Pianist Ramsey Lewis will host the concert; vocalist Nancy Wilson, a 2004 Jazz Master, and pianist Billy Taylor, a 1988 Jazz Master, will serve as presenters. Performers include Gerald Wilson, Geri Allen, James Moody, Chico Hamilton, and Dee Dee Bridgewater.
The NEA Jazz Masters Award is the nation's highest honor for jazz musicians. Winners receive a $25,000 fellowship and participate in tours and other educational and outreach efforts. The 2005 honorees, announced in November, are guitarist Kenny Burrell, clarinetist/saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera, arranger/composer Slide Hampton, vocalist Shirley Horn, big-band leader Artie Shaw, organist Jimmy Smith, and jazz impressario George Wein, the creator of the Newport Jazz Festival.