NEA Jazz Masters 2010

Full disclosure: Willard Jenkins is a coordinator of the NEA Jazz Masters Live program which funds NEAJM presentations at sites around the country.  Email if you’d like further information…

 

Last Tuesday evening was yet another sublime NEA Jazz Masters awards concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s sumptuous Rose Theatre.  The evening commenced with each of the living Masters in the house being introduced at their seats to warm applause as the audience saluted these great artists who’ve meant so much to the development of jazz music.  Members of the 2010 class were introduced separately starting with revealing excerpts from video interviews conducted by writer and former NEA official A.B. Spellman.  Several of the 2010 class also performed during the evening.

 

Muhal Richard Abrams

(photo by Alan Nahigian)

    The first presentation featured 2010 inductee pianist-composer and founder of the AACM Muhal Richard Abrams, conducting the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra through one of his typically knotty and challenging compositions.  This in itself was a revelation, given that some misguidedly view the orchestra as a representative of staunch jazz conservativism.  They played Muhal’s music with grace and skill; a later conversation with JALCO alto saxophonist Ted Nash revealed eager enthusiasm for such an opportunity because it afforded the band a chance to really stretch.

 

Yusef Lateef

    Later in the evening another stunning performance was turned in by the duo of 2010 NEAJM Yusef Lateef and his percussionist Adam Rudolph.  If there as a deeper, more satisfying sound on flute than Lateef’s rich tone then I haven’t heard it.  He worked his way through several manner of flutes, including a couple of haunting end blown instruments – which Lateef also employed for their inherent percussiveness – tenor sax, and traditional western flute while Rudolph tastefully accompanied on frame drum, small flutes, piano, and dijeridoo. 

 

Annie Ross

    These were but two in an evening of immense celebration and abundant love for this great art form that was summed up so beautifully by vocalist Annie Ross.  After her acceptance speech Ms. Ross sang a piece whose lyrics were a litany of jazz greats that aptly recognized the ancestors. 

 

    NEA Jazz Masters are selected annually — and along with the recognition each receives a check for $25K — through nominees from the general public subsequently selected by a panel of Masters.  For further information on the NEA Jazz Masters who’ve been selected since the 1982 inception of the program (must be living), and how you may nominate some deserving Master who has not yet been selected, visit www.arts.endow.gov and click on the Lifetime Honors icon.  All it takes is a simple one-page letter.

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4 Responses to NEA Jazz Masters 2010

  1. Tom says:

    Hi There, I play in the Jazz duo “Idle Words” and we are offering Jazz Bloggers a copy of our press-kit/album in exchange for the possibility of a review their blog. If you are interested, please email me on: tom@idle-words.co.uk

    Also we are offering a free MP3 download to you or your readers who join our mailing list (www.idle-words.co.uk/contact-us.shtml).

    Many Thanks,
    Tom

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  3. Craig Taylor says:

    In the NEA Jazz Masters meditation on inductee Muhal Richard Abrams, you dismiss as misguided the notion that the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra is “representative of staunch jazz conservatisim.” I am sure you would accept the proposition that a band is a reflection of its leader. Given that Wynton Marsalis is the leader of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and that Mr. Marsalis’s music philosophy, creative impulses, and oeuvre are manifestly conservative, how can the band be viewed as anything other than a bastion of conservatism?

  4. Sen says:

    “In the NEA Jazz Masters meditation on inductee Muhal Richard Abrams, you dismiss as misguided the notion that the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra is “representative of staunch jazz conservatisim.” I am sure you would accept the proposition that a band is a reflection of its leader. Given that Wynton Marsalis is the leader of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and that Mr. Marsalis’s music philosophy, creative impulses, and oeuvre are manifestly conservative, how can the band be viewed as anything other than a bastion of conservatism? ”

    JLCO is definitely the vehicle for the ideology and spoutings of the arch -conservative Marsalis. No progressive jazz artist from the last 40 years has ever had their work recognised in LC, the fact that Muhal Abrams music was actually played was a small miracle, George Russell I remember back in 2002 was uncerimoniously axed from an appearance at Lincoln centre, why ? artisitc director Marsalis of course and his bastion of conservatism.

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