Art Works Blog

Congratulations to the 2020 NEA Jazz Masters!

“The 2020 NEA Jazz Masters have made an incredible impact on jazz, whether it’s through their artistic work to expand the musical boundaries of the genre, their educational contributions, or their efforts to reach new audiences for jazz. The National Endowment for the Arts is excited to celebrate these recipients, and to partner with SFJAZZ for the first time, bringing the NEA Jazz Masters events to a different part of the country.” — Mary Anne Carter, Acting Chair, National Endowment for the Arts

Innovative jazz musicians Bobby McFerrin, Roscoe Mitchell, and Reggie Workman, as well as Dorthaan Kirk—who is receiving the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy—are the 2020 recipients of National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Fellowships, the nation’s highest honor in jazz. The new NEA Jazz Masters will be celebrated at a tribute concert on April 2, 2020, at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, California, in collaboration with SFJAZZ. Click on the name of each NEA Jazz Master to learn more about them, and read the full release here.

Since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded 157 fellowships to great figures in jazz, including Ella Fitzgerald, Sonny Rollins, Dianne Reeves, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, and George Wein. The NEA’s website features resources and content about them, including video biographies, and tribute concert videos, podcasts, and more than 350 NEA Jazz Moments audio clips.

NEA Jazz Masters Fellows are nominated by the public, including the jazz community. Nominations are judged by an advisory panel of jazz experts, including administrators, performers, producers, and a knowledgeable layperson. The panel’s recommendations are reviewed by the National Council on the Arts, which sends its recommendations to the chairman, who makes the final decision. The Arts Endowment 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. NEA Jazz Masters Fellowships are up to $25,000 and can be received once in a lifetime. Find detailed information and submit nominations here. The deadline for 2021 NEA Jazz Masters nominations is October 31, 2019.

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