Gary Bartz and Terence Blanchard to be Honored as 2024 NEA Jazz Masters

Posted in News on April 1, 2024

BMI is proud to congratulate legendary BMI composers, Gary Bartz and Terence Blanchard, who will be honored as 2024 NEA Jazz Masters, the most prestigious accolade in the jazz community. Once again, BMI is pleased to be partnering with the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) in presenting a webcast of the special online concert in celebration of the 2024 NEA Jazz Masters, which you can watch here on Saturday, April 13.

Baltimore-born saxophonist Gary Bartz is a jazz, jazz fusion and funk musician who has been performing and innovating for over six decades. A Juilliard graduate, Bartz first started establishing himself playing in Charles Mingus’ Jazz Workshop alongside players like Eric Dolphy and McCoy Tyner before joining Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. In 1968, Bartz reconvened with McCoy Tyner in his band, Expansions. By the `70s, Bartz was playing with Miles Davis, appearing with the influential trumpeter at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 and at the Cellar Door in Washington, DC, a performance later immortalized on the Davis’ album, Live-Evil. As a two-time GRAMMY winner and revered bandleader on his own, Bartz has released over 40 solo albums, appeared as a guest artist on more than 200 albums and acted as a versatile sideman for luminaries like Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, Pharoah Sanders, Roy Ayers, Kenny Burrell, Donald Byrd, Woody Shaw, Charles Tolliver and so many more.

Terence Blanchard is a trumpeter, pianist and composer from New Orleans who, beyond his extensive work in the jazz world, has also found renown in the scoring films and operas.  Cutting his teeth as a jazz musician in Lionel Hampton Orchestra in the early `80s, Blanchard went onto join Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers at the recommendation of Wynton Marsalis. Acting as that revered combo’s music director for four years and recorded five albums with them before launching a solo career in 1990, going on to forge a fruitful collaboration with filmmaker Spike Lee, performing on the soundtracks for two of Lee’s films before becoming the acclaimed director’s preferred composer, scoring 17 of his films and three of his television projects. In the field of opera, Blanchard made history as the first Black composer to bring two acclaimed productions, Fire Shut Up in My Bones and Champion, to prestigiously premier at the Metropolitan Opera. Blanchard has more than 33 albums and 50 film scores to his credit, has twice been nominated for Academy Awards, is a sixteen-time GRAMMY nominee and a six-time GRAMMY winner and was named a BMI Icon at the 2019 BMI Film, TV & Visual Media Awards.

This year’s iteration will mark the 42nd anniversary of the NEA Jazz Masters program. New inductees will be celebrated at the free and open-to-the-public concert on Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater at 2700 F Street, NW, Washington, DC, with a livestream at, on Facebook and on this page. An archive of the webcast will also be available following the event at Please visit the NEA website for additional information.

The concert will feature performances by 2024 NEA Jazz Masters Bartz and Blanchard, as well as their fellow inductee Amina Claudine Myers* and the African Rhythms Alumni Quintet, who will be performing the music of inductee, Willard Jenkins.*

From its inception, BMI has supported many of the most important composers in jazz. Including this year’s honorees, BMI is extremely proud that 101 of the NEA Jazz Masters are BMI affiliates, including such giants as Miles Davis, Betty Carter, Ron Carter, Percy Heath, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Anita O’Day, Stanley Clarke, Terri Lyne Carrington and Billy Hart, among others.

In addition, since 1988, the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, founded by acclaimed composer/trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, composer/educator Manny Albam and author and jazz authority Burt Korall, has mentored emerging jazz composers with an emphasis on “big band” (“jazz orchestra”/”large jazz ensemble”) composition. The purpose of the workshop is twofold: to foster the musical growth of the individual composers and to create a body of work that helps to extend the language of composition for the jazz orchestra. The workshop enables composers to come together, share ideas and learn from one another, with no fee for participation. Workshop members have the opportunity to hear their work played in monthly reading sessions with the BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra, a 17-piece jazz ensemble. The BMI/NYJO performs at the BMI Summer Showcase Concert, which features works developed in the workshop. Also included in the summer concert program are the pieces that have been designated as finalists in the BMI/Charlie Parker composition competition. The winning composer receives the Manny Albam Commission to compose a new work for the following year’s concert. Previous winners have included Rufus Reid, Jamie Begian, Noriko Ueda, Darcy J. Argue, Sherisse Rogers, Asuka Kakitani, Jeff Fairbanks, and Sara Jacovino.

*Not affiliated with BMI.



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