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March 21, 2006

April is Jazz Appreciation Month in America

Written by
cindy mcleod

jazz news

April is Jazz Appreciation Month in America

Jazz music and history recognized with a month of special events

The Smithsonian Institution’s fifth annual Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) runs through April, celebrating the extraordinary history of jazz and its importance in North American culture. Throughout the month a series of concerts, lectures, films, and other programs are designed to encourage people of all ages to attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, study the music, and support institutional jazz programs.

The Smithsonian operates the world’s most comprehensive set of jazz programs—including exhibitions, publications and recordings, concerts, workshops, master classes, lectures, symposia, and fellowships for research in jazz. The Museum collects jazz artifacts, documents, recordings, and oral histories, and sponsors the Institution’s own big band, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. Launched at the Museum in April 2002, JAM added to the Smithsonian Institution’s 30-year record of leadership in jazz.

Highlights include two concerts by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the first “From Harlem to Hollywood: Ella Fitzgerald”, and the second, which highlights the music of Oliver Nelson and Quincy Jones. There will be a performance of Latin jazz and hip-hop sounds by Jazz Sabrosan and Opus Okoben; five concerts by U.S. military bands; and a day of swing dancing, in collaboration with the Washington, D.C., Lindy Exchange.

Additional programs feature three lectures; the Claude Thornhill Orchestra; musician Miles Davis; and Latin jazz percussion. A “Looking American” presentation exhibits textile and clothing objects collected in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and materials associated with the New Orleans jazz scene. A poetry workshop is scheduled, and an evening panel discussion at the Smithsonian Museum.

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation recently debuted “Prototype Online” a twice-monthly podcast series featuring inventors and innovators. The April episodes will focus on jazz, and highlight the inventiveness of jazz musicians and composers. The podcasts can be downloaded from invention.smithsonian.org or iTunes and listened to on computers or mp3 players.

From its extensive collections, the Archives Center will display objects that focus on jazz and the radio. Selected new acquisitions from Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk will be on view in addition to permanent presentations on Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.

For more information and a list of events visit www.americanhistory.si.edu

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