The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced its program to honor the 2022 NEA Jazz Masters class—Stanley Clarke, Donald Harrison, Jr., Billy Hart, and Cassandra Wilson—on March 31 at SFJAZZ Center’s Robert N. Miner Auditorium in San Francisco. The concert, which is free and open to the public, will be hosted by 2018 NEA Jazz Master Dianne Reeves and will feature performances, video tributes and, of course, the award presentations themselves.
In recent years, the awardees did not perform; instead, they sat together in a special box and basked in the accolades. This year, Clarke, Hart, and Harrison will perform, along with Jeremiah Collier, Joe Dyson, Ethan Iverson, Dan Kaufman, Salar Nader, Noriatsu Naraoka, Ruslan Sirota, Ben Street, and Mark Turner, as well as the SFJAZZ Collective: Matt Brewer, Etienne Charles, Martin Luther McCoy, Gretchen Parlato, Chris Potter, David Sánchez, Kendrick Scott, Edward Simon, and Warren Wolf. The concert will be available as a webcast and radio broadcast beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET at arts.gov and sfjazz.org, as well as on SFJAZZ’s Facebook page. JazzTimes is one of the many organizations and outlets that will be sharing the live webcast. In addition, an archive of the webcast will be available following the event at arts.gov. The honorees will also participate in a Meet the NEA Jazz Masters virtual conversation, which will be available on demand the week before the concert.
The NEA Jazz Masters fellowships were created in 1982 and have honored 165 jazz artists and advocates. The A.B. Spellman Fellowship was added in 2006 to recognize the contributions of advocates; its past recipients include former JazzTimes contributors Nat Hentoff, Ira Gitler, Dan Morgenstern, and Stanley Crouch. Donald Harrison, Jr., a champion of New Orleans music as well as a noted saxophonist and bandleader, is the 2022 honoree in that category.