Art Works Blog

At the Mike with the NEA Jazz Masters

"I can't imagine a world without jazz, and the fact that it's a living, functioning, exciting organism." --- David Baker, 2000 NEA Jazz Master

"In the studio, that's a log of your presence. It's an auditory carbon copy of what you hear that someone else shares with you. It's a historical marker that on this day, on this date, on this song, at this speed, at this tempo, in this key, with these players you tried out these notes. And that's what that is. When you're playing live, you aren't so concerned with preservation of an idea. It's gone, and try again tomorrow night." --- Ron Carter, 1998 NEA Jazz Master

"Oh, I was playing probably 10 or 15 years before I really realized I got to try to make the horn sing." --- Jimmy Heath, 2003 NEA Jazz Master

"The first time I heard Art Tatum, I couldn't believe it. I said to myself, this is a trick. No one person can play like this. There has to be at least two or three people. That was my impression of Tatum. And it lasted a long, long time." --- Hank Jones, 1989 NEA Jazz Master

"Well the most important thing [for a jazz producer] is to have good taste and have a good ear and to be able to, you know, really relate to musicians and to not be a dictator but a facilitator." --- Dan Morgenstern, 2007 NEA Jazz Master

"Well, I've noticed that in my travels and performances all over the world that the people, when they hear great jazz...they love it, and it's just like a heartbeat...." --- Jimmy Owens, 2012 NEA Jazz Master

"Because the music is connected to the community, to the people. And all the songs have meanings, all the lyrics have meanings. And the history of our music going all the way back maybe to Buddy Bolden and before, they told stories when they played the music. And it was also a documentation of the people, each song, whether it was a blues, or a jazz piece, it's very important. So I like to tell stories about my life in music. That's why I use the term storyteller." --- Randy Weston, 2001 NEA Jazz Master

Want to learn more about these and other NEA Jazz Masters? Visit us at  And stay tuned for our podcast with 2012 NEA Jazz Master Jack DeJohnette debuting on Art Works tomorrow!


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