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Oliver Lake Receives Mellon Living Legacy Jazz Award This Fall

For Washingtonians, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a mecca of dance, theater and song and a permanent fixture in the nation’s capital. For jazz saxophonist Oliver Lake (pictured), the Kennedy Center is not only Washington’s premier home of the arts but also the venue where Lake will receive the Mellon Jazz 2006 Living Legacy Award this fall.

Lake, who is not only a noted musician but also a poet, painter and performance artist, will be honored in a special ceremony Oct. 13 by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation for his diverse musical accomplishments.

Born in 1942, Lake co-founded both the Black Artists Group and the internationally acclaimed World Saxophone Quartet, the latter with musicians Julius Hemphill, Hamiet Bluiett and David Murray in 1977. He then went on to create Passin’ Thru, Inc. in 1988, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and advancing jazz education. Lake also helps oversee Passin’ Thru Records, which has released 12 albums to date.

Before receiving the Mellon Jazz 2006 Legacy Award, Lake had been honored with a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and commissions from the Library of Congress, Rockefeller Foundation and International Association for Jazz Education.

Previous recipients of the Mellon Jazz 2006 Living Legacy Award include bassist Rufus Reid, saxophonist Jimmy Heath and trumpeter Clark Terry.

Originally Published