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April is Jazz Appreciation Month

March 9, 2013

The Spirit and Rhythms of JazzJAM_logo_vertical

The story of America is embedded in the spirit and rhythms of jazz; captured in beats that have traveled through the African Diaspora and a spirit of freedom that has impassioned slave and free born, immigrant and migrant since America’s founding.

The Spirit and Rhythms of Jazz is the 2013 Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) theme highlighting jazz cultural history, musical performance and stories, programs and productions this April. JAM and UNESCO’s International Jazz Day April 30 provide rich platforms for individuals and communities to explore jazz principles of freedom, inclusion and creativity to learn how jazz has transformed America and inspired the world.

JAM2013_poster_90The Smithsonian will present stories, images, and music highlighting various jazz artists and people who helped shape America’s original art form – jazz – over several decades; three jazz legends to be featured are:

Lionel Hampton, Randy Weston and John Levy

  • Lionel Hampton’s Smithsonian story has an unmistakable vibe. His image on the 2013 JAM poster is created from artwork by Frederick J. Brown on permanent display at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. A set of vibes Hampton donated to the Smithsonian jazz collection in 2001 will be played at special jazz events.
  • Randy Weston is renowned for illuminating linkages between African rhythms and jazz. His perspective is embodied in works like
    Randy Weston

    Randy Weston

    his Uhuru Afrika, collaborations with Gnaoua musicians of Morocco, and his promotion of the legacy of James Reese Europe. Weston will join the Smithsonian in presenting a concert and onstage discussion to showcase this history.

  • John Levy was a successful African American jazz business manager during a period of American history when few black men commanded respect and fair business dealings for themselves, much less others. Levy delivered both, managing artists from jazz vocalist Nancy Wilson (who remained a client until Levy’s death) to British pianist George Shearing, among others, with integrity and keen business acumen on the strength of his handshake and courage.

John Clayton teams up with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra to deliver a webcast performance of original music in tribute to John Levy, the jazz bassist turned business manager, to highlight the Smithsonian’s celebration of International Jazz Day.

For more about the Smithsonian’s Jazz programming, visit –


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