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2024 Class of NEA Jazz Masters Announced

Gary Bartz
Alan Nahigian
Gary Bartz

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced the 2024 NEA Jazz Masters: Gary Bartz, Terence Blanchard, Amina Claudine Myers and Willard Jenkins. Jenkins, a longtime journalist, radio host and presenter, is the recipient of the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy.

Each recipient of this fellowship will receive an award of $25,000 and will be honored in a ceremony and free concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC on Saturday, April 13, 2024.

The awards were established in 1982 in order to honor the contributions of jazz artists to the genre and to the community at large. Over the last four decades, the NEA has awarded 173 fellowships to jazz artists and advocates, including many of the most legendary figures in the music, such as Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Abbey Lincoln, Sonny Rollins and Wayne Shorter. A complete list of awardees can be foundhere.

“Jazz is one of our nation’s most significant artistic contributions to the world, and the NEA is proud to recognize individuals whose creativity and dedication ensure that the art form continues to evolve and inspire new audiences and practitioners,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, in a press release received at WBGO. “We are thrilled to collaborate with the Kennedy Center again this year on a concert that will honor and celebrate these Jazz Masters’ contributions and the importance of jazz."

For over 27 years, Lee Mergner served as an editor and publisher of JazzTimes until his resignation in January 2018. Thereafter, Mergner continued to regularly contribute features, profiles and interviews to the publication as a contributing editor for the next 4+ years. JazzTimes, which has won numerous ASCAP-Deems Taylor awards for music journalism, was founded in 1970 and was described by the All Music Guide, as “arguably the finest jazz magazine in the world.”