NEA Jazz Master Award, the Nation's Highest Award in Jazz
January 10, 2007
At the beginning of a festive annual concert, now eagerly awaited by jazz professionals and music lovers everywhere, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia will step onto the stage of the New York Hilton Grand Ballroom on Friday evening, January 12, 2007, and welcome the audience to the awards ceremony for the 2007 NEA Jazz Masters.
On this occasion, marking the 25th anniversary of the award, the nation's highest honor in jazz will be conferred on six renowned musicians: Toshiko Akiyoshi (bandleader), Curtis Fuller (solo instrumentalist, trombone), Ramsey Lewis (pianist), Jimmy Scott (vocalist), Frank Wess (solo instrumentalist, flute), and Phil Woods (composer-arranger). In addition, the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy will be given to educator and author Dan Morgenstern. Some two dozen previously inducted NEA Jazz Masters will be present at the concert to congratulate their new colleagues.
The concert and ceremony, scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., will be hosted by NEA Chairman Dana Gioia and noted jazz author, critic, and former NEA Deputy Chairman A.B. Spellman. Musical tributes to the new inductees will include performances by an exciting roster of artists, including the Clayton Brothers, the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band, 2004 NEA Jazz Master Nancy Wilson, trumpet player Roy Hargrove and vocalist Roberta Gambarini as well as a much-anticipated jam session with the NEA Jazz Masters.
According to Chairman Gioia, "The Arts Endowment has made great efforts over the past few years to expand and invigorate the NEA Jazz Masters program, so we can forge new connections between these great musicians and the American people in all fifty states. The success of that effort begins here, with the excitement that is now generated every year by this overwhelmingly popular event."
The NEA Jazz Masters concert and ceremony is a highlight of the annual conference of the International Association for Jazz Education. The world's largest gathering of the global jazz community, the conference brings together some 7,000 educators, musicians, recording executives, exhibitors, journalists, and jazz enthusiasts.
Earlier on Friday, January 12, at 11 a.m., the members of the Class of 2007 NEA Jazz Masters will participate in a panel discussion and question-and-answer session, held in the Trianon Ballroom of the New York Hilton. A.B. Spellman will serve as moderator.
Immediately following the panel discussion, at approximately 12:30 PM, two dozen NEA Jazz Masters from past and current classes will gather in the lobby of the New York Hilton for an extraordinary photo opportunity.
Members of the press who want to attend the concert or panel discussion, or who would like to participate in the photo opportunity on Friday, January 12 at 12:30 PM, must reserve a place in advance. Please contact Rebecca Bell at 612-968-0772 or firstname.lastname@example.org and Victoria Hutter at the National Endowment for the Arts (202-682-5692 or email@example.com).
About NEA Jazz Masters: From 1982 through 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts designated 87 great figures in American music as NEA Jazz Masters, based on nominations submitted by the public. Newly named NEA Jazz Masters 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 these musicians make further connections with the American people, the Arts Endowment significantly expanded the program in 2004 and in 2005 established the NEA Jazz Masters Initiative. The initiative encompasses the award program itself; Jazz Moments, mini features broadcast on various channels of XM Satellite Radio; NEA Jazz Masters On Tour, sponsored by Verizon, which is creating performance opportunities in all 50 states for NEA Jazz Masters, coordinated by Arts Midwest and supported in part by Chamber Music America through a generous grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; NEA Jazz in the Schools, developed in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center and generously supported by the Verizon Foundation; and radio and TV broadcast projects featuring NEA Jazz Masters. The Arts Endowment also collaborated with the Verve Music Group on CD and digital compilations and produced illustrated publications with profiles of all the NEA Jazz Masters.
For more information on NEA Jazz Masters, the public is invited to visit the web site, at www.neajazzmasters.org.
High resolution photos are available for download for media use.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency