America's first family of jazz can now claim the nation's highest jazz honor.
The National Endowment for the Arts announced Thursday that the Marsalis family is among its 2011 Jazz Masters Award recipients.
It's the first time in the program's 29-year history that the NEA is presenting a group award. The Marsalis family includes patriarch Ellis, a pianist and educator, and his four sons: trumpeter Wynton, saxophonist Branford, trombonist Delfeayo, and percussionist Jason.
The other 2011 Jazz Masters are flutist Hubert Laws, saxophonist David Liebman, composer and arranger Johnny Mandel, and record producer and author Orrin Keepnews.
The awards ceremony will be held in January in New York at Jazz at Lincoln Center.