According to the National Endowment for the Arts website:
From Keith Jarrett’s profile:
“Although only music excites me, and awards and ceremonies do not, I feel honored to receive this NEA Jazz Masters Award, due to the many players on the list since 1982 that have been influential in my life. I’m honored to be in their company, and am reminded that the true nature of jazz has always relied on the individual players making their mark on the music of the future. Jazz is not dead as long as someone is playing with true inspiration.”
Thanks to Sean for the information!