The senior member among this year's inductees is Joanne Brackeen, 79, a virtuoso pianist with a discography stretching back to the mid-'70s. Just behind her is the presenter and producer Todd Barkan, 71, who first made his mark as owner of the prominent San Francisco club Keystone Korner. (A fine recent archival release, Moments in Time, captures Brackeen at Keystone Korner in 1976, as a member of the Stan Getz Quartet.)
The guitarist Pat Metheny and the singer Dianne Reeves hail from a younger jazz generation — she is 61, he's 63 — and they share the rare ability to make an imposing technical command feel natural, even easeful. Each has been a paragon and a popularizer, reaching beyond the straight-ahead jazz perimeter to connect with Brazilian music, adult pop and much else besides.
Reeves, Metheny, Brackeen and Barkan will be honored during the NEA Jazz Masters ceremony in words, with short films and of course, in performance. Among the musicians taking part in this concert are pianist (and NEA Jazz Master) Eddie Palmieri, bassist (and Jazz Night in America host) Christian McBride, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and singers Angelique Kidjo and Cécile McLorin Salvant.
NPR Music to Host Two NEA Jazz Masters Events, Including One This SundayIn partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, NPR Music will host two events celebrating the 2019 NEA Jazz Masters — Stanley Crouch, Bob Dorough, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Maria Schneider — who are recipients of the nation's highest honor in jazz.This Sunday, April 14, in NPR's Studio One, Lauren Onkey, Senior Director of NPR Music, will moderate the NEA Jazz Masters Listening Party. She will interview two of the Jazz Masters and others who know them well, using music from their careers to tell the stories of their lives. She will be joined on stage by Maria Schneider and Abdullah Ibrahim, Aralee Dorough — Bob Dorough's daughter who is also a musician — who will discuss her father's career, and Jazz Night In America's Christian McBride who will talk about Crouch's jazz advocacy. This free event runs from 2p – 3:30p and is open to the public. Tickets are required, so please email Jackie Reed if you would like to attend.On Monday, April 15, the NEA Jazz Masters will be honored with a concert hosted by Jason Moran, Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz. Starting at 8p in the Kennedy Center's Concert Hall, musicians Jay Anderson, Steve Berger, Terence Blanchard, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kurt Elling, Sullivan Fortner, Bill Goodwin, Cleave Guyton, Noah Jackson, 2012 NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan, Grace Kelly, Frank Kimbrough, Christian McBride, Charles McPherson, Jason Moran, David Murray, Pat O'Leary, Scott Robinson, and J D Walter will perform and pay tribute to the NEA Jazz Masters' careers. Reservations for this event are filled, but you can watch the concert live on NPR Music. (Please note that the page won't publish until Monday.)