Saturday, March 31, 2012

April is Jazz Appreciation Month

If it's almost April, that means it's about time once again for Jazz Appreciation Month, the annual celebration of jazz music sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution.

Now in its 11th year, Jazz Appreciation Month (or JAM) was created "to draw greater public attention to the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz and its importance as an American cultural heritage. In addition, JAM is intended to stimulate the current jazz scene and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz—to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and support institutional jazz programs."

The theme of this year's celebration is “Jazz Crossing Borders & Cultures,” and the programming and materials distributed by the Smithsonian will "highlight why jazz artists are respected worldwide for their roles in advancing freedom, creativity, and unity through jazz music and the civic action and dialogues their music often sparks, making jazz men and women among America’s greatest cultural ambassadors."

For those who can't visit the museum in Washington DC, the Smithsonian offers a list of "112 ways to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month," and once again has produced a poster honoring a famous musician.

This year's JAM poster (pictured) features singer Frank Sinatra, whose 1945 recording of "The House I Live In" is cited as an example of how music can "promote respect for others as an ideal of American freedom and civic pride." The poster is based on a painting of Sinatra by artist Leroy Nieman that previously was used as the cover for the singer's 1993 album Duets. The Smithsonian distributes the posters for free to schools, libraries, music and jazz educators, music merchants and manufacturers, radio stations, arts presenters, and U.S. embassies worldwide. To request a copy, write

Also, anyone can download a copy of the 2012 poster in .pdf format here, and see and download the commemorative posters from the previous 10 years here.

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