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NEA Announces Jazz Masters

If the folks at the National Endowment for the Arts had been wise enough to include a bassist-say, Ron Carter-as one of the recipients of the 2003 Jazz Masters Fellowship, they could have had the group tour, raking in mounds of cash to fund the grants they annoyingly pass on to lousy performance artists year in and year out. The trio of legends that will receive the 2003 Fellowships, saxophonist Jimmy Heath, percussionist Elvin Jones and vocalist Abbey Lincoln (pictured), will surely make do without the bassist or the tour, seeing as that each will receive $20,000 in honor of their significant contributions to jazz, artistic excellence and impact on music in general.

The American Jazz Masters Fellowship awards will be presented at an Arts Endowment-supported concert on Jan. 10, 2003 in Toronto during the 30th annual conference of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE). Sixty-seven artists have been named American Jazz Masters to date including Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and most everyone else with greatest hits albums crowding the record store bins.

I know what you’re thinking: Even with Carter, they’d need a pianist. No they wouldn’t.

For more information about the Jazz Masters, visit For more information about the IAJE, visit For a list of past Jazz Masters, well, looky here:

1982: Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Sun Ra

1983: Count Basie, Kenneth Clarke, Sonny Rollins

1984: Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Max Roach

1985: Gil Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, Jonathan “Jo” Jones

1986: Benny Carter, Dexter Gordon, Teddy Wilson

1987: Cleo Patra Brown, Melba Liston, Jay McShann

1988: Art Blakey, Lionel Hampton, Billy Taylor

1989: Barry Harris, Hank Jones, Sarah Vaughan

1990: George Russell, Cecil Taylor, Gerald Wilson

1991: Danny Barker, Buck Clayton, Andy Kirk, and Clark Terry

1992: Betty Carter, Dorothy Donegan, Harry Edison

1993: Milt Hinton, Jon Hendricks, Joe Williams

1994: Louie Bellson, Ahmad Jamal, Carmen McRae

1995: Ray Brown, Roy Haynes, Horace Silver

1996: Tommy Flanagan, Benny Golson, J.J. Johnson

1997: Billy Higgins, Milt Jackson, Anita O’Day

1998: Ron Carter, James Moody, Wayne Shorter

1999: Dave Brubeck, Art Farmer, Joe Henderson

2000: David Baker, Donald Byrd, Marian McPartland

2001: John Lewis, Jackie McLean, Randy Weston

2002: Frank Foster, Percy Heath, McCoy Tyner

Originally Published