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National Endowment for the Arts Reveals Jazz Masters for 2021

Terri Lyne Carrington, Albert "Tootie" Heath, Henry Threadgill, and Phil Schaap are the latest recipients of jazz's highest honor

The 2021 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters
2021’s NEA Jazz Masters: Terri Lyne Carrington (photo: Delphine Diallo), Albert “Tootie” Heath (photo: Ghylian Bell & Mychal Watts), Henry Threadgill (photo: Nhumi Threadgill), and Phil Schaap (photo courtesy of Jazz at Lincoln Center)

The National Endowment for the Arts has today announced the four recipients of the 2021 NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship. The new honorees of the United States’ highest honor in jazz include drummers Terri Lyne Carrington and Albert “Tootie” Heath; multi-reedist, composer, and Pulitzer Prize laureate Henry Threadgill; and historian, broadcaster, and educator Phil Schaap, who will be 2021’s A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Fellow for Jazz Advocacy.

The fellowship comes with a $25,000 honorarium and a special tribute concert for the new honorees. The 2021 concert (like 2020’s) will take place virtually in a broadcast from San Francisco’s SFJAZZ on April 22, 2021.

With the addition of Carrington, Heath, Schaap, and Threadgill, the NEA has bestowed 161 Jazz Masters fellowships since the honor’s creation in 1982. Fellows are nominated by the public, including the jazz community, and judged by an advisory panel of jazz experts, whose recommendations are reviewed by the National Council of the Arts (whose chairman makes the final decisions).

Visit the NEA’s website for further information, including biographies and selected discographies for the 2021 Jazz Masters.