Smooth Jazz and More joins the Smithsonian Institute to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month this April.
For 11 years now, this event has been commemorated to help promote the rich history of an original American art form. Schools, organizations, and even local governments, celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month with events ranging from free concerts to educational programs.
This year, Smithsonian Jazz celebrates the contributions of singer Frank Sinatra.
On September 11th, 1945, Sinatra took a bold stand for human rights using a film and a song to promote respect for others as an ideal of American freedom and civic pride. The song, “The House I Live In,” was composed by Abel Meeropol, a NYC school teacher. The song and the ten minute film became a national appeal to a post World War II weary America to unite and remember the freedoms the nation had fought for overseas and throughout history, even as African Americans launched their own campaign to obtain equality at home.
The film short earned Sinatra an honorary Oscar in 1946, and in 2007, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
JAM enlisted the help of artist LeRoy Neiman and the approval of Frank Sinatra’s estate to create this year’s poster. The artwork was originally created for Sinatra’s “Duets” album in 1993.
Later this month, the world will pay tribute to one of America’s newest cultural ambassadors when jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, UNESCO’s Goodwill Cultural Ambassador, concludes Jazz Appreciation Month by launching International Jazz Day. This annual, UNESCO endorsed initiative will use jazz and intercultural discussions to help foster unity, dialogue and intercultural understanding among the world’s youth.
Wanna celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month? Hear are a few suggestions;
- Go to a jazz concert or plan on attending a jazz festival this summer – We’ve just added some new listings of the region’s most popular venues on our website.
- Buy a jazz CD – We suggest you explore them at iTunes.
- Watch a movie with a jazz-based theme – One of my favorite movies was the 1986 film ‘Round Midnight.
- The film is a wistful and tragic portrait that captures the Paris jazz scene of the 1950s. The film stars real-life jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon, whose performance won an Oscar nomination. Herbie Hancock won the Academy Award for Best Original Music Score.
- or you can listen to Smooth Jazz and More – For our part, between now and the end of April, we’ll be playing public service announcements from various music artists, including Gerald Albright, Herb Albert, Winton Marsalis and many, many others. We’ll also be adjusting our format (slightly) to include recordings from legendary jazz artists, such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, John Coltrane and many others.
So celebrate the music that is Jazz…born in America, enjoyed worldwide!
For more information on Jazz Appreciation Month, go to SmithsonianJazz.org