Jazz Coalition Announces First Round Of Grant Recipients

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Lakecia Benjamin performs during this year’s Winter Jazzfest, which ran Jan. 8–18 in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

(Photo: Adrien H. Tillmann)

Set up in early May, the Jazz Coalition is rallying support for musicians unmoored from their regular incomes during the pandemic with a program that commissions new works through $1,000 grants. The first round of recipients was announced May 21.

Among the 51 musicians and programmers to receive funds are pianists Bertha Hope and Aaron Parks, bassist Ben Williams, and saxophonists James Carter, Lakecia Benjamin, Camille Thurman and Greg Ward. Rio Sakairi, the artistic director at The Jazz Gallery, also was allocated money.

The nonprofit currently is seeking to raise additional funds for another round of grants.

“When public assembly restrictions are lifted, commission recipients will premiere their new works at mutually agreed upon Jazz Coalition member venues, and their works-in-progress will be streamed in advance,” coalition representatives wrote in a press email. “The commissions will become a new canon of music that represents our collective resilience moving us all forward.”

For a full list of grant recipients, visit the organization’s website. DB



  • Casey_B_2011-115-Edit.jpg

    Benjamin possessed a fluid, round sound on the alto saxophone, and he was often most recognizable by the layers of electronic effects that he put onto the instrument.

  • David_Sanborn_by_C_Andrew_Hovan.jpg

    Sanborn’s highly stylized playing and searing signature sound — frequently ornamented with thrill-inducing split-tones and bluesy bent notes — influenced generations of jazz and blues saxophonists.

  • Albert_Tootie_Heath_2014_copy.jpg

    ​Albert “Tootie” Heath (1935–2024) followed in the tradition of drummer Kenny Clarke, his idol.

  • 1_Henry_Threadgills_Zooid_by_Cora_Wagoner.jpg

    Henry Threadgill performs with Zooid at Big Ears in Knoxville, Tennessee.

  • Ambrose_Akinmusire-908Z-5301_copy.jpg

    “I’m also at a point in my life where I don’t feel like I have anything to prove, like at all,” Akinmusire says about his art.


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