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National Endowment for the Arts Names Terri Lyne Carrington Among 2021 NEA Jazz Masters

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Terri Lyne Carrington (Photo Credit: John Watson)

*Three-time Grammy Award-winning jazz musician and composer Terri Lyne Carrington has been named a 2021 NEA Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C.  The National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Fellowship is the nation’s highest honor in jazz.

“I am so honored to receive this prestigious award, along with so many heroes, mentors, and of course, masters of the music,” says Carrington. “I will continue my work in furthering the music, and in teaching, mentoring, and advocating for the generations behind me. I am grateful for this incredible recognition, as it will truly remain inspiring through my journey in jazz.”

Terri Lyne Carrington has remained a powerhouse drummer in jazz for four decades and has now vigorously turned her attention over the last 15 years to empowering the next generation. With outstanding versatility, she excels as a composer, bandleader, producer, and educator. Along with Carrington, the NEA will also honor fellow musicians Albert “Tootie” Heath, Henry Threadgill, and arts advocate Phil Schaap for their contributions to the advancement of the art form.

In addition to receiving a $25,000 award, the 2021 NEA Jazz Masters will be honored through a tribute concert, which due to COVID-19 will be available in an online-only broadcast on April 22, 2021. The National Endowment for the Arts will again collaborate with SFJAZZ on this virtual event, which will be free to watch, and no registration or tickets are required. More information will be available in early 2021.

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From a child prodigy to a world-class musician, her current album, Waiting Game, with Social Science, a collaboration with Aaron Parks and Matthew Stevens, boasted a triple-crown win in Downbeat magazine’s International Critics Poll for Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Group of the Year, making her the first woman instrumentalist to concurrently win in all three categories in the 68-year history of the magazine. Carrington is not new to breaking barriers; she was also the first woman to receive a Grammy Award in the Jazz Instrumental category.

Carrington has received honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music and Berklee College of Music, where she currently serves as the founder and Artistic Director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. The Institute recruits, teaches, mentors, and advocates for musicians seeking to study jazz with gender justice and racial justice as guiding principles, and asks the important question, “What would jazz sound like in a culture without patriarchy?” She also serves as Artistic Director for Berklee’s Summer Jazz Workshop, and Artistic Director of The Carr Center in Detroit, MI. In 2019, Carrington was granted the prestigious Doris Duke Artist Award in recognition of her past and ongoing contributions to jazz music.

Terri Lyne Carrington started her professional career in Massachusetts at 10 years old when she became the youngest person to receive a union card in Boston. She was featured as a “kid wonder” in many publications and on local and national TV shows. After studying under a full scholarship at Berklee College of Music, Carrington worked as an in-demand musician in New York City and later moved to Los Angeles, where she gained recognition on late-night TV as the house drummer for both “The Arsenio Hall Show” and Quincy Jones’ “VIBE TV” show, hosted by Sinbad.

To date, Carrington has performed on more than 100 recordings and has been a role model and advocate for young women and men internationally through her teaching and touring careers. She has worked extensively with jazz giants and legends including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Stan Getz, Woody Shaw, Clark Terry, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, James Moody, Joe Sample, Esperanza Spalding, and many more.

ABOUT THE NEA JAZZ MASTERS
Since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded 161 fellowships to great figures in jazz, including Ella Fitzgerald, Sonny Rollins, Dianne Reeves, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, and George Wein. The Arts Endowment’s website features resources and content about the NEA Jazz Masters, including archived concerts, video tributes, podcasts, and more than 350 NEA Jazz Moments audio clips. The National Endowment for the Arts has also supported the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program, an effort to document the lives and careers of nearly 100 NEA Jazz Masters.

Nominate an NEA Jazz Master: NEA Jazz Masters Fellows are nominated by the public, including the jazz community. Nominations are judged by an advisory panel of jazz experts, including administrators, performers, producers, and a knowledgeable layperson. The panel’s recommendations are reviewed by the National Council on the

Arts, which sends its recommendations to the chairman, who makes the final decision. The Arts Endowment encourages nominations of a broad range of individuals who have been significant to the field of jazz, through vocals, instrumental performance, creative leadership, and education. NEA Jazz Masters Fellowships are up to $25,000 and can be received once in a lifetime. Visit the Arts Endowment’s website for detailed information and to submit nominations. The next deadline is October 30, 2020.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support give Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

 

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Arts

Tina Mabry, Gina Prince-Bythewood to Adapt Novel ‘The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat’ (Video)

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Tina Mabry and Gina Prince-Bythewood

*Variety reports that Tina Mabry and Gina Prince-Bythewood are set to adapt the NY Times best-selling novel “The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat” for Searchlight Pictures. Mabry will direct from an original script by Prince-Bythewood.

Edward Kelsey Moore’s debut “Supremes” novel follows best friends Odette, Barbara Jean and Clarice, who consider Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat diner a “home away from home” in their Indiana town. According to a synopsis, the trio (known as “The Supremes”) has “weathered life’s storms together for decades through marriage and children, happiness and the blues. Now, they will have to rely on their strong bond to survive their most challenging year yet as race, heartbreak and illness stir up the past and threaten to destroy their friendship.”

According to Variety, Mabry and Prince-Bythewood first teased plans for a collaboration while reflecting on their mentor-mentee relationship during an alumni spotlight interview for Slamdance.

“It is an adaptation that I wrote. But I knew I wasn’t going to be able to direct and the question came up, ‘Who should direct it? And who do you trust?’” Prince-Bythewood said during the conversation. “I have an extremely tiny list, but you [Tina] were right at the top. But, you know, it’s one thing for me to say, ‘I think this woman can do it,’ but you had to go in and knock out that meeting, which you did. I mean, I heard you made them cry.”

Below, Moore reveals what inspired the friendship, hardship and bravery of the three Black women in the story:

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Former MLBer Micah Johnson Wants His Paintings to Inspire Black Kids (Watch)

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Micah Johnson (MLB.com)

*Micah Johnson, a former second baseman and outfielder for the White Sox, Dodgers, Braves and Rays, has indulged in his longtime passion and is now a professional artist of critically acclaimed and highly sought-after fine art paintings.

His latest work, which opened at Art Angels over the summer, was inspired by an overheard question posed by his nephew: “Mom, can astronauts be Black?”

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Per MLB.com’s Michael Clair:

Many of his paintings feature real subjects wearing an astronaut’s helmet, while they paint or draw or learn the cello or simply play hopscotch. The helmet represents the dreams Black kids have and the opportunities that are hopefully open to them. He uses colors and images that children can relate to. He wants Black children to see themselves in a fine art world that is historically dominated by white artists and subjects.

“My whole mission is to inspire children,” Johnson told MLB.com. “But I try to have that looseness to it. And that’s just how I am. I work a lot with just my hands. Sometimes I don’t even have a paintbrush in my studio. I try to do these really bold lines and have that perfect blend of whitespace and also color. That’s how I’d define my style now.”

“If I try to really, really focus on the eyes, make the viewer feel this connection — and if they feel that connection — then maybe it will change their perspective on something,” Johnson said.

“In the beginning, it was all inspired by my nephews because I just wanted to inspire them. And that’s how my approach is — I tried to focus on inspiring one person,” Johnson said. “So, a lot of my subjects are real subjects. And I think that’s a message for everybody else — just focus on impacting one person and you’ll really impact the world. So, for me, it’s my nephews, and they’re young, and maybe when they grow up, and they start looking at this, maybe they’ll feel inspired.”

The theme is present in his most recent work, “sä-v(ə-)rən-tē” (pronounced sovereignty), but the presentation is drastically different from anything Johnson has done before.

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Micah Johnson piece “sä-v(ə-)rən-tē”

This piece is a digital artwork available to view on Apple TV or on a billboard at 901 W. Olympic Blvd. in Los Angeles from Dec. 7 through Jan. 10. It features two young children (Jacque, 8, and Rayden, 7), who have experienced tragedy in their lives staring at a closed door in a field, with an astronaut standing on the other side.

Unlike a painting, viewers can watch “sä-v(ə-)rən-tē” change in real time. The light shifts from day to night and with each passing year, the door will swing open a little wider, giving Jacque and Rayden a wider glimpse at the astronaut who awaits them on the other side of the door. A QR code connected to a bitcoin wallet also appears on the children’s birthdays, allowing viewers to donate directly to them.

Watch a trailer for sä-v(ə-)rən-tē below:

Watch a July 2020, CBS Los Angeles report on Johnson below:

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Her Rolled Up Sleeves Represent the Work to Be Done: Illustrator Kadir Nelson on His Inspiring New Yorker Cover ‘Election Results’ (Video)

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The New Yorker, Nov. 23, 2020 issue. Cover illustrated by Kadir Nelson

*Illustrator Kadir Nelson talks about capturing some semblance of hope in his new cover for The New Yorker’s Nov. 23 issue.

The image shows a young girl of color – a blue flower in her natural hair – holding an American flag and looking forward with a smile brimming with confidence. The image appears to honor both the generations of young Black girls who now see themselves in the nation’s first female and African American vice president, Kamala Harris, and the untold legions of Black women whose political activism was the sling-shot that got Harris and President-elect Joe Biden into the nation’s highest office.

“What’s most important is communicating the feeling behind the image, and, in this instance, less is more, Nelson says in an interview with The New Yorker about the image. “The sole figure forces the viewer to focus on the idea that I’m trying to convey. That idea is about hope and promise, but it’s also about work—the work it took to achieve the results of this election, and the work we’ll have to do in the months and years to come. The blue iris flower in the girl’s hair represents hope, and her rolled-up sleeves gesture to the work that needs to be done.”

“I hope the world will safely open up once again after the pandemic has passed,” he continues. “I hope for certainty and finality with our recent election and for a peaceful transition. And I hope that young girls around the country and the world will learn and accept that there are no barriers they can’t overcome. Sometimes all we need to know is that what we want to achieve is possible.”

Nelson is known for painting African-American icons who have inspired him, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., baseball star Jackie Robinson and Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm.

Below is a CBS News interview with Nelson from April 2020 about his work offering inspiration during this pandemic-filled election year.

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