National Music Council’s 2019 American Eagle Award Honor George Clinton, Vince Guaraldi, and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
The National Music Council honored iconic funk visionary George Clinton, beloved “Peanuts” composer and jazz piano giant Vince Guaraldi, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum at the organization’s 36th annual American Eagle Awards on Thursday, July 18th at the Summer NAMM Show in Nashville. The honors are presented each year in recognition of long-term contributions to American musical culture, the ideal of music education for all children, and the need to protect creators’ rights both locally and internationally. Presenters and performers for the 2019 event included renowned pianist George Winston, country singer/songwriter sensation John Rich, and Grammy award winning songwriter Liz Rose.
Recording under the banners of both Parliament and Funkadelic, George Clinton revolutionized R&B forever during the ’70s, morphing soul music into funk by adding influences from several of his late-’60s progressive rock music heroes: Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and Sly Stone. The Parliament/Funkadelic sound ruled urban music in the following years, capturing over 40 R&B hit singles, including three number ones, and resulting in three platinum albums for Clinton. Through his inspiration, dedication and determination, George Clinton elevated funk to an art form, culminating in its full recognition as a distinct and distinguished musical genre throughout the world.
The musical works of Vince Guaraldi (1928-1976), created as both a composer and recording artist, are among the most beloved in the world. Often cited as a major musical and stylistic influence by jazz legends the likes of Dave Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis, David Benoit, and George Winston, Guaraldi’s jazz masterpiece “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” has remained a standard in the American repertoire since its Grammy-winning debut in 1963. Guaraldi is truly globally revered, however, for the contribution of his musical genius to the works of cartoonist Charles Schulz as an integral part of the “Peanuts/Charlie Brown” holiday specials. There are few places in the world that “Linus and Lucy,” “The Great Pumpkin Waltz,” “Christmastime Is Here,” and many other songs and recordings associated with those masterful programs are not adoringly celebrated, and Guaraldi’s resulting influence on the spread and appreciation of jazz as an international art form has been profound among generations of young listeners. The presentation was one of the rare times that the Council honored an artist posthumously. Vince’s daughter, Dia Guaraldi, accepted the award on behalf of the Guaraldi family.
NMC also honored the legendary Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum with an American Eagle Award for its extraordinary contribution to American culture, not only through the Hall’s preservation and celebration of country music, but also for its amazing contribution to music education in the United States. In the past year alone, the organization welcomed 1.2 million guests to its museum, presented 12 new exhibits, and guided an astounding 1,241 educational programs that provided music-related instruction for nearly 100,000 people of all ages across the nation. Renowned Nashville singer-songwriter Liz Rose presented the award to the organization, joined by songwriting students of the museum’s education program.
This year’s honorees join a “who’s –who” of cultural icons whose careers and works have been previously awarded the American Eagle, including Stephen Sondheim, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Clive Davis, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Morton Gould, Dave Brubeck, Marian Anderson, Max Roach, Lena Horne, Roy Clark, Crystal Gale, Ervin Drake, Theo Bikel, Roberta Peters, Odetta, Patti Smith, and 2018’s honorees, Chick Corea and The Manhattan Transfer.
The evening ceremony took place as part of The Summer NAMM Show at Nashville’s Music City Center. Proceeds from the event support the National Music Council’s music education and creator’s rights advocacy efforts.