The winners of the 2023 NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship have been announced!
Three Black musicians born and raised in Detroit—drummer, Louis Hayes, saxophonist Kenny Garrett, and violinist, Regina Carter—are three of the four winners of the 2023 NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship, according an announcement from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
The title comes with a $25,000 award, as well as a commemorate tribute concert, scheduled for Saturday, April 1, 2023 in conjunction with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., will be free with a reservation, per NPR. A live webcast will also be available at NPR.org and arts.gov.
“From its origins in the Black American experience to what is now a global treasure, jazz continues to be a source of inspiration and creativity, due in large part to the stewards of this tradition, four of whom we are excited to honor this year,” said NEA Chair, Maria Rosario Jackson, Ph.D.
The honorees will soon be officially recognized among Detroit’s previous NEA Jazz Masters.
Carter, 55, is one of the youngest to be selected for the fellowship. She received a MacArthur “genius” grant and a Doris Duke Artist Award. She also received an individual NEA jazz grant in 1990. NEA also describes her as an educator, who “shares her knowledge and talent through teaching and workshops,” per the announcement.
“I’m just kind of in shock,” Carter told The Detroit Free Press.
“I would never think of myself as a master of anything, and I just thought, ‘I’m too young for that. That’s for folks that I look up to as an admirer.’ We’re all professional students in life, you know?”
Garrett, 61, is a Grammy Award-winning saxophonist, arranger, composer and band leader who built a successful musical career in jazz, blues and rhythm and blues. He has worked with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Mel Lewis Orchestra, and Miles Davis.
“The fact that we have three people from Detroit—this shows that Detroit has a whole bunch of talent, Garrett, who’s currently on tour for his album, Sounds from the Ancestors,’ told the Free Press.
“And it didn’t just start with Motown, there were a lot of jazz musicians who were playing on those records.”
Hayes, 85, has enjoyed a 50-year musical career, starting as a member of bands led by jazz legends before becoming a band leader. According to NEA, the Bronx, N.Y., resident is “one of the premier drummers in jazz.”
Producer and author Sue Mingus is also among the honorees.