Jazz: a blend of African, Caribbean and European music traditions and performing styles, with an emphasis on improvisation, born in New Orleans in the early decades of the 20th century by predominantly African American artists. Since then, it has branched in so many different directions, and been performed by such a diverse group of musicians, that’s can be difficult to arrive at an exact definition. No matter. We can still enjoy it!
This April, the birth month of so many jazz greats, like Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, Billy Holiday, Charles Mingus and Herbie Hancock, the National Museum of American History invites you to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month. Every year since 2002 the Smithsonian has been celebrating this distinctly American art form. This year’s spotlight is on “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald. Ms. Fitzgerald entertained audiences for over half a century, winning 13 Grammy awards and selling over 40 million albums.
The library’s Art & Music room has a great collection of jazz recordings, histories, songbooks and biographies. We’ve put some on display in the rotunda on the main floor. We hope you give them a try, and come back for more.
Do you have a favorite jazz artist, song or album?