NEA Presents 2010 Jazz Masters Awards

Muhal Richard Abrams, Kenny Barron, Bill Holman, Bobby Hutcherson, Yusef Lateef, Annie Ross and Cedar Walton recognized for lifetime achievements

Kenny Barron at home
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Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross at a Joni Mitchell tribute concert, New York 1999
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Yusef Lateef
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Cedar Walton
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On Tuesday, January 12, 2010, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will present the annual Jazz Masters awards to seven musicians, as well as a jazz advocacy award to a professional who has supported the music and its artists. This year’s NEA Jazz Masters are Muhal Richard Abrams, Kenny Barron, Bill Holman, Bobby Hutcherson, Yusef Lateef, Annie Ross and Cedar Walton. Producer George Avakian will receive the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy, an award that JT’s own Nat Hentoff received a few years ago.

The 2010 NEA Jazz Masters Awards ceremony and concert will take place at 7:30pm EST in Rose Theater at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, and will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis in a program dedicated to the honorees’ works.

This year’s NEA Jazz Masters award ceremony and concert will be broadcast live on WBGO Jazz as well as Sirius/XM Satellite Radio’s Real Jazz Channel 70. WBGO’s Gary Walker and Sirius/XM’s Mark Ruffin will co-host the broadcast. In addition, WBGO and NPR Music will audio stream the event live on their respective websites at www.wbgo.org and www.npr.org/music.

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman and Marsalis will be the co-hosts for the awards ceremony and concert. Six of the honorees will join the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on stage. Abrams, Holman (as guest conductor), and Walton along with Ross will perform with the orchestra. Barron will play solo piano, and Lateef will perform with percussionist Adam Rudolph. In addition, each honoree will be recognized with a musical tribute from the orchestra along with selected recordings, and an award presentation by either a fellow NEA Jazz Master or Chairman Landesman.

Many NEA Jazz Masters from past ceremonies will be in the audience, including Toshiko Akiyoshi, Ornette Coleman, Paquito d’ Rivera, Ramsey Lewis, and Dr. Billy Taylor.

To cap the week off, a group called The Jazz Masters Quintet will be performing at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola on Wednesday, January 13 through Sunday, January 17. The group features newly named NEA Jazz Masters Bobby Hutcherson and Cedar Walton, along with James Spaulding, David Williams and Al Foster.