When introducing the 2010 National Medal of Arts recipients, President Barrack Obama said the artists “helped inspire me, or get me through a tough day or take risk that I might not otherwise have taken.”
This year’s list of 10 poets, authors, and musicians, who received this country’s highest award for their individual contribution to the creation and production of the arts, included producer Quincy Jones and jazz musician Sonny Rollins.
When presenting the 77-year-old Jones with the medal for his extraordinary contributions to American music, President Obama said, “as a master inventor of musical hybrids, he has mixed pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African, and Brazilian music into many dazzling fusions, traversing virtually every medium, including records, live performances, movies, and television.”
Jones is a multi-Grammy Award winner, who has been in the music industry for half a century. He has worked with a broad range of artists, including Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Will Smith.
Obama touted the 80-year-old Rollins with being “widely recognized as one of the most important and influential jazz musicians of the post bebop era.”
“I’m very happy that jazz, the greatest American music, is being recognized through this honor, and I’m grateful to accept this award on behalf of the gods of our music,” Rollins said on his website, of receiving the award.
Rollins, a Grammy-winning American jazz tenor saxophonist, is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential jazz musicians. A number of his compositions, including "St. Thomas,” "Oleo," "Doxy" and "Airegin,” have become jazz standards.
The National Medal of Arts is a White House initiative managed by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
2010 National Medal of Arts
•Mark di Suvero
•Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival