NEA Announces Newest Recipients of the USA’s Highest Honor in Jazz.

Written by | Awards, News

Each year, the United States National Endowment for the Arts bestows their highest honor in jazz, the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowships, on individuals who have made significant contributions to the art form. last week, the NEA is announced the four newest recipients of this lifetime honor. The recipients are Bob Dorough, Abdullah Ibrahim, Maria Schneider, and Stanley Crouch, who is the recipient of the 2019 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy (bestowed upon an individual who has contributed significantly to the appreciation, knowledge, and advancement of the art form of jazz).

Sadly, Bob Dorough passed away shortly after being notified of his Jazz Masters honor.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to celebrate jazz, an art form born in the United States that has since been embraced worldwide,” said NEA Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “These four new NEA Jazz Masters have been key players in jazz throughout their lives and careers, ensuring that the music will continue to grow and reach new audiences.”
The 2019 NEA Jazz Masters are:

Stanley Crouch — Jazz Historian, Author, Critic, Co-founder Jazz at Lincoln Center
(2019 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy)
Crouch is the author of eight critically acclaimed books and of hundreds of uncollected articles, essays, album liner notes, and reviews on jazz that has influenced the music and championed it for the general public. He also co-founded and served as artistic consultant for Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Bob Dorough — Vocalist, Composer, Arranger, Pianist
Dorough’s career spanned more than 70 years in jazz as a singer, pianist, composer, and arranger. His distinctive vocals, clever lyrics, and strong melodies were well-known in the jazz world even before his compositions and vocals for the animation series Schoolhouse Rock!.

Abdullah Ibrahim — Pianist, Composer
Ibrahim combines the rhythmic influences of South Africa with the improvisation of jazz to create his spiritually enriching music, whether performing solo, with a trio, a full band, or an orchestra. This blend of the traditional and the modern is reflected in his distinctive style, harmonies, and musical vocabulary.

Maria Schneider —Composer, Arranger, Bandleader
Schneider’s music has been hailed by critics as “evocative,” “majestic,” “heart-stoppingly gorgeous,” and “beyond categorization.” Primarily known for her highly original and provocative big band compositions written over the past three decades, she is unique in having written classical works as well, even stepping into rock through a collaboration with David Bowie.

“I’m deeply honored, excited, and absolutely amazed,” says Schneider. “I’ve seen so many of my heroes receive this honor in the past. It inspires me to do more – much much more. There’s a heck of a lot to live up to in this club.”

Since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded 153 fellowships to great figures in jazz, including Ella Fitzgerald, Sonny Rollins, Dianne Reeves, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, and George Wein. The full list of NEA Jazz Masters and materials about them—including videos, podcasts, NEA Jazz Moments audio clips, and more—are available at

Recipients are nominated by the public, including the jazz community. Nominations are judged by a panel of experts, including previously-named NEA Jazz Masters. The panel’s recommendations are reviewed by the National Council on the Arts, which sends its recommendations to the NEA chairman, who makes the final decision. 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.

More Information.

Maria Schneider Photo By Kyra Kverno

Last modified: July 24, 2018