The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the names of its four Jazz Masters for 2019. One of the recipients of the award, the highest honor that the United States bestows on jazz artists, is my old friend Maria Schneider, whom I have known for more than a quarter of a century.
In addition to writing about Maria many times in this space and elsewhere, I contributed the liner notes to her second album, Coming About, which was originally released in 1996. They were based in part on a profile that I published in The Wall Street Journal two years earlier—the first piece, so far as I know, ever to written about Maria outside the jazz press. In it I said that she was “regarded by a rapidly growing number of insiders as one of the most promising young jazz composers in the world.” Now the whole world knows of her greatness, and I am proud beyond belief to have played a part in bringing her to the attention of the public at large.
To read that piece, go here.