NEA Arts Magazine

A Salute to NEA Jazz Masters

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James Moody performing on saxaphone with Billy Taylor trio member

NEA Jazz Master James Moody performs with the Billy Taylor Trio at the White House. Photo: Vance Jacobs

On June 22, President George W. Bush recognized the National Endowment for the Arts' Jazz Masters program in a celebration of Black Music Month. This concert, entitled A Salute to NEA Jazz Masters, took place in the East Room of the White House and featured three NEA Jazz Masters and six young musicians. Those NEA Jazz Masters were pianist Dr. Billy Taylor performing with his trio, drummer Chico Hamilton, and saxophonist James Moody. The student musicians are part of Jazz and the New Generation, a program conceived and directed by Dr. Taylor and presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Education Department.

In his remarks President Bush noted, "These performers and many others carried forward the tradition of black music in our country. We take great pride in this heritage. We’re grateful to every musician who keeps that heritage so rich and so vital today."

NEA Chairman Dana Gioia noted the "joy, wisdom and consolation" that jazz offers and its "testament to the power of art to speak across cultures."