Celebrate the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters during Jazz Appreciation Month

Tickets Now Available for Free Tribute Concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC
Photos of 2017 NEA Jazz Masters
Clockwise from top right: Dee Dee Bridgewater (photo by Mark Higashino), Dick Hyman (photo by Bob Haggart Jr.), Dave Holland (photo by Ulli Gruber), Ira Gitler (photo by Frances McLaughlin-Gill), and Dr. Lonnie Smith (photo by Mathieu Bitton).
Washington, DCThe National Endowment for the Arts will celebrate the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters – recipients of the nation’s highest honor in jazz – during Jazz Appreciation Month in April with free events that will illuminate the artists’ lives and music. A concert in honor of the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters, held in collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, will take place Monday, April 3, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington, DC, and streamed live at arts.gov, Kennedy-Center.org, and NPR.org/Music, and broadcast live on SiriusXM Channel 67, Real Jazz. In addition, the NEA Jazz Masters will take part in a listening party at NPR’s headquarters on Sunday, April 2, and a master class at Howard University on Tuesday, April 4. More details about the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters events are below. Join the conversation about the events on Twitter using #NEAJazz17. The 2017 NEA Jazz Masters are: NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert—April 3 Musicians ranging from NEA Jazz Master Lee Konitz and renowned vocalist Dianne Reeves, to Hammond B-3 artist Matthew Whitaker (a 15-year-old protégé of Dr. Lonnie Smith) will perform in honor of the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters at a free concert on Monday, April 3, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. ET at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall at 2700 F Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20566. The tribute concert will include remarks by the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters (representing Ira Gitler will be his son, Fitz Gitler); as well as Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts; Deborah F. Rutter, president of the Kennedy Center; Jason Moran, pianist and Kennedy Center artistic director for Jazz; NEA Jazz Masters Dan Morgenstern and Kenny Barron; jazz and film critic Gary Giddins; and National Medal of Arts recipient and Kennedy Center Honoree Jessye Norman. The concert will include performances by NEA Jazz Masters Paquito D’Rivera and Lee Konitz, as well as Bill Charlap, Theo Croker, Aaron Diehl, Robin Eubanks, James Genus, Donald Harrison, Booker T. Jones, Sherrie Maricle and the Diva Jazz Orchestra, Peter Martin, Mike Moreno, China Moses, Steve Nelson, Kassa Overall, Chris Potter, Dianne Reeves, Nate Smith, Dan Tepfer, and Matthew Whitaker. Starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, February 15, 2017, up to four (4) tickets per household may be reserved for this free event in person at the Kennedy Center Box Office, at kennedy-center.org, 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 7:15 p.m. Monday, April 3, 2017. Print-at-home tickets are unavailable for this concert. Seating locations for reserved tickets will be assigned at the Kennedy Center Hall of Nations Box Office starting at 5:30 p.m. on the evening of Monday, April 3, 2017. Reserved tickets will be available for pick-up from 5:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. on Monday, April 3, 2017, at the Kennedy Center Hall of Nations Box Office. Patrons with reservations should present printed reservation confirmations to Box Office personnel at time of pick-up. All reserved tickets not picked-up by 7:15 p.m. on April 3 will be released and distributed to a ticket standby line. Tickets will be available the night of the concert on a first-come, first-served basis. Patrons who do not reserve tickets in advance are encouraged to arrive by 7:15 p.m. to receive tickets via the standby line. Media who wish to request press access to this event or advance interviews with the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters should contact Liz Auclair at auclaire@arts.gov or Brendan Padgett at bepadgett@kennedy-Center.org. Photos from the concert will be available for media use on request. Live Concert Webcast and Audio Broadcast The 2017 NEA Jazz Masters tribute concert will be video-streamed live at arts.gov, Kennedy-Center.org, and NPR.org/Music. An archive of the webcast will be available following the event. In addition, SiriusXM Channel 67, Real Jazz will broadcast the concert live. NPR Listening Party with the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters—April 2 On Sunday, April 2, 2017 at 2:00 p.m., NPR will host a listening party in honor of the 2017 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 2017 NEA Jazz Masters, using music from their careers to tell the story of their lives. The 2017 NEA Jazz Masters will be joined by other musicians whose lives they have influenced. 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 mediarelations@npr.org. Student Master Class with the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters—April 4 On Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 2:00 p.m., 2017 NEA Jazz Masters Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dick Hyman, and Dr. Lonnie Smith will take part in a master class with Howard University student and alumni musicians 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 auclaire@arts.gov or Brendan Padgettat at bepadgett@kennedy-Center.org. About NEA Jazz Masters Each year since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has conferred the NEA Jazz Masters award. 2017 marks the 35th anniversary of the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowships and with this new class, the NEA has awarded 145 fellowships to great figures in jazz. More information about the NEA Jazz Masters and the agency’s collection of free jazz content is available here. 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. The NEA also supports the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program, an 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 arts.gov to learn more about NEA. About the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is America’s living memorial to President Kennedy. Under the guidance of Chairman David M. Rubenstein, and President Deborah F. Rutter, the nine theaters and stages of the nation’s busiest performing arts facility attract more than three million visitors to more than 3,000 performances each year, while center-related touring productions, television, and radio broadcasts reach 40 million more around the world. The Center produces and presents performances of music, dance, comedy, and theater; supports artists in the creation of new work; and serves the nation as a leader in arts education, with its artistic affiliates, the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera, The Center’s Emmy® and Peabody Award-winning The Kennedy Center Honors is broadcast annually on CBS and annual The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor is broadcast on PBS. To learn more about the Kennedy Center, please visit www.kennedy-center.org.

Related Content


Dee Dee Bridgewater

2017 NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater is a daring performer of great depth whose singing talents have earned her three Grammy Awards as well as a Tony Award.

Ira Gitler

Ira Gitler—recipient of the 2017 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy—is an American jazz historian, journalist, educator, and author who has written several books about jazz and hundreds of liner notes for jazz recordings.

Dave Holland

2017 NEA Jazz Master Dave Holland is one of the most versatile bassists in jazz, working across different styles seamlessly, from traditional to avant-garde jazz to world and folk music.


Liz Auclair (NEA), auclaire@arts.gov, 202-682-5744 Brendan Padgett (Kennedy Center), bepadgett@kennedy-Center.org, 202-416-8004 Hugo Rojo (NPR), mediarelations@npr.org, 202-513-2302