The National Music Council honored jazz legends Chick Corea and The Manhattan Transfer at the organization’s 35th annual American Eagle Awards

Nashville, TN – The National Music Council honored jazz legends Chick Corea and The Manhattan Transfer at the organization’s 35th annual American Eagle Awards on Thursday, June 28 at the Summer NAMM Show in Nashville. The 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.

NMC Director Dr. David Sanders hosted the event, and praised the honorees for setting an extraordinary standard for ongoing contribution to American musical culture and heritage, and for serving as mentors and role models to aspiring jazz artists. The evening opened with a performance by the Nashville School of the Arts jazz ensemble Swing Thing under the direction of James Satterwhite, who reminded the audience of why access to music education for all students is so vital.

Nashville Singer/Songwriter Dianne Davidson performed an emotional musical tribute to The Manhattan Transfer before presenting TMT members Janis Siegel, Alan Paul, and Cheryl Bentyne with the first award. Davidson was responsible for introducing late Manhattan Transfer founder Tim Hauser to Janis Siegel, forming the iteration of the group that created their great success and earned them ten Grammy Awards. Hauser died in 2014.

Internationally renowned flutist Hubert Laws presented Chick Corea’s award, citing Corea’s great contribution to the art of improvisation and an inspiration to himself and musicians all over the world.

In accepting the award, Corea expressed the joy he gets from inspiring young musicians, before stepping over to the piano and performing a solo rendition of Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me.” Corea then surprised the large audience by calling the up The Manhattan Transfer and Hubert Laws to join him for a spontaneous, improvised rendition of Gershwin’s “Summertime”, which brought down the house.

The 2018 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; (2) learn musical language and skills; (3) have access to musical performances both as participants and listeners; (4) have reasonable access to communicate their musical artistry to the public including through electronic media, and (5) receive accurate attribution, earned recognition and fair remuneration for the popularity of their musical works.

For photo and video highlights of the awards, click here.