This spring, the National Endowment for the Arts will celebrate two of BMI’s legendary jazz musicians, Stanley Clarke and Billy Hart, as Jazz Masters, which is the highest honor bestowed in the world of jazz music.
As a bassist extraordinaire, Clarke became one of the most influential players in modern jazz history. In addition to his impressive solo career, Clarke is a founding member of legendary jazz-rock fusion band Return to Forever, which has helped redefine the sound of jazz over the past 50 years. Band members who joined Clark in Return to Forever include stalwarts Chick Corea, Lenny White and Al Di Meola. Clarke also continued to bend the jazz genre with rock legends Ron Wood and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, as well as violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. As a soloist, Clarke has released three acclaimed albums— Stanley Clark, journey to loveand school days – and in the 1980s he landed the top 20 pop hit, “Sweet Baby”, with George Duke. He has also lent his talents to film and television music with over 75 credits to his name, including the films What’s love got to do with it?, Boyz’n the Hood, Romeo must die, poetic justiceand The carrier. For these achievements, he received the Miles Davis Award, several Downbeat Readers and Critics Poll Awards, Bass Player Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award, Membership Guitar Player Magazine “Gallery of Greats”, three GRAMMYs and a Latin GRAMMY. In 2016, his works became part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, DC.
As one of the most sought after jazz drummers of his generation, Billy Hart recorded an incredible 12 albums under his own name and performed as a sideman on over 600 recordings. His collaborations include collaborations with Shirley Horn, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, Joanne Brackeen, Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery, Pharoah Sanders, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Eddie Harris and Stan Getz, to name a few- one. In 2016 Hart was featured with Germany’s WDR Big Band on the release The larger picture and was honored at the Healdsburg Jazz Festival in California with a compelling retrospective lineup spanning 40 years in his honor. Sharing his legendary skills, he has also expertly mentored budding musicians at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, New England Conservatory of Music, and Western Michigan University.
The historic ceremony, which marks the 40th anniversary of the NEA’s Jazz Masters program, will honor the new inductees with a free concert open to the public on Thursday, March 31, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. PT / 10:30 p.m. ET, with live streaming. live on arts.gov, sfjazz.org and on Facebook. An archive of the webcast will also be available after the event at arts.gov. Up to two tickets per household can be reserved for the free concert in line, at the SFJAZZ Center box office or by phone at 415-788-7353. Please visit the NEA website for more information.
Since its inception, BMI has supported many of jazz’s most important composers. Including this year’s winners, BMI is extremely proud that 97 of the NEA Jazz Masters are affiliated with BMI, including such giants as Miles Davis, Betty Carter, Ron Carter, Percy Heath, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Anita O’ Day and Terri Lyne Carrington. , among others.
Additionally, since 1988, the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, founded by renowned composer/trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, composer/educator Manny Albam, and jazz author and authority Burt Korall, has mentored emerging jazz composers by putting the emphasis on the “big band” (“jazz orchestra” / “large jazz ensemble”) composition. The purpose of the workshop is twofold: to foster the musical growth of individual composers and to create a body of work that helps expand the language of composition for the jazz orchestra. The workshop allows composers to come together, share ideas and learn from each other, at no cost to participate. Workshop members have the opportunity to hear their work performed at monthly reading sessions with the BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra, a 17-piece jazz ensemble. The BMI/NYJO performs at the BMI Summer Showcase Concert, which features works developed in the studio. Also included in the summer concert program are the pieces that have been nominated as finalists in the BMI/Charlie Parker composition competition. The winning composer receives the Manny Albam commission to compose a new work for the concert the following year. Previous winners have included Rufus Reid, Jamie Begian, Noriko Ueda, Darcy J. Argue, Sherisse Rogers, Asuka Kakitani, Jeff Fairbanks and Sara Jacovino.