Jazz bassist Richard Davis (pictured) has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Masters Fellowship at the Lincoln Center, New York. He received the award on 13 January, at an event hosted by journalist Soledad O’Brien and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.
The Fellowship is awarded annually to an American jazz musician who has helped to advance the genre. Davis entered the New York jazz scene in 1954 and went on to perform with the likes of Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Igor Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein. In 1977 he returned to his hometown of Chicago to teach classical and jazz bass, jazz history and improvisation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, where he remains today. He set up the Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists in 1993, to help train young talent, and in 1988 founded the Retention Action Project to promote intercultural understanding on campus.
Others honoured by the NEA this year are pianist Keith Jarrett, and saxophonists Jamey Aebersold and Anthony Braxton. Past recipients of the award include singer Ella Fitzgerald, trumpeter John Birks ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie and keyboard player Herbie Hancock.