George Clinton I Photo by Randy Hannan

American Eagle Awards
to Honor George Clinton,
Vince Guaraldi

The National Music Council will honor iconic funk visionary George Clinton and beloved Peanuts composer and jazz piano giant Vince Guaraldi at the organization's 36th annual American Eagle Awards Thursday, July 18, at 5:30 p.m. The honors are presented each year in recognition of long-term contributions to American musical culture.

Recording under the banners of both Parliament and Funkadelic, Clinton revolutionized rhythm and blues 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, 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.

This year's honorees will 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 Manhattan Transfer.

The evening ceremony is open to industry members and Summer NAMM attendees. Tickets for this event are also available to the general public. Presenters and performers for the event will include renowned pianist George Winston and country singer-songwriter sensation, John Rich. Proceeds from the event support the National Music Council's music education advocacy efforts.