NEA Jazz Masters Honored

George Benson and Belgian musician Toots Thielemans were two of the honorees at the National Endowment For The Arts 2009 Jazz Masters ceremony at NYC’s Rose Theatre Oct. 17.

Thielemans is credited with bringing the harmonica to jazz and is heard on the well-known “Sesame Street” theme song. He is also the first European-born musician and harmonica player named a Jazz Master.

Ten-time Grammy-winner Benson has shown his jazz roots singing and playing in crossover hits like “This Masquerade.”

Also honored were drummer Jimmy Cobb, veteran trumpeter Snooky Young, saxophonist Lee Konitz and recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder.