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Jazz Night toasts the NEA Jazz Masters class of 2023

2023 NEA Jazz Masters (left to right): Louis Hayes (photo by Janette Beckman), Regina Carter (photo by Jeff Dunn), Kenny Garrett (photo by Jimmy Katz), Sue Mingus (Photo courtesy Mingus Archives)
National Endowment for the Arts
2023 NEA Jazz Masters (left to right): Louis Hayes (photo by Janette Beckman), Regina Carter (photo by Jeff Dunn), Kenny Garrett (photo by Jimmy Katz), Sue Mingus (Photo courtesy Mingus Archives)

Baseball has Cooperstown. Hollywood has stars on the Walk of Fame. And jazz has the NEA Jazz Masters. For over 40 years, the National Endowment for the Arts has bestowed the honor to a select few musicians and advocates with irrefutable resumes who have spent their lives in service to the music.

This week, we toast the newly minted 2023 class of NEA Jazz Masters: saxophonist Kenny Garrett who cut his teeth on the bandstands of Art Blakey and Miles Davis on the way to becoming the defining alto player of his generation; violinist Regina Carter who is hailed for her mastery on the instrument and her drive to expand its possibilities; drummer Louis Hayes who has spent over 70 years keeping time with some of the most soulful artists in the music's history; and Sue Mingus, recipient of the A.B. Spellman Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy, who kept the legacy of her husband Charles Mingus alive through ensembles, reinvention and education.

We'll hear interviews from each of the artists and from Sue Mingus' family as well as some incredible music from each musician's catalog — all showing why they are deserving of the moniker "Master."

Set List:

  • Horace Silver Quintet, "Mellow D" (Horace Silver)
  • Cannonball Adderley Quintet, "This Here" (Bobby Timmons)
  • Louis Hayes, "Room 608" (Silver)
  • Mingus Big Band, "Moanin'" (Charles Mingus)
  • Miles Davis, "Amandla" (Marcus Miller)
  • Kenny Garrett, "It's Time to Come Home" (Kenny Garrett)
  • Regina Carter, "Don't Git Sassy" (Thad Jones)
  • Regina Carter, "Rêverie" (Claude Debussy)
  • Regina Carter, "Squatty Roo" (Johnny Hodges)
  • Credits:

    Special thanks to the NEA and Josephine Reed for the Masters interviews. You can watch the 2023 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

    Writers and Producers: Trevor Smith, Sarah Geledi; Host: Christian McBride; Consulting Editor: Katie Simon; Episode Mix: Ron Scalzo; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Vice President of Visuals and Strategy at NPR Music: Keith Jenkins; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann and Gabrielle Armand.


    Copyright 2023 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

    Trevor joined the WBGO Development Department in April of 2017 and currently handles grant writing and institutional giving initiatives as the Coordinator of Corporate and Foundation Relations.
    Sarah Geledi left her job in advertising in Montreal to pursue a career in music in New York City. She fulfilled that mission, producing content for the JAM Festival at WBGO, segments for The Checkout, and programs for WWOZ and PRI's Afropop Worldwide. She also served as a producer for NYC Winter Jazzfest before landing the "job of her dreams," producing radio for Jazz Night in America.