The National Endowment for the Arts announced the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters Fellows, recipients of the nation’s highest honor in jazz. These five individuals—four musicians and one advocate—are recognized for their lifetime achievements and exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz. Each will receive a $25,000 award and be honored at a tribute concert on Monday, April 3, 2017, produced in collaboration with the Kennedy Center.
The 2017 NEA Jazz Masters are:
- Dee Dee Bridgewater – Vocalist, Producer, Broadcaster
- Ira Gitler – Author, Editor, Producer, Educator
- Dave Holland – Bassist, Cellist, Composer, Bandleader
- Dick Hyman – Keyboardist, Composer, Arranger
- Dr. Lonnie Smith – Organist, Composer
For more details about the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship, visit the NEA website.
About NEA Jazz Masters
Each year since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has conferred the NEA Jazz Masters award. With this new class, the NEA has awarded 145 fellowships to great figures in jazz. More information about the NEA Jazz Masters and the agency’s collection of free jazz content is available here.
NEA Jazz Master Fellowships are bestowed on living individuals on the basis of nominations from the public including the jazz community. The NEA encourages nominations of a broad range of men and women who have been significant to the field of jazz, through vocals, instrumental performance, creative leadership, and education. The NEA is currently accepting nominations for the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters (deadline: December 31, 2016). Visit arts.gov/honors/jazz for more information and to submit a nomination.
The NEA also supports the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program, an effort to document the lives and careers of NEA Jazz Masters. In addition to transcriptions of the comprehensive interviews, the website also includes audio clips with interview excerpts. This project has transcribed the oral histories of more than 90 NEA Jazz Masters.