George Benson Named NEA Jazz Master

Benson_George_2008A.jpgCongratulations to 10-time Grammy Award-winning singer, composer and guitarist George Benson, who has been selected by the National Endowment for the Arts, or NEA, as one of the newest Jazz Masters, the nation's highest Jazz honor.

The NEA recognized Benson as a distinguished artist whose excellence, impact, and significant contributions have helped to keep the important tradition of jazz alive. Specifically, the NEA remarked that Benson created the innovative practice of playing a florid guitar melody accompanied by an identical, scatted vocal line.

Also announced as 2009 NEA Jazz Masters were Jimmy Cobb, Lee Konitz, Toots Thielemans, Snooky Young and Rudy Van Gelder. The six recipients will each receive a $25,000 grant award. The Oct. 17 presentation of the 2009 NEA Jazz Masters Award will take place at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York.