A Lehigh Valley native is picking up a national award for his jazz piano performances and compositions.
Pianist Keith Jarrett says "only music excites me, and awards and ceremonies do not." But the pianist says he feels honoured to receive the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award, joining many past recipients who've influenced him.
The NEA announced Thursday that its 2014 Jazz Masters — the nation's highest jazz honour — also include avant-garde saxophonist-composer Anthony Braxton, bassist-educator Richard Davis, and educator Jamey Aebersold.
Jarrett was cited by the NEA for his work in both the jazz and classical fields. His latest release, "Somewhere," marks the 30th anniversary of his trio with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette. His recording of J.S. Bach's "Six Sonatas for Violin and Keyboard" with violinist Michelle Makarski is due out in September.
Jarrett was born in Allentown and graduated in 1962 from Emmaus High School.
He currently lives in Oxford, Warren Co., N.J.