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National Endowment for the Arts Announces the 2013 NEA Jazz Masters, Nation's Highest Honor in Jazz

Washington, DC – Dizzy Gillespie. Count Basie. Ella Fitzgerald. Herbie Hancock. Names of the greatest purveyors of America's homegrown art form, jazz -- and all NEA Jazz Masters. Today, the National Endowment for the Arts adds four new names to the list with the announcement of the 2013 NEA Jazz Masters. Like the 124 honorees who came before them, these four individuals are recognized for their lifetime achievements and significant contributions to the development and performance of jazz. They will each receive a one-time award of $25,000.

The 2013 NEA Jazz Masters are:

Mose Allison, pianist, vocalist, composer
      Born in Tippo, Mississippi, currently lives in Long Island, New York

Lou Donaldson, saxophonist 
       Born in Badin, North Carolina, currently lives in New York, New York

*Lorraine Gordon, jazz club owner
       Born in Newark, New Jersey, currently lives in New York, New York

Eddie Palmieri, pianist, bandleader, arranger, composer
       Born in New York, New York, currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada

* Lorraine Gordon is the recipient of the 2013 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy, which is bestowed upon an individual who has contributed significantly to the appreciation, knowledge, and advancement of the art form of jazz.

Full profiles of the 2013 NEA Jazz Masters are available on the NEA's website.

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said, "Each of the 2013 NEA Jazz Masters has made an indelible mark on jazz as we know it today. Mose Allison's fusion of jazz and blues has created a new sound uniquely his own, influencing scores of musicians and songwriters after him. Lou Donaldson has been a major force not just as a musician but also as a scout for new talent for the Blue Note label. Eddie Palmieri successfully combines the sounds of his Puerto Rican heritage with the jazz music he grew up with as a first-generation American. And Lorraine Gordon continues to provide a haven for jazz musicians to present their art at the Village Vanguard. I look forward to celebrating their achievements and contributions to this important American art form."

Each member of the 2013 NEA Jazz Masters class is a distinguished artist whose significant lifetime contributions have helped to enrich jazz and further the growth of the art form:

  • Mose Allison is not just a superior talent as an instrumentalist and singer, but also as a songwriter. Adept in both the blues and jazz, he defies categorization and has been a major influence on musicians, regardless of genre, for more than 50 years.
  • Lou Donaldson's distinctive blues-drenched alto saxophone has been a bopping force in jazz for more than six decades. His early work with trumpeter Clifford Brown is considered one of the first forays into hard bop, and his recordings with organist and NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Smith led to the groove-filled jazz of the 1960s and '70s.
  • A jazz haven for more than 55 years, the Village Vanguard is the longest-running jazz club in New York City and is still going strong under the ownership of Lorraine Gordon. Since 1957, when NEA Jazz Master Sonny Rollins recorded one of the first recording sessions at the club, the Vanguard has been the place to record a live jazz album, with its exceptional acoustics and intimate space.
  • Known as one of the finest Latin jazz pianists of the past 50 years, Eddie Palmieri is also known as a bandleader of both salsa and Latin jazz orchestras. His playing skillfully fuses the rhythm of Puerto Rico with the melody and complexity of his jazz influences: Thelonious Monk and NEA Jazz Masters Herbie Hancock and McCoy Tyner.

The NEA will again partner with Jazz at Lincoln Center to produce an awards ceremony and concert in honor of the 2013 NEA Jazz Masters,  that will be webcast live on Monday, January 14, 2013 on arts.gov and jalc.org/neajazzmasters. The ceremony will also be simulcast on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

About NEA Jazz Masters

Each year since 1982, the Arts Endowment has conferred the NEA Jazz Masters Award to living legends who have made major contributions to jazz. With this new class, 128 awards have been given to great figures of jazz in America, including Count Basie, George Benson, Art Blakey, Dave Brubeck, Betty Carter, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Roy Eldridge, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Hancock, Elvin Jones, John Levy, Abbey Lincoln, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Cecil Taylor, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and Teddy Wilson.

NEA Jazz Masters are selected from nominations submitted by the public and receive a one-time fellowship award of $25,000, are honored at an awards ceremony, and may participate in NEA-sponsored promotional, performance, and educational activities. 173 nominations were considered for the 2013 NEA Jazz Masters. Only living musicians or jazz advocates may be nominated for the NEA Jazz Masters honor.

Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2014 NEA Jazz Masters. Visit the NEA's website to submit a nomination online. Nominations must be received by October 1, 2012.

The NEA has created numerous resources as part of the NEA Jazz Masters program, including:

  • Video tributes, brief video tributes to recent NEA Jazz Masters' lives and careers in jazz,
  • Jazz Moments, 222 short audio pieces featuring musical excerpts and short interviews with NEA Jazz Masters,
  • Podcasts with NEA Jazz Masters and other jazz figures about the history and current state of jazz,
  • In-depth interviews with more than 45 NEA Jazz Masters,
  • NEA Jazz Masters Live grants to support performance and educational activities featuring NEA Jazz Masters, administered by Art Midwest.

In addition, the NEA 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 hours-long interviews, the website also includes audio clips  with  interview excerpts of the artists'  early years; their first introduction to  music and jazz; as well as their unique personal experiences in world of jazz.

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.

Jazz at Lincoln Center is dedicated to inspiring and growing audiences for jazz. With the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and a comprehensive array of guest artists, Jazz at Lincoln Center advances a unique vision for the continued development of the art of jazz by producing a year-round schedule of performance, education, and broadcast events for audiences of all ages. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis and Chairman Robert J. Appel, Jazz at Lincoln Center produces thousands of events each season in its home in New York City, Frederick P. Rose Hall, and around the world.

 

High-resolution images of the 2013 NEA Jazz Masters are available for press purposes. Call 202-682-5744 or email auclaire@arts.gov to obtain a copy.