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August Feature: NEA Jazz Masters

At the end of last month, the National Endowment for the Arts announced the list of 2013 NEA Jazz Masters. Since 1982, this highest jazz honor has been bestowed on some of the greatest living musicians in jazz - among them, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Dave Brubeck, Wayne Shorter, Tony Bennett and Jack DeJohnette. NEA Jazz Masters receive a one-time fellowship award of $25,000, are honored at an awards ceremony, and may participate in a variety NEA-sponsored promotional, performance, and educational activities. The 2013 nominees again illustrate the diversity and distinctive 'voices' that are the hallmarks of great jazz. Throughout August, Night Train features music from the 2013 NEA Jazz Masters, as both leaders and guests, and from the rich array of live recordings that have come from the Village Vanguard. More on the NEA Jazz Masters program and the 2013 honorees here.

Mose Allison - pianist, singer and songwriter with a mastery of both blues and jazz and a unique and often acerbic bent to his songs. He emerged as a leader in the late '50s and has released albums in every decade since.

Mose Allison with a live version of his classic, Your Mind Is On Vacation


Lou Donaldson - pioneering hard bop and soul jazz saxophonist who has worked with a who's who of jazz over the years, including Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Clifford Brown, Jimmy Smith, Dr. Lonnie Smith and more.  Lou Donaldson also possesses what is now something of a rarity in jazz, a hit record, with his 1967 release, Alligator Boogaloo.

Lou Donaldson with a live version of the standard, Laura


Eddie Palmieri - known for both his dynamic piano playing and innovations to Latin jazz, Palmieri first made his mark with his innovative La Perfecta orchestra that added new instrumentation and influences to Latin jazz and salsa. He has recorded nearly 40 albums and won nine Grammys.

Eddie Palmieri with the Fania All Stars in a live performance of his classic composition, Vamonos Pa'l


Lorraine Gordon - this year's "Jazz Advocacy" honoree is the owner of the Village Vanguard, the acclaimed jazz club that has also been the site from some of the most highly regarded live recordings in jazz. Among the artists who have done live albums at the Vanguard are Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Art Blakey, Sun Ra, Joshua Redman and, one of the few artists invited to play solo at the Vanguard, Fred Hersch.

The early years of the Village Vanguard


Monday night residents at the Village Vanguard, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra


Chris Heim produces and hosts Global Village, a nationally and internationally distributed world music show; the nightly jazz show Night Train, and Crossroads, KMUW’s twice-weekly blues and R&B show. Chris is also a critic and freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Utne, Global Rhythm, Dirty Linen, and Option, among others.