Sunday, March 31, 2013

April is Jazz Appreciation Month

Each year, the first day of April marks the start of Jazz Appreciation Month, the annual celebration of jazz music sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution.

Now in its 12th 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 JAM celebration is “The Spirit and Rhythms of Jazz” and the programming and materials distributed by the Smithsonian are designed "for individuals and communities to explore jazz principles of freedom, inclusion and creativity to learn how jazz has transformed America and inspired the world."

At the end of the month, jazz fans worldwide also will celebrate the second International Jazz Day on Tuesday, April 30. Sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Jazz Day is designed to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. Istanbul, Turkey has been named the 2013 Global Host City for this year, but various related events will take place in cities all over the world, including a live broadcast of an all-star concert streamed over the Internet.

Meanwhile, 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 an image of vibraphonist Lionel Hampton based on artwork by Frederick J. Brown that is on permanent display at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

The posters were distributed for free to schools, libraries, music and jazz educators, music merchants and manufacturers, radio stations, arts presenters, and U.S. embassies worldwide, and anyone can download a copy in .pdf format here. You also can see and download commemorative posters from the previous 11 years here

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