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By Culturekiosque Staff

WASHINGTON, DC, 21 MAY 2009 - The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today announced the recipients of the 2010 NEA Jazz Masters Award - the nation's highest honor in this distinctly American music. The eight recipients will each receive a $25,000 grant award and be publicly honored in an awards ceremony and concert on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

The eight 2010 NEA Jazz Masters are:

Muhal Richard Abrams
Pianist, Composer, Educator
New York, NY

Kenny Barron
Pianist, Composer, Educator
Brooklyn, NY

Bill Holman
Composer, Arranger, Saxophonist
Los Angeles, CA

Bobby Hutcherson
Vibraphonist, Marimba Player, Composer
Montara, CA

Yusef Lateef
Saxophonist, Flutist, Oboist, Composer, Educator
Amherst, MA

Annie Ross
New York, NY

Cedar Walton
Pianist, Composer
Brooklyn, NY

George Avakian, a jazz producer, manager, critic, and educator from Riverdale, New York, will receive the 2010 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy.

These master artists have dedicated their lives to shaping and advancing the rich tradition of jazz," said NEA Acting Chair Patrice Walker Powell. "The NEA is pleased to recognize their individual creative talents and celebrate their combined musical contributions."

For the January presentation, the Arts Endowment will again partner with Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City to produce the event, and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters and Arts Presenter's annual conference. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to attend some of the jazz master events and learn more about presenting jazz in the communities. The Awards Ceremony & Concert will be held at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, and will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis in a program dedicated to the honorees' lives and works. Past collaborations between the NEA and Jazz at Lincoln Center include the NEA Jazz in the Schools curriculum - available free of charge to high school teachers nationwide and used by nearly 8.4 million students since its inception. The NEA Jazz in the Schools Web site is a 2009 Webby Awards Official Honoree.

Each member of the 2010 NEA Jazz Masters class met the selection criteria of being a distinguished artist whose excellence, impact, and significant lifetime contributions have helped to keep jazz alive and further the growth of the art form:

The co-founder and first president of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), pianist Muhal Richard Abrams is highly respected by critics and musical peers as both a pianist and composer in a variety of musical styles.

Recognized the world over as a master of performance and composition, virtuoso pianist Kenny Barron has worked with such renowned musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Haden, Roy Haynes, and fellow 2010 NEA Jazz Master Yusef Lateef.

Bill Holman's unique and complex arrangements have long been appreciated by musicians and critics alike, including Louie Bellson, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Doc Severinsen, and others.

Bobby Hutcherson's sound and style on the vibraphone helped modernize the instrument in the 1960s, adding an adventurous new voice to hard bop and free jazz.

A major force on the international musical scene for more than six decades, Yusef Lateef was among the first to incorporate world music into traditional jazz through his mastery of Middle Eastern and Asian reed instruments.

One of the early practitioners of the singing style known as "vocalese" - the setting of original lyrics to an instrumental jazz solo - Annie Ross was part of the renowned vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross

One of the great hard bop pianists, Cedar Walton is also well-known for his distinctive compositions, which he first honed during his years with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

George Avakian is not only a record producer but a true pioneer in the industry. Besides producing some of the finest jazz albums of the 1950s for Columbia, including Miles Davis's Miles Ahead and Duke Ellington's Ellington at Newport, he helped establish the 33 1/3 LP as the primary format for the recording industry. He also was the first to produce reissues of long out-of-print jazz recordings.

.Each year since 1982, the Arts Endowment has conferred the NEA Jazz Masters Award to living legends who have made major contributions to jazz. With this new class, the award has been given to 114 great figures of jazz in America, including Count Basie, George Benson, Art Blakey, Dave Brubeck, Betty Carter, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Roy Eldridge, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Hancock, Elvin Jones, John Levy, Abbey Lincoln, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Cecil Taylor, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and Teddy Wilson.

For more information on NEA Jazz Masters, the public is invited to visit the Web site, at www.neajazzmasters.org .

Title Image: Bobby Hutcherson

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