The Making of a GREAT DAY FOR JAZZ
Twenty-three NEA Jazz Masters were able to celebrate the history of jazz and the accomplishments of their fellow musicians.
As photographer Tom Pich set up to shoot a gathering of venerated NEA Jazz Masters, one problem emerged that more than a year’s worth of planning and effort couldn’t have prevented—the 23 past and new NEA Jazz Masters wouldn’t stop talking long enough to take a photograph.
“All the past Masters were very excited to be there,” said Victoria Hutter, communications specialist for the NEA. “You could tell that they all realized what a special moment it was.”
More than a year before the gala, representatives from the NEA and the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE), which has partnered with the NEA for many years to produce the NEA Jazz Masters ceremony, met to plan a spectacular evening. The idea was born to invite all the living NEA Jazz Masters to attend and be celebrated at a reunion luncheon. The preceding months were filled with planning the logistics of the ceremony and luncheon.
“The effort took an enormous amount of work. Bringing together that number of people and balancing everyone’s schedules was a challenge,” Hutter said.