National Endowment for the Arts to Honor 2008 NEA Jazz Masters When Jazz Fans and Stars Gather in Toronto
Washington, D.C. -- The National Endowment for the Arts will sponsor its annual NEA Jazz Masters events at the International Association for Jazz Education conference January 10 and 11, 2008 in Toronto, Canada. Those events include the NEA Jazz Masters award ceremony and concert featuring Kurt Elling and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, a fireside conversation with the 2008 NEA Jazz Masters moderated by poet and jazz author A.B. Spellman, and new this year, a discussion with four NEA Jazz Master Advocates. In addition, the NEA will co-host with the Canada Council for the Arts a tribute to world-renowned pianist and composer Dr. Oscar Peterson.
The award ceremony and concert recognize the 2008 NEA Jazz Masters; bandleader Quincy Jones, composer and arranger Tom McIntosh, trumpeter Joe Wilder, the late pianist Andrew Hill, and percussionist Candido Camero. The A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Master Award for Jazz Advocacy is awarded to composer and author Gunther Schuller. Award presentations to the Masters are combined with brief video biographies and musical tributes provided by preeminent jazz vocalist Kurt Elling and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO). Led by NEA Jazz Master David Baker, SJMO is the orchestra-in-residence at the National Museum of American History.
The tribute to Dr. Peterson will be part of the NEA Jazz Masters award ceremony and concert and features a special presentation by Canada Council Chair Karen Kain and NEA Chairman Dana Gioia along with a musical salute led by pianist, composer, arranger, and former Peterson student Oliver Jones. Mr. Jones will play as soloist and with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. The tribute and concert will take place at Constitution Hall in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, on Friday, January 11 at 8:00 P.M. Mr. Jones’s participation is made possible by the Canada Council for the Arts.
NEA Chairman Dana Gioia said, "It is an honor to join with the Canada Council for the Arts to salute one of the world-premiere jazz pianists and composers. Our annual NEA Jazz Masters celebration is enhanced by this special recognition to a singular artist. One of Canada's national treasures, Oscar Peterson is also one of the world's great jazz masters."
"Oscar Peterson is an outstanding musician who has made his mark on the world stage for nearly six decades," said Canada Council Chair Karen Kain. "We are delighted to partner with the National Endowment for the Arts to celebrate his life and his music, and to recognize the enormous contribution he has made to the arts in Canada and internationally."
The panel conversation of the NEA Jazz Master Advocates features John Levy, Dan Morgenstern, and Gunther Schuller, along with poet, jazz author, and former NEA deputy chairman A.B. Spellman for whom the advocacy award was named. The unique perspectives of these individuals encompass those of performer, scholar, author, critic, archivist, educator, and artist manager. With moderator Chairman Gioia, the panelists will discuss the evolution of jazz. The panel takes place on Thursday, January 10 from 5:00 – 6:00 PM in Room 205 East of the Metro Toronto Convention Center.
The following day, Friday, the 11th at 11:00 AM, A.B. Spellman will lead a discussion among the 2008 NEA Jazz Masters, exploring their careers, influences, and stories from their collective 270 years in the jazz business. This session also takes place in Room 205 East.
The NEA Jazz Masters concert and ceremony is a highlight of the annual conference of the International Association for Jazz Education. The world's largest gathering of the global jazz community, the conference brings together some 7,000 educators, musicians, recording executives, exhibitors, journalists, and jazz enthusiasts.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts -- both new and established -- bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.
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