February 4, 2002
Replace Recession With Pizazz During April As America Celebrates Jazz Appreciation Month
NEW YORK—February 4, 2002—April is the month for America’s businesses to get all jazzed up. It’s the first annual national Jazz Appreciation Month, a project launched by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.
Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM, for short) is sponsored as a public service by music industry entities including BMI and the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation and backed by a group of hefty partners including the National Endowment for the Arts, the U.S. Department of Education, MENC: The National Association for Music Education, the International Association of Jazz Educators, the Grammy Foundation and the U.S. Department of State.
“Embracing a jazz theme during the month would be a wonderful way for businesses to add excitement to their ambiance,” said Frances W. Preston, President and CEO of BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.). “Americans cherish the symbols of our nation more than ever, and jazz is the unique music of the American people.”
Other organizations, including schools, colleges, concert halls, libraries and broadcasters, are marking the month with programs of their own. John Edward Hasse, curator of American music at the National Museum of American History, said, “Every April, I’d love to see the country riff, swing, boogie and bop to the syncopated strains of jazz. Jazz is a great national treasure - arguably our greatest cultural export to the rest of the world and one of the things that future centuries will judge best about America in the 20th century.”
Hasse said BMI’s sponsorship is especially treasured because the 60-year-old performing rights organization represents an honor roll of American jazz legends including Lionel Hampton, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Charlie Mingus and George Russell. Hasse added, “BMI’s continued support of jazz is displayed through its partnership with today’s most respected jazz creators including Kevin Eubanks, Pat Metheny, Al Jarreau, Chick Corea, Bela Fleck, Joshua Redman, and Mark Whitfield.”
Throughout April, the National Museum of American History will spotlight jazz through concerts, programs and museum collections. Schools, colleges, concert halls, libraries and public broadcasters will observe the month with programs of their own. A new web site, SmithsonianJazz.org has been launched, bringing attention to a diverse range of jazz programs and archives at the museum, as well as complete events scheduled for Jazz Appreciation Month.
Hasse said local initiatives are well underway to make Jazz Appreciation Month not merely a focus for the museum, but a true nationwide celebration. “Jazz societies, libraries, schools, and performing arts centers are adding related programming to their lineups in April,” he says. “Materials are being sent to all 620 National Public Radio member stations.”
Hasse adds that one reason for April was to give high school ensembles time to develop and rehearse concerts that can be tied into the event. “We really wanted this to be during the school year,” he says. “Our goal for the first year is to build awareness of the event, and our core for doing that is jazz educators and music educators.”
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Jerry Bailey Pat Baird