NEA Jazz Masters to be Honored in
New York on January 23
National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia Honors
2004 Winners and Convenes Historic Gathering of
Previously Named Jazz Masters for Historic Star-Studded Concert
January 22, 2004
The Kreisberg Group, Ltd.
NEW YORK, NY - On Friday, January 23, Dana Gioia, Chairman of
the National Endowment for the Arts, will honor the six winners of the 2004 NEA
Jazz Masters Award - guitarist Jim Hall, drummer Chico Hamilton, pianist Herbie
Hancock, arranger-composer Luther Henderson (1919-2003), music critic Nat
Hentoff, and singer Nancy Wilson - at a gala ceremony and concert in New York
The 2004 ceremony will be an historic moment for jazz, as two dozen previously
named NEA Jazz Masters also will attend, making this the most extraordinary
assembly of jazz greats since Art Kane took the classic photograph A Great Day
in Harlem (1958).
NEA Jazz Masters Ron Carter, Roy Haynes, and Horace Silver will be among the
award presenters at the ceremony, hosted by NEA Jazz Master (and International
Association for Jazz Education President) David Baker. Among the performers at
the concert will be NEA Jazz Masters Dave Brubeck, Jimmy Heath, Percy Heath, Jon
Hendricks, Billy Taylor, and Clark Terry, as well as such luminaries as Paquito
D'Rivera, Hubert Laws, Joe Negri, The Four Brothers, and the New York Voices.
"A Great Day for Jazz"
New York, NY -- Some of the greatest jazz musicians the
world has ever known - all NEA Jazz Masters - were brought together by the
National Endowment for the Arts for a historic reunion luncheon in New York City
on January 23, 2004. Photo by Tom Pich.
on image to enlarge and for names of all NEA Jazz Masters shown.
A high resolution version is also available.
Please see NEA Chairman Dana Gioia's remarks at the NEA Jazz Masters ceremony.
As the NEA Jazz Masters program turns 21, Chairman Gioia has launched a major
expansion of the program. New initiatives include:
- the establishment of six award categories;
- a deluxe, commemorative two-CD compilation released by The Verve Music Group,
featuring two and a half hours of music by NEA Jazz Masters (in stores now);
- a digital-only Verve release, available exclusively through the iTunes Music
Store, of downloadable classic selections by NEA Jazz Masters Count Basie, Ella
Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, and Sarah Vaughan;
- broadcasts of the NEA Jazz Masters awards ceremony and concert on BET Jazz
Brunch (April 4) and BET Jazz (April 4, 11, 20, and 25) as part of Jazz
- a series of radio profiles of the 2004 NEA Jazz Masters, to be aired on public
radio stations around the country; and
- a 50-state concert tour of NEA Jazz Masters.
"The 2004 NEA Jazz Masters reflect the great variety and vitality of the field,"
Chairman Gioia stated. "We have enormously expanded our jazz program for two
reasons. First, we want to honor this great American art form. Second, we want
to bring jazz to new audiences across the country."
Established in 1982, the NEA Jazz Masters program each year elevates a select
number of living figures to its ranks, conferring on them the nation's highest
honor for this uniquely American art form. Each new NEA Jazz Master will
receive a one-time fellowship award of $25,000.
The title of NEA Jazz Master will now be conferred in as many as five musical
categories: solo instrumentalist, rhythm instrumentalist, pianist,
arranger-composer, and vocalist. In addition, a sixth NEA Jazz Master award may
now be given to a jazz advocate who has made major contributions to the field.
Nat Hentoff is the first jazz master to receive an award in this new category.
The new touring component of the NEA Jazz Masters program is intended to bring
NEA Jazz Masters to all 50 states over the next two years. In the first phase
of the tour, concerts and educational activities by NEA Jazz Masters will be
presented at the following venues:
- American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, MO;
- Artists Collective, Inc., Hartford, CT;
- Cityfolk, Dayton, OH;
- Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA;
- Cuyahoga Community College Foundation (Tri-C JazzFest), Cleveland, OH;
- Earshot Jazz Society of Seattle, Seattle, WA;
- Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington, VT;
- Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, Pittsburgh, PA;
- Miami-Dade College, Miami, FL;
- National Black Arts Festival, Atlanta, GA;
- Newark Public Radio, Inc./WBGO-FM, Newark, NJ;
- New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Society, New Orleans, LA;
- Outpost Productions, Inc., Albuquerque, NM;
- SF Jazz, San Francisco, CA;
- Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Washington, DC; and
- University Musical Society, Ann Arbor, MI.
The deluxe-package two-CD set of recordings contains music by 27 NEA Jazz
Masters, including Count Basie, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Roy Eldridge, Ella
Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Anita O'Day, Sonny Rollins, Sarah Vaughan, and
Nancy Wilson, and includes liner notes by 2004 NEA Jazz Master Nat Hentoff. The
Endowment's radio profiles of the six 2004 NEA Jazz Masters mix musical
performances with interviews conducted with a variety of subjects, to give a
sound portrait of each Jazz Master's life and achievements.
The previously named NEA Jazz Masters who are scheduled to attend this year's
event, honoring the Jazz Masters Class of 2004, are David Baker, Louie Bellson,
Dave Brubeck, Donald Byrd, Ron Carter, Frank Foster, Benny Golson, Roy Haynes,
Percy Heath, Jimmy Heath, Jon Hendricks, Elvin Jones, Hank Jones, Jackie McLean,
Marian McPartland, James Moody, Anita O'Day, George Russell, Horace Silver,
Billy Taylor, Clark Terry, Randy Weston, and Gerald Wilson.
The NEA Jazz Masters awards ceremony and concert will be held at 8:00 p.m. in
the Grand Ballroom of the New York Hilton Hotel and Towers, as part of the
annual conference of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE).
Founded to ensure the continued growth and development of jazz through education
and outreach, IAJE is a voluntary, non-profit organization, serving 8,000
members in 40 countries.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of IAJE, President David N. Baker welcomed
the news of the expansion of the NEA Jazz Masters program. Baker, who was named
an NEA Jazz Master in 2000, stated, "The vision of the Chairman of the Endowment
and its leadership in this new enhancement initiative is truly brilliant and I
believe will impact the jazz field in a major way. The decision to place the
NEA Jazz Masters award on a par with the Pulitzer Prize as the highest award our
nation can bestow in the jazz field is a courageous act and an historic event."
NEA Jazz Masters are chosen through nominations submitted by the American
public. Nominations are reviewed by a distinguished panel of jazz experts, who
make their recommendations to the National Council on the Arts and the Chairman
of the National Endowment for the Arts for final approval. Only living figures
may be chosen. (Luther Henderson, one of the 2004 NEA Jazz Masters, was elected
to the program shortly before his death.) To date, 73 legends of American music
have been elevated to the status of NEA Jazz Master.
The 2004 NEA Jazz Masters are:
Solo Instrumentalist (Guitar): Jim Hall
Known for the warmth, expressiveness, and responsiveness of his music, guitarist
Jim Hall turned professional at age 13, playing with an ensemble in Cleveland.
After graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he majored in
theory, and beginning his work on a master's degree, he left graduate school to
pursue his dream of a career as a guitarist. He went to Los Angeles, where in
1955 he immediately attracted attention as a member of the original Chico
Hamilton Quintet. In 1957, he joined saxophonist Jimmy Giuffre's new trio, in
an innovative line-up that had Bob Brookmeyer as the third member, on trombone.
By 1960, Jim Hall was in New York City, playing regularly with musicians
including Sonny Rollins, Art Farmer, Bill Evans, and Paul Desmond. Still
prolifically active, he has released nine new CDs over the past decade and has
won critical acclaim as a composer-arranger for his recent pieces for strings,
brass and vocal ensemble. He continues to inspire younger musicians such as Pat
Metheny, Bill Frisell, Greg Osby and Chris Potter.
Rhythm Instrumentalist: Chico Hamilton
Born in Los Angeles in 1921, where as a teenager he played with schoolmates
including Charles Mingus, Buddy Collette, and Dexter Gordon, Foreststorn "Chico"
Hamilton began his professional career as a teenaged sideman with Lionel
Hampton, Duke Ellington, Slim Gaillard, Ella Fitzgerald, Lester Young and Lena
Horne. As the house drummer at Billy Berg's Los Angeles night club, he became a
mainstay of the burgeoning West Coast jazz scene. He first received national
recognition in 1952 as the drummer with Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker's
"pianoless" quartet. Then, in 1955, Hamilton stepped out as a bandleader,
forming the Chico Hamilton Quintet. A pioneer for its chamber-jazz style - the
instruments were drums, bass, cello, flute, and guitar - the Quintet became a hit
on recordings and was featured in the 1957 film Sweet Smell of Success.
Hamilton's ensembles have launched the careers of many artists, including Eric
Dolphy, Ron Carter, Charles Lloyd, Gabor Szabo, Larry Coryell, Richard Davis,
Arthur Blythe, and Eric Person, testifying to Hamilton's talent as one of the
great bandleader-educators in jazz. In 1987, he helped found the jazz program
at New York City's New School University.
Pianist: Herbie Hancock
Born in Chicago in 1940, pianist and composer Herbie Hancock performed as a
soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11 and began playing jazz in
high school. At age 20, he joined Donald Byrd's group and came to the attention
of Alfred Lion of Blue Note Records, who hired him as a session player.
Hancock's debut album as a leader, Takin' Off (1963), included "Watermelon Man,"
which became an instant hit as a single on jazz and R&B radio. Also in 1963,
Hancock was invited to join the Miles Davis Quintet. The classic recordings he
made with that ensemble over the next five years were enough in themselves to
secure his place in jazz history. His work for film and television began in
1966, when he composed the score for Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up. Moving
full-time into the electronic jazz-funk he had begun to explore with Miles
Davis, Hancock released Headhunters in 1973, the first platinum album in jazz
history, which produced the hit single "Chameleon." Since then, his continuing
explorations of both acoustic jazz and electronic funk have won Hancock popular
claim and critical accolades, including three Grammy Awards for his 1998
recording Gershwin's World.
Arranger-Composer: Luther Henderson (1919-2003)
Educated at the College of the City of New York, The Juilliard School and New
York University, Luther Henderson was for five decades the jazz world's great
ambassador to the Broadway stage. Arranger for Duke Ellington (most notably for
the composition Les Trois Rois Noirs, created for Dance Theatre of Harlem),
leader of the Luther Henderson Orchestra (with which he recorded six albums),
and composer for film and television, Henderson achieved his greatest success on
the stage, through his involvement with more than two dozen Broadway
productions, beginning in 1946 with Beggar's Holiday. He was the musical
supervisor, orchestrator and original pianist for Ain't Misbehavin'; musical
consultant and arranger for Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music; orchestrator and
co-composer for Jelly's Last Jam (for which he was nominated for a Tony Award
for Best Score); and brought his talents as an arranger and orchestrator to
celebrated shows including Flower Drum Song, Funny Girl, and the revival of No,
No, Nanette. His composition "Ten Good Years" (with lyricist Martin Charnin)
was recorded by 2003 NEA Jazz Master Nancy Wilson. In 2001, he orchestrated and
arranged the CD Ellington: The Music of Duke Ellington and Billie Strayhorn,
leading to a Carnegie Hall concert with the City of Birmingham Symphony
Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle conducting.
Vocalist: Nancy Wilson
Singer Nancy Wilson began her career at age 15, winning her own twice-a-week
television show in Columbus, Ohio, through a talent contest and singing in local
clubs, where she impressed visiting musicians such as Cannonball Adderley. An
early single, the 1961 "Guess Who I Saw Today," and a 1962 album with Adderley
propelled her to national prominence. She attained stardom with a pair of 1963
albums, Broadway My Way and Hollywood My Way. After many guest appearances on
television, she became host of her own network program, The Nancy Wilson Show,
for which she won an Emmy award for the 1967-68 season. In more recent years,
she has recorded an album of lyrics by Johnny Mercer (With My Love Beside Me),
which were set to music for the first time by singer-arranger Barry Manilow, and
has served as the host of the National Public Radio program Jazz Profiles.
Still active in the recording studio, she released The Essence of Nancy Wilson:
Four Decades of Music and Ramsey Lewis and Nancy Wilson: Meant To Be in 2002.
Jazz Advocate: Nat Hentoff
No writer has been a greater friend to jazz than critic, historian, biographer
and anecdotist Nat Hentoff. Educated at Northeastern University and Harvard in
his native Boston, where he became involved in the local jazz scene and hosted a
radio show on WMEX, and at the Sorbonne on a Fulbright fellowship, Hentoff began
his distinguished career in journalism as associate editor of Down Beat magazine
(1953-57). He went on to become co-editor of Jazz Review from 1958 to 1961 and
was then A&R director of the Candid label in 1960 to 1961, during which time he
produced important sessions by musicians Charles Mingus, Phil Woods, Benny
Bailey, Otis Spann, Cecil Taylor, Abbey Lincoln and other jazz giants. Among
his many books, which address subjects as diverse as education and
constitutional law, are The Jazz Life, The Jazz Makers, Hear Me Talkin' to Ya,
Listen to the Stories: Nat Hentoff on Jazz and Country Music and Jazz. He
continues to write on jazz and other subjects for publications including The
Village Voice, JazzTimes, The New York Times, The New Yorker (for which he was a
staff writer for many years) and The Wall Street Journal.
NEA Jazz Masters Fact Sheet.
Please see additional materials on the NEA Jazz Masters, including nomination information,
in the Lifetime Honors section of the web site.
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