Tonight, Jan. 10, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) bestows the awards for its 2012 Jazz Masters Fellowship, the highest honor that the nation imparts on jazz artists. Among the recipients is bassist and composer Charlie Haden, founder of CalArts’ Jazz Studies Program and a longtime faculty member of The Herb Alpert School of Music.
Each year since 1982, the program has “elevated to its ranks a select number of living legends who have made exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz.” In addition to Haden, the other four honorees are: Jack DeJohnette, drummer, keyboardist, composer; Von Freeman, saxophonist; Sheila Jordan, vocalist, educator; and Jimmy Owens, educator, trumpeter, flugelhorn player, composer, arranger.
The 30th anniversary program will be webcast and radio broadcast live from Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York (watch livestream), and includes an all-star concert featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. More than 40 previously named NEA Jazz Masters are expected to attend—including Toshiko Akiyoshi, Ron Carter, Jon Hendricks, Ramsey Lewis, and Phil Woods—and many will perform in the concert.
In advance of the ceremony, the NEA prepared a tribute video for each of this year’s honorees, and we posted Haden’s above.
From the NEA:
Musician, composer, bandleader, educator, producer, activist, Charlie Haden has created a powerful collection of work during his long and productive career. Lyrical and expressive on the bass, he has embraced a variety of musical genres, ranging from jazz to country to world music. His work as an educator led to the creation of the Jazz Studies program at California Institute of the Arts in 1982 where he focuses on the spirituality of improvisation.
Haden’s jazz career has spanned more than five decades, first gaining notice as an original member of the groundbreaking Ornette Coleman Quartet, which ushered in a new era of avant-garde jazz in the late 1950s. His extensive discography is a testament to his long and storied career as both soloist, band leader and sideman.
For more information on Haden and his music, please visit CharlieHadenmusic.com.