UCLA Professor Kenny Burrell Among Seven
To Receive Nation’s Highest Jazz Honor
Kenny Burrell, the renowned jazz guitarist and the director of the Jazz Studies Program at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), has been named a 2005 Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Designation as an NEA Jazz Master is the nation’s highest honor in jazz. Burrell is one of seven to be named for 2005. The NEA also honored saxophonist-clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera, composer-arranger Slide Hampton, vocalist Shirley Horn, big-band leader Artie Shaw, organist Jimmy Smith and impresario George Wein.
Burrell’s award was presented during the annual conference of the International Association for Jazz Education in Long Beach, Calif.
Since 1982, the NEA has awarded the title annually to a handful of living figures in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the field of jazz as solo instrumentalists, rhythm instrumentalists, keyboardists, arranger-composers, big band leaders, vocalists or jazz advocates. The award includes a one-time fellowship of $25,000.
“I am delighted and honored to have been considered among the great musicians, both past and present, who have been given this recognition. I am most grateful to all concerned,” Burrell said.
Burrell received a 2004 Jazz Educator of the Year award from Down Beat magazine for academic achievement and excellence in jazz education. A professor in the departments of ethnomusicology and music at UCLA, he is a recognized authority on the music of Duke Ellington. In 1978 at UCLA he developed the first regular college course on Ellington ever taught in the United States. In 1997 he was appointed director of the Jazz Studies Program at UCLA, where he has brought to the faculty such jazz notables as George Bohanon, Billy Childs, Billy Higgins, Harold Land, Bobby Rodriguez and Anthony Wilson.
Burrell has recorded 96 albums under his own name and several hundred with other artists. He has performed and recorded with many of the most influential musicians in jazz history including Ellington, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Oscar Peterson, Tony Bennett, Billie Holiday and Quincy Jones.
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