National Endowment for the Arts Celebrates "A Masterly Milestone"
100 NEA Jazz Masters and launch of new Legends of Jazz TV broadcast to be highlighted
March 18, 2008
Washington, D.C. -- In honor of Jazz Appreciation Month 2008, the National Endowment for the Arts presents "A Masterly Milestone: Celebrating 100 NEA Jazz Masters." The program takes place on Friday, March 28 from 10:30 to 11:30 AM as part of the spring meeting of the National Council on the Arts, the NEA's advisory council. The program features music and conversation with 2006 NEA Jazz Master and clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera, a discussion with 2008 NEA Jazz Master and scholar Gunther Schuller, and a sneak preview of the television broadcast of "LEGENDS OF JAZZ Presents the 2007 NEA Jazz Masters."
With the 2008 class of NEA Jazz Masters (music legends who have made exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz) the roster strikes the mark of 100 master artists including such greats as Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Art Blakey, Dave Brubeck, Betty Carter, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Roy Eldridge, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Hancock, Elvin Jones, Ramsey Lewis, Abbey Lincoln, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Cecil Taylor, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and Teddy Wilson.
NEA Chairman Gioia said, "The NEA Jazz Masters initiative is a critical component in the NEA's pursuit of its mission to support art of the highest quality for the benefit of all Americans. This presentation highlights the many ways the NEA accomplishes that goal through performances, education, publications, and broadcast programs."
To celebrate this centennial milestone, Paquito D'Rivera will play clarinet with his trio including Alex Brown on piano and Dana Leong on cello and trombone. Following his set, Mr. D'Rivera will talk about his experiences as an NEA Jazz Master and what that title has brought to him and his music. Mr. D'Rivera's involvement in jazz also includes being an author, composer and, bandleader.
Following Mr. D'Rivera, Gunther Schuller will take a big picture perspective when he discusses jazz in America, the partnership between the nation's music and its government. In addition to being an NEA Jazz Master, Mr. Schuller served on the National Council on the Arts and was instrumental in developing the agency's jazz support policy.
During A Masterly Milestone, the trailer will be shown for "LEGENDS OF JAZZ Presents the 2007 NEA Jazz Masters," a one-hour television special broadcast in prime time on BET J with a simultaneous webcast on the LEGENDS OF JAZZ website (www.legendsofjazz.net) and many other websites. Co-produced by LRSmedia and WTTW National Productions, the program is hosted by 2007 NEA Jazz Master Ramsey Lewis. Mr. Lewis will be joined for conversation and music by bandleader and pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi, trombonist Curtis Fuller, vocalist Jimmy Scott, flutist Frank Wess, and saxophonist Phil Woods.
Said Mr. Lewis, "Jazz continues to inspire and influence artists and audiences in the United States and around the globe. This special 2007 NEA Jazz Masters program, like the others in our Legends of Jazz series, provides not only exciting performances, but showcases that unique energy sparked when great artists respond to each other in conversation and through music."
The program will premiere on Sunday April 6 at 7:00 P.M. EST and Thursday, April 10 at 10:00 P.M. EST on BET J. In addition, more than 40 websites will show the program as a simulcast, streaming video post-airing, or with photo stills for a projected total of 22 million pageviews during April. Some of the websites confirmed to syndicate the program are All About Jazz, Jazz Corner, and Downbeat Magazine.
Other elements of the March 28 presentation are the debut of the spring '08 edition of NEArts. Devoted to the NEA Jazz Masters program, the issue includes articles, interviews, and photos. A retooled NEA Jazz Masters web site offers visitors access to more materials than ever before such as:
For more information or to schedule an interview with Paquito D'Rivera or Gunther Schuller, please contact the NEA Communications office at 202-682-5570. Please see biographies of Mr. D'Rivera and Mr. Schuller.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency