Free Events Celebrate Masters in Jazz

Tickets Now Available for April 16 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert


Collage of photos of the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters: Dianne Reeves, Todd Barkan, Joanne Brackeen, Pat Metheny

2018 NEA Jazz Masters: Dianne Reeves (photo by Jerris Madison), Todd Barkan (photo by John Abbott), Joanne Brackeen (photo by Carol Friedman), and Pat Metheny (photo by John Peden).

Washington, DC—Each year the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) honors individuals whose talent and dedication have made an impact on jazz in this country. In celebration of the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters—Todd Barkan, Joanne Brackeen, Pat Metheny, and Dianne Reeves—the NEA, in collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, will host a free concert in honor of the honorees on Monday, April 16, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. ET in Washington, DC. The concert—which will also be webcast live—will bring together many stars of the jazz world in performances that will highlight the NEA Jazz Masters’ careers.

In addition, on Sunday, April 15 at NPR’s headquarters, the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters will take part in a listening party that will allow the audience to hear directly from the NEA Jazz Masters about the music that plays important roles in their lives and careers. To close the NEA Jazz Masters celebration, on Tuesday, April 17, Dianne Reeves will visit Howard University to give a master class, which is also open to the public to observe.

More details about the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters events are below. Join the conversation about the events on Twitter using #NEAJazz18.

NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert—April 16
The 2018 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert will take place on Monday, April 16, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. ET at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall at 2700 F Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20566.

The concert will be hosted by Jason Moran, pianist and Kennedy Center artistic director for jazz, and include remarks by the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters, as well as Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and Deborah F. Rutter, president of the Kennedy Center.

The concert will include performances by Terri Lyne Carrington, Nir Felder, Sullivan Fortner, James Francies, Pasquale Grasso, Gilad Hekselman, Angelique Kidjo, Christian McBride, Camila Meza, NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri and the Eddie Palmieri Sextet, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Antonio Sanchez, Helen Sung, and Dan Wilson.

Up to four (4) tickets per household may be reserved for this free concert in person at the Kennedy Center Box Office, at, or by dialing 202-467-4600 or 800-444-1324. Reservation confirmations should be printed at home (note these are not tickets, but reservations), and will be valid until 7:45 p.m. Monday, April 16, 2018. Print-at-home tickets are unavailable for this concert. Those with ticket reservations should bring their printed reservation confirmations to the Kennedy Center Hall of Nations Box Office on Monday, April 16, 2018, between 5:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. to receive their tickets with seating locations. All reserved tickets not picked up by 7:45 p.m. on April 16 will be released and distributed to a ticket giveaway line.

RESERVATIONS UPDATE AS OF 3/9: Reservations for this event are filled and have closed. Please check back online regularly in the event that reservations open again. Tickets will be available the night of the concert on a first-come, first-served basis to those in a giveaway line. Patrons are encouraged to arrive from 5:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. to receive tickets via the giveaway line.

If you or a member of your party requires accessible locations or seating in the sign-interpreted and captioned section, please indicate your needs when making your reservation and upon picking up your tickets. Please contact the Accessibility Office at 202-416-8727 or if you have any questions or would like to request an accommodation.

Media who wish to request press access to this event or advance interviews with the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters should contact Liz Auclair at or Chanel P. Williams at Photos from the concert will be available for media use on request.

In addition, as part of the NEA Jazz Masters events, on April 16 at 6:00 p.m., the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage will present the Washington Renaissance Orchestra (WRO), featuring special guest vocalist Christie Dashiell; Nasar Abadey, artistic director; and Allyn Johnson, music director.

Live Concert Webcast and Audio Broadcast
The 2018 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert will be video-streamed live on the NEA and Kennedy Center websites, as well as BMI, Kennedy Center, NPR Music, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Museum of American History, Voice of America (Mandarin, Vietnamese, Khmer, and Indonesian services), WBGO, and WPFW websites. An archive of the webcast will be available following the event at In addition, SiriusXM Channel 67, Real Jazz, and WPFW 89.3 FM in Washington, DC, will audio broadcast the concert live.

NPR Listening Party with the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters—April 15
On Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 2:00 p.m., NPR will host a listening party with the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters at their headquarters at 1111 North Capitol Street, NE, Washington, DC, 20002. Moderated by Jason Moran, this event will include conversation with the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters, using music from their careers to tell the story of their lives. This event is free and open to the public but tickets are required. Reserve your tickets here. Media who wish to attend this event should contact Hugo Rojo with NPR at

Student Master Class with 2018 NEA Jazz Master Dianne Reeves—April 17
On Tuesday, April 17, 2018 from 12:40–1:40 p.m., 2018 NEA Jazz Master Dianne Reeves will conduct a master class with Howard University student jazz vocalists at Howard University’s Childers Recital Hall, 2455 6th Street NW, Washington, DC 20059. The public is invited to observe and no registration is necessary (seating is first come, first served). Media who wish to attend this event should contact Liz Auclair at or Alonda Thomas at

About NEA Jazz Masters
Since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded 149 fellowships to great figures in jazz, including Ella Fitzgerald, Sonny Rollins, and Chick Corea. The full list of NEA Jazz Masters and materials about them—including videos, podcasts, NEA Jazz Moments, and more—are available at NEA Jazz Master Fellowships are bestowed on living individuals on the basis of nominations from the public including the jazz community. The NEA 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. More information about the NEA Jazz Masters and how to submit a nomination is available here.

The NEA also supports the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program’s effort to document the lives and careers of NEA Jazz Masters. In addition to transcriptions of the comprehensive interviews, the website also includes audio clips with interview excerpts. This project has transcribed the oral histories of nearly 100 NEA Jazz Masters.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more about NEA.

About the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Kennedy Center Jazz, under the leadership of Artistic Director Jason Moran, presents legendary artists who have helped shape the art form, artists who are emerging on the jazz scene, and innovative multidisciplinary projects in hundreds of performances a year. The KC Jazz Club, launched in 2002 and dubbed “the future of the jazz nightclub” by JazzTimes, hosts many of these artists in an intimate setting; while the Crossroads Club, launched in 2012, is a nightclub dance venue. Annual Kennedy Center jazz events include the professional development residency program for young artists, Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead; NPR’s A Jazz Piano Christmas, the Kennedy Center holiday tradition shared by millions around the country via broadcast on NPR; and the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival, created in 1996 by the late Dr. Billy Taylor (Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz, 1994–2010). The Center’s jazz concerts are frequently recorded for future broadcast on NPR.


Liz Auclair (NEA),, 202-682-5744
Chanel P. Williams (Kennedy Center),, 202-416-8447
Hugo Rojo (NPR),, 202-513-2302
Alonda Thomas (Howard University),, 202-578-1679