Big band leader Maria Schneider, pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, writer Stanley Crouch and the late vocalist-pianist Bob Dorough have been named 2019 NEA Jazz Masters, the National Endowment for the Arts announced Wednesday.
Schneider—a Grammy winner who is revered for the compositions she writes for her namesake orchestra—recently took home awards in the DownBeat Critics Poll in the Big Band and Arranger categories. Ibrahim continues to perform in a variety of settings, with a handful of live gigs scheduled throughout 2018. Crouch is the recipient of the 2019 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy. Dorough, who died April 23, was told about the recognition just before he passed away.
On April 15, the NEA will host a free concert celebrating the Jazz Masters at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Beginning in 1982, NEA has bestowed the Jazz Master honor on more than 150 people connected to the jazz genre, including Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Dianne Reeves and George Wein. Individuals first are nominated by the public, with an NEA-convened panel assessing the nominations before the National Council on the Arts reviews the recommendations and forwards them along to the NEA chairman, who makes the final decision.
“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to celebrate jazz, an art form born in the United States that has since been embraced worldwide,” said Mary Anne Carter, NEA acting chairman. “These four new NEA Jazz Masters have been key players in jazz throughout their lives and careers, ensuring that the music will continue to grow and reach new audiences.”
For more information on the artists, visit the NEA website. DB