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Jazz Appreciation Month Ella Fitzgerald

Jazz Appreciation Month #1: Jazz is Democracy

In this election year, it seems that we could use a little respite from the craziness.  Jazz Appreciation Month is the right medicine!  The theme for 2016’s Jazz Appreciation Month is “Jazz in Democracy.”

Jazz Appreciation Month Leroy Neiman
Can you spot all the jazz legends in this LeRoy Neiman painting?

We could start in a number of places but let’s start easy….

First, Happy Birthday to the wonderful and supremely talented Ella Fitzgerald.  It is her legacy that made Jazz Appreciation Month even possible.

And another easy one:  How about this incredible painting by LeRoy Neiman? Click on the image to increase the size and see if you can identify all the jazz greats?  Neiman makes it pretty easy but, still, imagine getting a ticket to that concert!  Imagine the conversations they’d have!

Jazz Appreciation Month Benny Carter
The Smithsonian’s 2016 poster featuring Benny Carter

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has chosen Benny Carter as this year’s featured musician.  Known simply as “The King” to his musical peers, it is Carter’s pioneering work as an African American musician that makes him a good fit for this year’s theme, which focuses on the influential work of jazz artists in the fight for civil rights.  According to the museum:

“Carter led the first interracial, multi-national orchestra while living in Europe . . . then he settled down in Los Angles, where he become one of the first African Americans to compose music for films and television.”

Visit the Smithsonian website to take a look at the annual posters that the museum has made since 2002 for each year’s featured artist.  They are pretty cool!

If we lived near the museum in Washington, D.C., we would be able to visit their collections and even hear live, free jazz music sessions every week.  But, since most of us live in the the “other Washington,” enjoy looking through their collection and planning a trip there someday.

Still want more?  Well, keep up with us every day this week as we bring you some history about Seattle’s Jazz Scene and other goodies. And visit the Smithsonian’s Jazz Appreciation Month website for other good info.

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