2021 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert to Take Place Virtually April 22, 2021

Update: Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff to Provide Opening Remarks
a collage of photos of the 2021 NEA Jazz Masters

The 2021 NEA Jazz Masters (from left): Teri Lynne Carrington, Albert "Tootie" Heath, Henry Threadgill, and Phil Schaap

2021 NEA Jazz Masters: Terri Lyne Carrington (photo by Delphine Diallo), Albert “Tootie” Heath (photo by photo by Ghylian Bell & Mychal Watts), Henry Threadgill (photo by Nhumi Threadgill), and Phil Schaap (photo courtesy of Jazz at Lincoln Center). 

Washington, DC—Join the celebration of the 2021 NEA Jazz Masters as the National Endowment for the Arts, in collaboration with SFJAZZ, presents a virtual tribute concert in honor of Terri Lyne Carrington, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Henry Threadgill, and Phil Schaap (2021 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy). The 2021 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert will take place 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. The concert is free and available to watch online and via radio broadcast—full details are below.

Update on April 9, 2021: The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to announce that the Second Gentleman of the United States Douglas Emhoff will provide opening remarks as part of the 2021 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert, discussing his personal connections to jazz and the art form’s connections to our nation’s past, present, and future.

With music director Miguel Zenón, the concert will include performances by NEA Jazz Masters Wynton and Jason Marsalis (2011) and Dianne Reeves (2018), as well as Obed Calvaire, Avishai Cohen, Roman Filiu, Vince Giordano, Christopher Hoffman, Joe Lovano, Pedrito Martinez, Dan NimmerLinda May Han Oh, Danilo Pérez, David Virelles, Lizz Wright, and the SFJAZZ High School All Stars. The event will also include video testimonials from NEA Jazz Masters Herbie Hancock (2004), Charles Lloyd (2015), and Wayne Shorter (1998), as well as Jon Faddis, Michelle Kinney, Joe LovanoJason Moran, and James Mtume.

“As part of our efforts to give all Americans access to the arts we are proud to partner with SFJAZZ on this virtual concert,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “It is an opportunity for audiences around the world to tune in and explore the honorees’ many contributions to jazz while also experiencing an evening of performances by an incredible line-up of jazz musicians.”

“It is an honor to again partner with the NEA to celebrate these Jazz Masters," says SFJAZZ Founder and Executive Artistic Director Randall Kline. "We are looking forward to all of these artists and our global communities coming together to honor these legendary jazz masters for their profound contributions to our world.”

The concert will be webcast online on Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. on arts.gov and sfjazz.org, as well as the websites for All About Jazz and Jazz Near You, Berklee College of Music, BMI, The Carr Center, Jazz Institute of Chicago, Jazz Journalists Association, Jazz at Lincoln CenterJazzTimes, KKJZ, National Endowment for the Humanities, NPR Music, Smithsonian Jazz, WBGO, WDCB, WRTI. The concert will also be available via radio broadcast on SiriusXM Channel 67, Real Jazz, in California on KCSM 91.1FM, in Colorado on KUVO Jazz 89.3 FM, in Illinois on WDCB 90.9 FM, in Michigan on WEMU 89.1 FM, in New Jersey on WBGO 88.3, in Pennsylvania on WZUM 88.1 FM, and in Washington, DC on WPFW 89.3 FM. (List of websites and radio broadcasts subject to change.) The concert webcast will be archived at arts.gov.

Stay tuned immediately following the concert for a Meet the Jazz Masters discussion with the 2021 honorees, hosted by SFJAZZ Founder & Executive Artistic Director Randall Kline. 

You can join in the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #NEAJazz21.

About the NEA Jazz Masters
Since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded 161 fellowships to great figures in jazz, including Ella Fitzgerald, Sonny Rollins, Dianne Reeves, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, and George Wein. The Arts Endowment’s website features resources and content about the NEA Jazz Masters, including archived concerts, video tributes, podcasts, and more than 350 NEA Jazz Moments audio clips. The National Endowment for the Arts has also supported the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program, an effort to document the lives and careers of nearly 100 NEA Jazz Masters. 

Nominate an NEA Jazz Master:
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 individuals 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. Visit the Arts Endowment’s website for detailed information and to submit nominations online. 

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts 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 Arts Endowment 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.


Founded in 1983, SFJAZZ is a recognized international leader in jazz creation, presentation, and education. SFJAZZ explores the full spectrum of jazz—from the music’s origins in the African American community, to its diverse present-day expressions around the world. SFJAZZ works to develop the audience for jazz in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. SFJAZZ celebrates jazz as a living art form, built on a constantly evolving tradition. The West Coast’s biggest jazz presenter serves over 200,000 fans and students every year and has several award-winning resident jazz ensembles - the world renowned SFJAZZ Collective and the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars. SFJAZZ Center opened in 2013 in the vibrant performing arts district of San Francisco. The luminous SFJAZZ Center was designed by San Francisco architect Mark Cavagnero and the LEED-Gold certified center offers the superb acoustics of a great concert hall and the relaxed intimacy of a jazz club.


Liz Auclair (NEA), auclaire@arts.gov, 202-682-5744

Marshall Lamm (SFJAZZ), mlamm@sfjazz.org, 510-928-1410