The National Endowment for the Arts has named saxophonist Gary Bartz, trumpeter Terence Blanchard and composer Amina Claudine Myers to the 2024 class of NEA Jazz Masters.
Writer, broadcaster, educator and historian Willard Jenkins was also announced as the recipient of the 2024 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy.
Awarded annually since 1982, these fellowships are the United States’ highest honour bestowed upon jazz musicians, broadcasters and advocates. Recipients are regarded as “living legends who have made exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz.”
The year’s four honourees will each receive a $25,000 award to go along with their title.
“From its origins in the Black American experience to what is now a global treasure, jazz continues to be a source of inspiration and creativity, due in large part to the stewards of this tradition, four of whom we are excited to honour this year,” said NEA chair Maria Rosario Jackson.
The 2023 NEA Jazz Masters were violinist Regina Carter, saxophonist Kenny Garrett, drummer Louis Hayes, and producer Sue Mingus. Other past honourees include Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and Dianne Reeves.
This year’s honourees will be celebrated at a free concert in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, April 13, 2024, in collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.