During the month of April the museum will spotlight the history and music of jazz through concerts, film programs, poetry readings, and displays. "Few things are more all-American than jazz," said Brent D. Glass director of the National Museum of American History. "As the nation’s history museum we want to raise public awareness of jazz as one of America's cultural treasures and we hope that JAM will continue to nourish the growing appetite for jazz."
JAM events in 30 states and 10 countries are listed on the official Web site www.smithsonianjazz.org together with a comprehensive directory of jazz societies in every state and over 100 suggestions for celebrating jazz. The museum has distributed 125,000 copies of the JAM 2003 poster, depicting Billie Holiday, to educators, musicians, and cultural organizations nationwide. U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige is voicing his support for the celebration with a letter addressed to every school district in the country encouraging them to participate in JAM.
The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the museum’s acclaimed 18-member big band, conducted by David Baker, will celebrate JAM with a birthday tribute to cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, in addition to sponsoring other jazz bands from across the country and hosting the 16th Annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. The museum will also display new acquisitions from the collections of trumpeter Doc Cheatham, dancer Jeni LeGon and bandleader-composers Horace and Fletcher Henderson.
JAM, the museum joins with a diverse group of 20 organizations, institutions, associations and federal agencies that have provided financial and in-kind support, as well as organizing programs and outreach of their own. "That so many organizations at both the national and local level have joined in celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month is very gratifying and bodes well for the spread of this idea in future years," said the museum’s Curator of American Music, John Edward Hasse.
The Smithsonian operates the world’s most comprehensive set of jazz programs. The National Museum of American History is home to a jazz archive that includes 100,000 pages of Ellington’s unpublished music, and prized artifacts such as Ella Fitzgerald’s famous red dress, Dizzy Gillespie’s angled trumpet, Benny Goodman’s clarinet, Tito Puente’s timbales, and Louis Armstrong’s first cornet.
The museum, located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Admission is free. Call visitor information at (202) 357-2700 or visit our Web site at http://americanhistory.si.edu. For current information on all JAM programs and events, please visit the website below.