Betty Carter, Fletcher Henderson, Elvin Jones, and Wes Montgomery were the newest members inducted into Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame (EJHF) yesterday. Through generous support from the Dalio Foundation, and in collaboration with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, Jazz at Lincoln Center produced the induction ceremony at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, located in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, in New York, New York. The induction ceremony was webcast live for free to a global audience.
The EJHF honors legendary artists or members of the jazz community based on their singular dedication and outstanding contribution to jazz. This year’s inductees were nominated by a committee of select musicians and scholars, and then voted in by jazz fans around the world from January 31 through February 14, 2014. To date, Jazz at Lincoln Center has inducted 45 members into the EJHF and will continue to induct new members annually.
Robert J. Appel, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, opened the induction ceremony by welcoming guests from the stage. “We cannot speak about outstanding contributions to the music without recognizing the Ertegun family’s passionate advocacy on behalf of the music,” Mr. Appel said. He thanked fellow board member Mica Ertegun and her late husband, Ahmet Ertegun, for their tireless support and steadfast dedication to the mission of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Mr. Appel also recognized the Dalio Foundation for its continued support. “The foundation’s generosity in support of the Hall of Fame has made today’s induction ceremony possible,” he said.
Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Managing and Artistic Director, Wynton Marsalis, addressed the audience and acknowledged the EJHF nominating committee “who graciously donated their time and energy” throughout the selection process. The committee includes Ed Berger, Bill Charlap, Connie Crothers, Aaron Diehl, Jon Faddis, Vince Giordano, Ethan Iverson, Wynton Marsalis, Renee Rosnes, Dr. Ellen Rowe, Phil Schaap, and Loren Schoenberg.
At yesterday’s induction ceremony, each inductee was honored with a video montage and a performance by special guest artists and the EJHF Induction Ceremony’s house band featuring Chris Pattishall, Yasushi Nakamura, and Billy Drummond.
Accepting the award on behalf of the Betty Carter Estate was Ms. Carter’s son, Myles Redding. Mr. Redding said, “I’d like to say what I think my mother would say: ‘Thank you.’” The house band and Charenee Wade then performed “Tight,” Ms. Carter’s classic composition.
Accepting the award in memory of Fletcher Henderson was Vince Giordano. In his remarks, Mr. Giordano acknowledged Mr. Henderson’s many achievements which included bringing Louis Armstrong to New York City. The band, Benny Benack III, and Godwin Louis took to the stage to perform “Henderson Stomp.”
Accepting the award in memory of Elvin Jones was his longtime friend and collaborator, Gene Perla, who said Mr. Jones was “dedicated to doing something musically that hadn’t been done before.” He then removed his jacket to unveil a tee shirt that read “Elvin” on the front and “Elvin Jones Group” on the back. Mr. Perla said he has kept the shirt since a tour with Mr. Jones many years ago. The house band then performed Frank Foster’s “Simone,” featuring Billy Drummond.
Accepting the award on behalf of Wes Montgomery’s estate was Robert Montgomery, Mr. Montgomery’s son. Mr. Montgomery said his father was a “meek, compassionate, loving, and caring human being,” traits which he transferred to the guitar. Russell Malone and the band then performed Mr. Montgomery’s composition, “Road Song.”
Jazz at Lincoln Center board members in attendance were Shahara Ahmad-Llewellyn, Robert J. Appel, Gordon Davis, Wynton Marsalis, Mark Rosenthal, and Barry Schwartz. In addition to the honorees’ families and representatives, Stanley Crouch, Mercedes Ellington, Jon Faddis, Sammy Miller, Linda Oh, Larry Ridley, Phil Schaap, Loren Schoenberg, and Bria Skonberg were in attendance.