In a tribute concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., the National Endowment for the Arts recognized its 2016 class of NEA Jazz Masters — the highest honor the U.S. gives to a jazz musician or advocate. The performance were webcast live on Monday, April 4 here and via arts.gov, Kennedy-Center.org, and broadcast on Sirius XM radio.
The NEA honored four individuals in 2016: vibraphonist, bandleader and educator Gary Burton; musicians' advocate Wendy Oxenhorn; saxophonist and composer Pharoah Sanders; and saxophonist, composer and educator Archie Shepp. Each Jazz Master received a $25,000 grant.
The concert was hosted by Jason Moran, pianist and Kennedy Center artistic director for Jazz, and included remarks by Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts; Deborah F. Rutter, president of the Kennedy Center; as well as the 2016 NEA Jazz Masters. The concert featured performances by NEA Jazz Masters Chick Corea, Randy Weston, and Jimmy Heath, as well as Ambrose Akinmusire, Lakecia Benjamin, Billy Harper, Stefon Harris, Justin Kauflin, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Pedrito Martinez, Jason Moran, David Murray, Linda Oh, Karriem Riggins, Roswell Rudd and Catherine Russell.
With this new class, the NEA has honored 140 great figures in jazz.