Charles Lloyd Named NEA Jazz Master

Santa Barbara Composer Awarded Jazz Music's Top Honor

Charles Lloyd
Paul Wellman (file)

Earlier this week, Santa Barbara saxophonist, flautist, and composer Charles Lloyd was named one of the National Endowment of the Arts’ 2014 Jazz Masters. Lloyd was honored alongside three other musicians with what is considered to be the nation’s highest honors in the jazz field.

Lloyd begin playing saxophone at age nine and began learning composition and performance not long after. His interest in jazz was spurred on by traditional legends such as Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Coleman Hawkins, and Charlie Parker. Lloyd, who was born in Memphis, was heavily involved in the Memphis music scene, playing as a sideman for greats such as B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, George Coleman, and others. After high school, Lloyd attended and graduated from the University of Southern California and began a lifetime of ambitious jazz pursuits.

Lloyd said of the jazz art form, “This is a music of freedom and wonder. It uplifts, it inspires, it touches the heart, and it heals. It is transformational. Jazz is our indigenous art form and is constantly evolving while remaining deeply rooted in tradition and nourished by the American terroir. I have been drunk with the pursuit of ‘the sound’ all my life — and have been blessed to stand on the shoulders of those who came before me and gave encouragement — this is also part of the tradition.”

Charles Lloyd and other recipients will be honored at the 2015 Jazz Masters awards ceremony and concert of Jazz at Lincoln Center on Monday, April 20, 2015.

For more on the 2014 NEA honorees, visit


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