I was unaware until yesterday that a Jazz Hall of Fame existed, and was astounded to learn that it just opened last year. I am thrilled to see that the giants of the art form are being recognized with their own Hall of Fame, even if belatedly.
NEW YORK (AP) – Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman head this year’s class of 12 inductees to the Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame, which opened last fall at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s new home in the Time Warner Center.
The other 2005 inductees, announced Monday, include trumpeter Roy Eldridge, pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines, alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Basie band drummer Jo “Papa Jo” Jones, bassist-bandleader-composer Charles Mingus, cornetist Joe “King” Oliver, who brought Louis Armstrong north to Chicago from New Orleans in 1922, and Thomas “Fats” Waller, the stride pianist and singer who wrote hit tunes such as “Ain’t Misbehavin” and “Honeysuckle Rose.”
Pioneering bebop drummer Max Roach and tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins became the first living inductees. The Jazz Hall of Fame is named after the Turkish-born Ertegun, who played a key role in developing the catalog of jazz, R&B and rock albums at Atlantic Records, the label founded by his brother Ahmet.
The inductees were chosen by a 58-member panel of jazz musicians, educators and scholars from 17 countries.
An induction ceremony will be held Sept. 8 at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center.
“These great jazz musicians set new standards for instrumental and vocal performance in the 20th century,” said trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, JALC’s artistic director, in a statement. “Their work stands as a testament to the creative power of jazz.”
Last year’s inaugural inductees:
Jelly Roll Morton
With only 26 brilliant artists in the Jazz Hall of Fame, there are obviously a great many glaring omissions. And at 12-14 inductees annually, it will take decades for the artists to be properly represented. However, I find the list of first-year inductees to be nearly flawless – if I had the chance, there is not an individual I would remove to replace with someone else.
For this year’s inductees, I might have chosen some more famous artists (it is the hall of FAME, after all) such as Charlie Christian, Sarah Vaughan, Wes Montgomery, or Glenn Miller instead of some that went in, but since they were chosen by “a 58-member panel of jazz musicians, educators and scholars” who I presume know much more about the art of Jazz than I do, I can’t quibble too much.
One would think that George and Ira Gershwin would qualify for induction, if the Hall is not limited to performers only.
I very much look forward to seeing future inductees, and would find it fascinating to visit the Hall once a larger group of musicians has been inducted.