Wednesday, July 18, 2012

2013 NEA Jazz Masters Announced

This just in from the NEA. Recall that proposed funding cuts in 2011 almost ended this prestigious and important program. Instead, it continues in an unbroken line since 1982, each year calling national and international attention to men and women whose artistry and advocacy sustain and support this vital American art form.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mose Allison in late 2008. See the links under Interviews in the column at the right.

National Endowment for the Arts Announces the 2013 NEA Jazz Masters, Nation's Highest Honor in Jazz


Washington, DC – Dizzy Gillespie. Count Basie. Ella Fitzgerald. Herbie Hancock. Names of the greatest purveyors of America's homegrown art form, jazz -- and all NEA Jazz Masters. Today, the National Endowment for the Arts adds four new names to the list with the announcement of the 2013 NEA Jazz Masters. Like the 124 honorees who came before them, these four individuals are recognized for their lifetime achievements and significant contributions to the development and performance of jazz. They will each receive a one-time award of $25,000.

The 2013 NEA Jazz Masters are:

Mose Allison, pianist, vocalist, composer
      Born in Tippo, Mississippi, currently lives in Long Island, New York
Lou Donaldson, saxophonist
       Born in Badin, North Carolina, currently lives in New York, New York
*Lorraine Gordon, jazz club owner
       Born in Newark, New Jersey, currently lives in New York, New York
Eddie Palmieri, pianist, bandleader, arranger, composer
       Born in New York, New York, currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada

* Lorraine Gordon is the recipient of the 2013 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy, which is bestowed upon an individual who has contributed significantly to the appreciation, knowledge, and advancement of the art form of jazz.

Full profiles of the 2013 NEA Jazz Masters are available on the NEA's website.

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said, "Each of the 2013 NEA Jazz Masters has made an indelible mark on jazz as we know it today. Mose Allison's fusion of jazz and blues has created a new sound uniquely his own, influencing scores of musicians and songwriters after him. Lou Donaldson has been a major force not just as a musician but also as a scout for new talent for the Blue Note label. Eddie Palmieri successfully combines the sounds of his Puerto Rican heritage with the jazz music he grew up with as a first-generation American. And Lorraine Gordon continues to provide a haven for jazz musicians to present their art at the Village Vanguard. I look forward to celebrating their achievements and contributions to this important American art form."
Each member of the 2013 NEA Jazz Masters class is a distinguished artist whose significant lifetime contributions have helped to enrich jazz and further the growth of the art form:
  • Mose Allison is not just a superior talent as an instrumentalist and singer, but also as a songwriter. Adept in both the blues and jazz, he defies categorization and has been a major influence on musicians, regardless of genre, for more than 50 years.
  • Lou Donaldson's distinctive blues-drenched alto saxophone has been a bopping force in jazz for more than six decades. His early work with trumpeter Clifford Brown is considered one of the first forays into hard bop, and his recordings with organist and NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Smith led to the groove-filled jazz of the 1960s and '70s.
  • A jazz haven for more than 55 years, the Village Vanguard is the longest-running jazz club in New York City and is still going strong under the ownership of Lorraine Gordon. Since 1957, when NEA Jazz Master Sonny Rollins recorded one of the first recording sessions at the club, the Vanguard has been the place to record a live jazz album, with its exceptional acoustics and intimate space.
  • Known as one of the finest Latin jazz pianists of the past 50 years, Eddie Palmieri is also known as a bandleader of both salsa and Latin jazz orchestras. His playing skillfully fuses the rhythm of Puerto Rico with the melody and complexity of his jazz influences: Thelonious Monk and NEA Jazz Masters Herbie Hancock and McCoy Tyner.
The NEA will again partner with Jazz at Lincoln Center to produce an awards ceremony and concert in honor of the 2013 NEA Jazz Masters,  that will be webcast live on Monday, January 14, 2013 on arts.gov and jalc.org/neajazzmasters. The ceremony will also be simulcast on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

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