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NEA Jazz Masters 2015 Class

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Initiated in 1982, the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship is the nation’s highest honor given to those who have devoted their lives and careers to jazz, an art form uniquely rooted in American history and culture. Described by The New York Times as a “rare public accolade for jazz”, the recipients represent a wide variety of musical distinction, from singers and percussionists, to vibraphonists and saxophonists—all of whom have shaped and advanced the jazz art form through their lifelong commitment.

With the announcement of the 2015 class, the NEA has awarded 136 Jazz Masters Fellowships to living legends who have made major contributions to jazz, including Art Blakey
Art Blakey
Art Blakey
1919 - 1990
drums
, Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck
1920 - 2012
piano
, Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
b.1930
sax, alto
, Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
, Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
, Pacquito D'Rivera, Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
1917 - 1996
vocalist
, Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
1917 - 1993
trumpet
, Lionel Hampton
Lionel Hampton
Lionel Hampton
1908 - 2002
vibraphone
, Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
b.1940
piano
, Sheila Jordan
Sheila Jordan
Sheila Jordan
b.1928
vocalist
, Abbey Lincoln
Abbey Lincoln
Abbey Lincoln
1930 - 2010
vocalist
, Eddie Palmieri
Eddie Palmieri
Eddie Palmieri
b.1936
piano
, Max Roach
Max Roach
Max Roach
1925 - 2007
drums
, Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
, Cecil Taylor
Cecil Taylor
Cecil Taylor
b.1929
piano
, Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Vaughan
1924 - 1990
vocalist
, John Levy
John Levy
John Levy
1912 - 2012
bass
; and recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder.

The NEA recognizes up to four artists each year, with each receiving a one ‐ time fellowship award of $25,000, and being honored at a public awards ceremony and concert. Fellowships are awarded to living individuals on the basis of nominations from the public including the jazz community. The NEA encourages nominations of a broad range of men and women who have been significant to the field of jazz, through vocals, instrumental performance, creative leadership, and education.

he 2015 NEA Jazz Masters are recognized for their lifetime achievements and exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz.

Carla Bley
Carla Bley
Carla Bley
b.1938
piano
(Willow, New York)—keyboardist, composer, arranger, bandleader George Coleman
George Coleman
George Coleman
b.1935
sax, tenor
(Jersey City, New Jersey)—saxophonist, composer, educator Charles Lloyd
Charles Lloyd
Charles Lloyd
b.1938
saxophone
(Santa Barbara, California)—saxophonist, flutist, composer Joe Segal* (Chicago, Illinois)—jazz presenter and club owner

* Joe Segal is the recipient of the 2015 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy, which is bestowed upon an individual who has contributed significantly to the appreciation, knowledge, and advancement of the art form of jazz.

The NEA will honor the 2015 Jazz Masters at an awards ceremony and concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Monday, April 20, 2015. Please note the concert will take place in April to coincide with Jazz Appreciation Month. The concert will be streamed live on arts.gov and jalc.org/live. More information about the awards ceremony and concert will be released closer to the concert date.
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