Photographer Sánta István Csaba flew from Budapest to attend the NEA’s 2014 Jazz Masters awards ceremony, and here are some of his fresh images.
I’m reporting about the event for Down Beat, so must reserve most of my comments prior to publication. The entire three-hour event can be watched at the NEA’s website.
However, many controversies could arise from the program. The most notable within the Allen Room itself as the evening unfolded concerned new Jazz Master Anthony Braxton’s 40+ minute peroration. I’ve followed Braxton’s music for more than 40 years, and wonder what else than a long, spirited, self-referential improvised speech one could expect from a musician whose first record release, For Alto, was a two-LP set of solo sax improvisations? If a stage manager had wanted Braxton to conclude, co-MC Soledad O’Brien could have easily been asked to step up and help Braxton offstage. But the producer’s advance message to each Master receiving their Award was: “It’s your show . . .”
Prior to the program that was streamed, many formerly inducted Jazz Masters participated in a group photo:
It was more fun to meet the Masters up close and personal –
Music highlights included a beautiful rendition of the late Master Frank Wess’ composition “Placidtude” —
Joe Lovano and young musicians drawn from JALC circles performed “Blue Bossa” by the late Jazz Master Kenny Dorham —
Jimmy Heath and Melissa Aldana, winner of the 2013 Thelonious Monk saxophone competition, ended the event with Heath’s “New Picture” —
Wynton Marsalis, Jazz Master and JALC managing/artistic director, co-hosted the program –