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The 2009 Jazz Masters: Jazz Oscars

George Benson with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at the 2009 NEA Jazz Master induction ceremonies

An annual celebration since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Awards Ceremony & Concert has become the jazz world’s equivalent to the Academy Awards. And while there may not have been any Hollywood-style red carpet arrivals outside Jazz at Lincoln Center for this year’s gala on Oct. 17, the sheer number of living legends assembled inside Rose Theater caused many goosebump moments for the faithful fans, family, friends and past Jazz Masters in attendance.

Six new recipients for 2009-guitarist George Benson, drummer Jimmy Cobb, alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, harmonica virtuoso Toots Thielemans, trumpeter Snooky Young and engineer Rudy Van Gelder-each received a $25,000 stipend from the National Endowment for the Arts along with the accolades that come with this prestigious award.

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