Apr 3, 2017

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced the recipients of the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship. Tune in to First Take with Lando & Chavis for a re-cap of ceremony on Tuesday, April 4 - 6 to 9am.

The 2017 honorees include organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, bassist Dave Holland, vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, pianist Dick Hyman and jazz critic and historian Ira Gitler.

Dr. Lonnie Smith is one of the few true masters of the Hammond B3 organ. Smith manifests his love of soul and R&B in a distinct and spiritually attuned form of soul jazz. He’s played with everyone from King Curtis to Lee Morgan, and built a body of recordings that spans from hard-bop to Hendrix.

Dave Holland is a bassist, composer and bandleader equally adept at fusion grooves and avant-garde conceptions. The English-born Holland replaced Ron Carter in Miles Davis’ band in 1968, and went on to perform on seminal fusion recordings like Bitches Brew and co-lead groups with everyone from Steve Coleman to Derek Bailey.

Dee Dee Bridgewater has brought her unmistakable voice to numerous jazz recordings as a vocalist, to the Broadway stage as an actress, and to the airwaves of NPR as a radio host for over a decade. She’s also toured the world as a musician and United Nations ambassador, spreading the spirit of jazz across the globe.

Dick Hyman’s career has spanned more than 60 years. As a pianist, composer and arranger, Hyman has established himself as one of the premier exponents of ragtime and early jazz pianism. He’s also scored Woody Allen films for over 20 years, and he served as director of the Jazz In July series at the 92nd Street Y in New York City for an equally long tenure.

Ira Gitler is an iconic jazz writer and historian who served as editor for ­DownBeat magazineduring the 1960s. He has written for virtually every major jazz publication in the West. He has also written or co-written several books on the music’s history, including The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz,with Leonard Feather; taught courses on jazz at numerous colleges; and written countless albums’ liner notes.