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 Saturday, 28 November 2015
NEA names the 2007 Jazz Masters PDF Print
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   
Friday, 13 October 2006
Toshiko Akiyoshi
"When I received the news of the award over the phone, I was stunned for a second, disbelieving my ears. I am sure than anyone who has received this prestigious award felt quite honored; but for me, it was much, much more special, because of who I am and where I came from. It has been 60 years since I discovered jazz, and made it my life’s work. I am so gratified to be recognized for my endeavors, especially my infusing of Japanese culture into the jazz world, making it even more universal." – Toshiko Akiyoshi

Each year since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has conferred the NEA Jazz Masters Award on a handful of living legends who have made major contributions to this distinctively American art form. Recognized as the nation's highest honor in the art of jazz, the award to date has been given to 87 great figures in American music. Now another seven may now call themselves NEA Jazz Masters.

The seven new NEA Jazz Masters are Toshiko Akiyoshi (bandleader), Curtis Fuller (solo instrumentalist, trombone), Ramsey Lewis (pianist), Jimmy Scott (vocalist), Frank Wess (solo instrumentalist, flute), and Phil Woods (composer-arranger). In addition, the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy is being given to Dan Morgenstern.
Phil Woods

"The jazz world has come to regard the NEA Jazz Masters Award as its equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize," National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia stated. "We are immensely proud that the Arts Endowment can not only honor these American artists but also help them to forge new connections with the public, thanks to the outreach and education programs of the NEA Jazz Masters program."

Each member of the NEA Jazz Masters Class of 2007 has made a distinctive, lifelong contribution to jazz. Bandleader Toshiko Akiyoshi helped re-make the big-band tradition for contemporary audiences, with a vibrant new sound and new international influences. Trombonist Curtis Fuller, an omnipresent mainstay of the hard-bop era, continues to flourish today in varied settings as a performer and teacher. Pianist Ramsey Lewis spans the influences of gospel music, classical music, and mainstream jazz; while Jimmy Scott has brought his deeply affecting voice and style to everything from ballads to rhythm 'n' blues.

Frank Wes
Multi-instrumentalist Frank Wess is being honored as one of the most influential and innovative flutists in jazz history. Master alto saxophonist Phil Woods has been named an NEA Jazz Master in the composer-arranger category, in recognition of his contributions to the modern jazz repertoire. As for Dan Morgenstern, director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, he has devoted himself to jazz advocacy as an historian, archivist, author, editor, and educator.

The seven new NEA Jazz Masters will officially receive their awards at a ceremony and concert held in New York City on January 12, 2007, as a highlight of the annual conference of the International Association for Jazz Education.

For more information on NEA Jazz Masters,visit the web site, at

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