2012 NEA JAZZ MASTERS

For many years now, I have been fortunate to work with the wonderful folks at the National Endowment for the Arts here in Washington, D.C., creating images of the many artists and events they so generously help to support, despite the ongoing crisis in arts funding. A more dedicated, professional and hardworking group of people you are unlikely to meet anywhere and I consider myself lucky to work with the likes of Victoria Hutter, Liz Auclair, Wayne Brown, Barry Bergey, Katja von Schuttenbach, Chairman Rocco Landesman and all the rest.
This week I journeyed up to New York City, to document the presentation of the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters Awards at Jazz at Lincoln Center. As many of my friends know, I am a longtime lover of jazz, since, as a child, my father would tune the radio to WMAL and Felix Grant’s show, sending the sounds of bebop and bossa nova through the night time ether. The NEA has graciously hired me to be their photographer on many folk, traditional, opera and related arts events before, each one a world class experience, but this was the holy grail. This was JAZZ!
True, this was no tiny smoke filled club, no jams crystallizing the cool night air as the sun rose over Harlem, and many of these lions of the music world are in the autumn of their days, but the sounds of saxophones and pianos filled the air, and each waking moment was filled with the voices of the hippest generation’s reminiscences. What could be cooler than meeting and listening to the stories of Jimmy Heath, Ahmad Jamal, Paquito D’Rivera, Yusef Lateef, Annie Ross?
This 30th Anniversary was a celebration to remember, and I was honored and proud to be a small part of the festivities welcoming Jack DeJohnette, Von Freeman, Charlie Haden, Sheila Jordan and Jimmy Owens into such a firmament of musical stars. Thanks for the Music!
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Jack DeJohnette Sheila Jordan Jimmy Owens
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