The National Music Council presented their 35th annual American Eagle Awards to jazz legends Chick Corea and The Manhattan Transfer on Thursday, June 28 at the Summer NAMM Show in Nashville. The American Eagle honors are presented each year in recognition of long-term contributions to American musical culture and heritage, the importance of music education and inspiration for all children, and the need to protect creators’ rights both locally and globally.
“At this year’s event, we are honoring the artists who bring life and imagination to one of our country’s most revered and treasured genres of music – jazz,” said David Sanders, Director of the National Music Council. “The time has come to celebrate the enduring legacies and versatility of Chick Corea and all the members of The Manhattan Transfer. Each has set an extraordinary standard for ongoing contribution to American musical culture and heritage, and will rightly serve as a mentor or role model for aspiring jazz artists for years to come.”
Recognized as one of music’s most influential stylists, Chick Corea has reached iconic status as a keyboardist, composer and bandleader. Corea is a DownBeat Hall of Famer and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, as well as the fourth-most nominated artist in GRAMMY® Awards history with 63 nods – and 22 wins, in addition to a number of Latin GRAMMYs. From straight-ahead to avant-garde, bebop to jazz-rock fusion, children’s songs to chamber and symphonic works, Corea has accessed an impressive repertoire of musical genres in the past fifty years since first performing with several Miles Davis bands in the late ’60s and early ’70s.
Yet Corea has never been more productive than in the 21st century, whether playing acoustic piano or electric keyboards, leading multiple bands, performing solo or collaborating with a “who’s who” of music. Underscoring his long list of accomplishments, he was also named Artist of the Year three times this decade in the DownBeat Readers Poll. The Massachusetts-born musician remains a tireless creative spirit, continually reinventing himself through his art. As The New York Times noted, he is “a luminary, ebullient and eternally youthful.” Long-time friend, Hubert Laws presented Corea with the award.
A cornerstone for great pop and jazz hits, The Manhattan Transfer has built a legacy that began at the time of their very first recording 43 years ago. The legendary quartet of Alan Paul, Cheryl Bentyne, Janis Siegel and the late Tim Hauser, has been awarded 10 GRAMMY Awards of 20 nominations and has been inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of Fame. With sold-out world tours and worldwide record sales in the millions, The Manhattan Transfer continues to bring unique and extraordinary, melodic and jazz-infused vocals to new and established audiences that span generations. With the March 2018 release of The Junction, their extraordinary contribution to American popular music continues. The award was presented by Nashville legend, Dianne Davidson, a long-time friend of the group.
The new American Eagle honorees join a “who’s who” list of cultural giants including Stephen Sondheim, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Clive Davis, Van Cliburn, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Morton Gould, Dave Brubeck, Marian Anderson, Max Roach, Lena Horne, Roy Clark, Elliott Carter, Ervin Drake, Theo Bikel, Roberta Peters, Odetta, Leonard Slatkin, Sesame Street, Hard Rock Café, and VH1’s Save the Music Foundation. In 2017, the NMC also recognized the indelible contributions of songwriter/poet, Patti Smith, country legend Crystal Gale, and comedian, musician and actor, Harry Shearer at the Nashville Summer NAMM Show.
The National Music Council celebrates these great artists in part to highlight the importance of the 5 Musical Rights developed and enumerated in cooperation with the International Music Council. These rights are that all children and adults must have the freedom and ability to: (1) express themselves musically in all freedom; (2) learn musical language and skills; (3) have access to musical involvement through participation, listening, creation and information; (4) develop their artistry and communicate through all media; (5) obtain just recognition and fair remuneration for their work.
About The National Music Council
The US Congressionally-chartered National Music Council is celebrating its 77th year as a forum for the free discussion of this country’s national music affairs and challenges. Founded in 1940 to act as a clearinghouse for the joint opinion and decision of its members and to work to strengthen the importance of music in our lives and culture, the Council’s initial membership of 13 has grown to almost 50 national music organizations, encompassing every important form of professional and commercial musical activity. Through the cooperative work of its member organizations, the National Music Council promotes and supports music and music education as an integral part of the curricula in the schools of our nation, and in the lives of its citizens. The Council provides for the exchange of information and coordination of efforts among its member organizations and speaks with one voice for the music community whenever an authoritative expression of opinion is desirable. www.musiccouncil.org
About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a non-profit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 10,300 members around the world. The NAMM Foundation works to advance active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit http://www.nammfoundation.org.