NEA Jazz Masters Honored At White House Event
A Salute to NEA Jazz Masters Celebrates Black Music Month
June 22, 2004
Washington, D.C. - Today President George W. Bush recognized the National Endowment for the Arts’ Jazz Masters program in a celebration of Black Music Month. A concert, A Salute to NEA Jazz Masters, took place in the East Room of the White House and featured three NEA Jazz Masters and six young musicians. Those Jazz Masters were pianist Dr. Billy Taylor performing with his trio; drummer, Chico Hamilton; and saxophonist, James Moody. The student musicians are part of Jazz and a New Generation, a program conceived and directed by Dr. Taylor and presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Education Department.
In his remarks President Bush noted, "These performers and many others carried forward the tradition of black music in our country. We take great pride in this heritage. We're grateful to every musician who keeps that heritage so rich and so vital today."
NEA Chairman Dana Gioia noted the "joy, wisdom and consolation" that jazz offers and its "testament to the power of art to speak across cultures."
The Billy Taylor Trio opened the musical portion of the event with The Man I Love. The trio was joined by Dione Taylor in a rendition of If You Really Are Concerned Then Show It. Other Jazz and a New Generation students Eldar Djangirov, pianist; Philip Kuehn, bassist; Caley Monahon-Ward, violin; Matt Marantz, saxophone; and Crystal Torres, vocalist; followed with an original piece by Billy Taylor called Conversion. 2004 NEA Jazz Master Chico Hamilton performed a drum solo and 1998 NEA Jazz Master James Moody and the Billy Taylor Trio concluded the performance with Sweet Georgia Brown.
In closing remarks First Lady Laura Bush spoke of the importance of music in one's life and that we celebrate jazz as a uniquely American art form.
Please see video footage of the event on the White House web site.
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