Group of four awards on table.

NEA Jazz Masters

The NEA Jazz Masters award is the highest honor that our nation bestows on jazz artists. Each year since 1982, the program has elevated to its ranks a select number of living legends who have made exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz.

Join the celebration of the 2021 NEA Jazz Masters on Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. 2017 NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater and actor Delroy Lindo will co-host this event, featuring recorded performances and tributes by acclaimed jazz musicians. More details.

2020 Concert | Photo Gallery

All Jazz Masters

2021 NEA Jazz Masters


Terri Lyne Carrington

Drummer, Composer, Educator, Producer

Albert "Tootie" Heath

Percussionist, Educator

Phil Schaap

Archivist, Educator, Historian, and Jazz Radio Host

Henry Threadgill

Saxophonist, Flautist, Composer

Nominate a Jazz Master

The Arts Endowment encourages nominations from the public of a broad range of men and women who have been significant to the field of jazz through vocal and instrumental performance, creative leadership, and education.
Make a Nomination!

Recent NEA Jazz Masters Podcasts

Albert “Tootie” Heath

Percussionist and 2021 NEA Jazz Master

Phil Schaap

Educator, Radio Host, Producer, and 2021 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Fellow for Jazz Advocacy

Henry Threadgill

Composer, multi-instrumentalist, and 2021 NEA Jazz Master