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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month in April! :: eJazzNews.com : The Number One Jazz News Resource On The Net :: Jazz News Daily

Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month in April! :: eJazzNews.com : The Number One Jazz News Resource On The Net :: Jazz News Daily Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month in April!
Posted by: editoron Monday, April 03, 2006 - 10:42 PM
Jazz News Contributed by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor
"I can only hope that one day America will recognize that our indigenous music - jazz - is the heart and soul of all popular music, and that we cannot afford to let its legacy slip into obscurity," said Jones. "The creating of Jazz Appreciation Month is a step towards honoring that legacy." – Quincy Jones

The 5th annual celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month is underway! April 2002 marked the first observance of “Jazz Appreciation Month,” a celebration of American’s indigenous music established through the sponsorship of the Smithsonian Institution. Intended to draw public attention to jazz—both as an historical and living art form--Jazz Appreciation Month (or JAM) seeks to encourage musicians, concert halls, schools, colleges, museums, libraries, and public broadcasters to offer special programs on jazz every April. In particular, the founders of JAM hope to focus public attention on the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz and its importance to American culture. In addition, JAM is intended to encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz—by studying the music, attending concerts, listening to jazz on radio and recordings, reading books about jazz, and supporting institutional jazz programs. Through JAM, the jazz community promotes efforts to influence the public image of jazz as serious music, as well as demonstrating that jazz can be enjoyable and fun!

The Smithsonian is a natural organization to oversee JAM. A leader in promoting and providing jazz for thirty years, the Smithsonian operates the world’s most comprehensive set of jazz programs–it collects jazz artifacts, documents, recordings, and oral histories; curates exhibitions and traveling exhibits; operates its own big band, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra; publishes books and recordings on jazz; offers fellowships for research in its collections; and offers concerts, educational workshops, master classes, lectures, seminars, and symposia. The National Museum of American History includes more than 100 oral histories of musicians, composers and others, and 100,000 pages of Duke Ellington's unpublished music, as well as Ella Fitzgerald's famous red dress, Dizzy Gillespie's angled trumpet, and Benny Goodman's clarinet.

Adding support for JAM, on August 18, 2003, President George W. Bush signed Public Law 108-72, legislation that strongly endorsed jazz and urges “musicians, schools, colleges, libraries, concert halls, museums, radio and television stations, and other organizations should develop programs to explore, perpetuate, and honor jazz as a national and world treasure.”



April was selected for JAM as schools are still in session, and further, a number of jazz legends were born in April--Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Smith, Johnny Dodds, Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, Gerry Mulligan, Shorty Rogers, Tito Puente, and Herbie Hancock. At a press conference in July 2001, producer-musician Quincy Jones helped announce the first JAM on behalf of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Branford Marsalis helped kick off the first JAM the following spring, along with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the museum’s acclaimed 18-member big band. The first celebration included lectures, educational programs, and an exhibition. Joining the Smithsonian as sponsoring organizations were The Department of State, along with the U.S. Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Association for Music Education, the International Association of Jazz Educators, and the Grammy Foundation.

"Jazz is a vital part of America, and as a nation's history museum we want to raise public awareness of jazz as one of America's cultural treasures," said Spencer Crew, director of the National Museum of American History. "We hope JAM will continue to nourish the growing appetite for jazz."

In a special ceremony launching the 2006 celebration, the families of Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk donated objects and manuscripts from the legendary careers of these jazz pioneers, and photographer Herman Leonard donated jazz photographs to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Donations from the Davis family include a Versace suit that Davis wore during the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in 1991; a sheaf of parts for “Summertime,” arranged for Davis by Gil Evans based on George Gershwin’s “Porgy & Bess”; and an electronic wind instrument (EWI) used by Davis. Donations from the Monk family include one of Monk’s iconic skull caps; a handwritten manuscript for “Four in One” (first recorded in 1951); and a jacket, vest and ties worn by Monk. Leonard, who lost many prints in the flooding following Hurricane Katrina, donated 20 black-and-white photographs, including images of Louis Armstrong, Holiday, Gillespie, Lena Horne and Tony Bennett. The new items will be part of a special display at the museum, “ Miles & Monk: New Jazz Acquisitions,” which opened on March 30th.

Any organization can participate in Jazz Appreciation Month. To assist teachers, librarians, and others in celebrating JAM, the Museum has published a series of posters and the brochure “How to Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month,” available on the JAM website at www.smithsonianjazz.org. Further, any nonprofit organization can use the JAM logo, available at ftp://160.111.16.40/pub/jam/.

JAM Poster and Events

The 2006 Jazz Appreciation Month poster features Duke Ellington, designed by American artist LeRoy Neiman. Best known for his portraits of sports and entertainment figures, Neiman maintains a lively interest in jazz. The Museum has produced 250,000 of the posters, which are being distributed free of charge to schools, educators, librarians, radio stations, performing arts presenters, US embassies and consulates around the world, members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and others. To request a poster or posters, write jazz@si.edu . The poster is also available for download at < www.smithsonianjazz.org/jam/jam_start.asp.

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