Virtual Concert Celebrates the 2020 NEA Jazz Masters

Bobby McFerrin will be honored as an NEA Jazz Master during a virtual concert on August 20, 2020. Other honorees include Dorthaan Kirk, Roscoe Mitchell and Reggie Workman. (Photo: Stewart Cohen)

The National Endowment for the Arts, in collaboration with SFJAZZ, will host a special online-only concert in honor of the 2020 NEA Jazz Masters—Dorthaan Kirk (A.B. Spellman Jazz Masters Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy), Bobby McFerrinRoscoe Mitchell, and Reggie Workman—on Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.

2017 NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater will emcee this premier event, which will include performances by acclaimed jazz musicians—including honorees McFerrin, Mitchell, and Workman—recorded from locations around the country. The 2020 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert is free to watch, and will replace the previously scheduled concert at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco that was postponed due to COVID-19.

“While we were disappointed to have to postpone last April’s events, this virtual concert will be an opportunity to bring together jazz fans around the world in celebration of the 2020 NEA Jazz Masters,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “We appreciate the creativity and dedication of all involved, from the staff at SFJAZZ to the many musicians who are performing in honor of the recipients so that we can continue our agency’s long tradition of honoring great individuals in jazz.”

The concert will feature remarks by the 2020 NEA Jazz Masters, as well as Chairman Carter and Randall Kline, founder and executive artistic director of SFJAZZ. In addition to the musician honorees, performers include Music Director Terri Lyne Carrington, Ambrose Akinmusire, Dee Dee Bridgewater, James Carter, Gerald Clayton, Vincent Davis, Lisa Fischer, Morgan Guerin, Oliver Lake, Christian McBride, Jevon McFerrin, Madison McFerrin, Taylor McFerrin, Kanoa Mendenhall, Junius Paul, and Steve Turre, as well as the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars.

“It was a great honor for SFJAZZ to be selected as the venue for the presentation of the 2020 NEA Jazz Masters Awards,” said Randall Kline, SFJAZZ founder and executive artistic director. “We are so thankful for everyone at the Arts Endowment, all of the past and present NEA Jazz Masters, and the SFJAZZ staff for their improvisational spirit in bringing the virtual version of the concert to life. We are looking forward to all of our communities coming together to honor these legendary jazz masters.”

The 2020 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert will be broadcast at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT from and, as well as from the websites for All About Jazz and Jazz Near You, BMI, Inc., JazzTimes, KQED, the National Endowment for the Humanities, NPR Music, Smithsonian Jazz, Voice of America’s Khmer, Chinese, and Tibetan services, and WBGO. An archive of the concert will be available following the event at The concert will also be available via radio broadcast on SiriusXM Channel 67, Real Jazz; in California on KCSM 91.1FM and KALW 91.7FM; and in Washington, DC on WPFW 89.3 FM.

You can join in the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #NEAJazz2020.

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