We all do 'do, re, mi', but you have to find the other notes yourself. Louis Armstrong

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2012 NEA Jazz Masters (National Endowment for the Arts)

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The NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship is the highest honor that America bestows on jazz artists. Each year since 1982, the program has elevated to its ranks a select number of living legends who have made exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz.

 

NEA is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the NEA Jazz Masters Awards, which recognize outstanding musicians for their lifetime achievements and significant contributions to the development and performance of jazz.

 

The 2012 NEA Jazz Masters are:

Jack DeJohnette, Drummer, Keyboardist, Composer      

Von Freeman, Saxophonist

Charlie Haden, Bassist, Composer, Educator

Sheila Jordan, Vocalist, Educator

Jimmy Owens, Educator, Trumpeter, Flugelhorn Player, Composer, Arranger

 

"These artists represent the highest level of artistic mastery and we are proud to recognize their achievements," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman.

 

"Through their contributions, we have been challenged, enlightened, and charmed, and we thank them for devoting their careers to expanding and supporting their art forms."

"Jazz is considered by many as one of America's greatest cultural gifts to the world," said Wayne S. Brown, NEA Director of Music and Opera.

 

"These artists are being recognized for their extraordinary contribution to advancing the art form and for serving as mentors for a new generation of young aspiring jazz musicians."

 

 

Each member of the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters class is a distinguished artist whose significant lifetime contributions have helped to enrich jazz and further the growth of the art form:

 

Widely regarded as one of the great drummers in modern jazz, Jack DeJohnette has a wide-ranging style that makes him a dynamic sideman and bandleader. His versatility on the drums is accented by DeJohnette's additional accomplishments as a keyboardist: he studied classical piano for ten years before taking up drums.

 

Earle Lavon "Von" Freeman, Sr. is considered a founder of the "Chicago School" of jazz tenor saxophonists. With his individual sound, at once husky and melodic, he makes every song his own. As the Chicago Tribune has written of him, "For technical brilliance, musical intellect, harmonic sophistication, and improvisatory freedom, Von Freeman has few bebop-era peers."

 

Lyrical and expressive on the bass, Charlie Haden has embraced a variety of musical genres, ranging from jazz to country to world music. His work as an educator led to the creation of the Jazz Studies program at California Institute of the Arts in 1982 where he focuses on the spirituality of improvisation.

 

Sheila Jordan is not only one of the premier singers in jazz, but she is known for her stimulating vocal workshops as well. A superb scat singer, she can just as easily reach the emotional depths of a ballad.

 

Jimmy Owens is a jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger, educator, and music education consultant. His involvement as an advocate regarding the rights of jazz artists led to the founding of the Jazz Musician's Emergency Fund, a program of the Jazz Foundation of America.

Last modified on Monday, 06 August 2012 20:59

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