NEA Announces the 2023 Recipients of NEA Jazz Masters Honors

Recipients to be Honored on April 1, 2023, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC
Photos of the four honorees with text reading National Endowment for the Arts 2023 Jazz Masters

2023 NEA Jazz Masters (left to right): Louis Hayes (photo by Janette Beckman), Regina Carter (photo by Jeff Dunn), Kenny Garrett (photo by Jimmy Katz), Sue Mingus (Photo courtesy Mingus Archives)

Washington, DC—The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is pleased to announce the 2023 recipients of the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship—musicians Regina Carter, Kenny Garrett, and Louis Hayes, as well as Sue Mingus, recipient of the 2023 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy. These fellowships include an award of $25,000 and the honorees will be celebrated at a public concert in Washington, DC, on Saturday, April 1, 2023, in collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

“From its origins in the Black American experience to what is now a global treasure, jazz continues to be a source of inspiration and creativity, due in large part to the stewards of this tradition, four of whom we are excited to honor this year,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “Congratulations to the 2023 NEA Jazz Masters! We look forward to collaborating with the Kennedy Center on an event that will celebrate their contributions and passion for jazz with a wide audience.”   

The master jazz musicians honored this year were all raised in Detroit, Michigan, and have gone on to make extraordinary contributions within jazz:

  • Regina Carter (Maywood, New Jersey) is renowned for her mastery of the violin and exploring the instrument’s possibilities in jazz, as well as taking journeys in other genres of music. A recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant and a Doris Duke Artist Award (as well as an individual NEA jazz grant in 1990), Carter also shares her knowledge and talent through teaching and workshops.
  • Kenny Garrett (Glen Ridge, New Jersey) is a Grammy Award-winning saxophonist, arranger, composer, and band leader who has garnered critical recognition for his versatility in jazz, blues, and R&B contexts. Garrett began his career performing with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and Mel Lewis Orchestra and, in 1987, began working with Miles Davis, becoming a member of Davis’ working group—a collaboration that lasted for five years.
  • Louis Hayes’ (Bronx, New York) ability to shift seamlessly between driving hard bop and quiet sensitivity on ballads for more than 50 years make him one of the premier drummers in jazz. In addition to being a member of bands led by jazz legends, since the 1970s, he primarily has led his own bands to popular acclaim, often featuring new generations of stellar musicians.

In addition, each year, the NEA honors one individual with the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy for major contributions to the appreciation, knowledge, and advancement of the American jazz art form:

  • Sue Mingus (New York, NY) has been a fierce proponent for the legacy of her late husband, Charles Mingus, one of the legends of jazz, whose centennial is celebrated in 2022. In addition to being an archivist and publisher of the bassist and composer's life and music, she has also directed several bands dedicated to performing and recording Mingus’ music, and her nonprofit created the annual Mingus High School Festival and Competition. Mingus’ documentation of her husband's body of work resulted in a sizable archive, the Charles Mingus Collection, now housed at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

The 2023 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert will also mark the culmination of the NEA’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of the NEA Jazz Masters program. The NEA is returning to the nation’s capital for the events and is again partnering with the Kennedy Center, the NEA’s previous partner on the 2016 to 2019 NEA Jazz Masters events. More information on the 2023 events, including how to reserve free tickets for the concert and watch the live webcast, will be available early next year.

“We are overjoyed to have the NEA Jazz Masters return to the Kennedy Center, especially with this extraordinary class of giants. Regina Carter’s violin sings the sonic legacies of Detroit into the world; Kenny Garrett blasted a fearless fire into his alto saxophone; Louis Hayes’ drums swung every band he was in into the stratosphere; and Sue Mingus is a champion galvanizer, producer, and manager of her late husband Charles Mingus’ immense legacy,” said Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz, Jason Moran.

Visit for longer bios and selected discographies on the 2023 NEA Jazz Masters. High-resolution photos of the 2023 NEA Jazz Masters are available for media use.

About the NEA Jazz Masters
Since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded 169 fellowships to great figures in jazz, such as Terri Lyne Carrington, Betty Carter, Paquito D’Rivera, Dizzy Gillespie, Maria Schneider, Henry Threadgill, and George Wein. Explore the NEA’s website for photos and bios for all of the NEA Jazz Masters, as well as 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:
The NEA Jazz Masters Fellowships are awarded to living individuals on the basis of nominations from the public including members of the jazz community. NEA Jazz Masters Fellowships are up to $25,000 and can be received once in a lifetime. Visit the NEA’s website for detailed information and to submit nominations. The deadline for nominations for the 2024 class of honorees is October 31, 2022.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that is the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide and a catalyst of public and private support for the arts. By advancing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, the NEA fosters and sustains an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United States. Visit to learn more.


Liz Auclair (NEA),, 202-682-5744  
Brendan Padgett (Kennedy Center),