Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) is celebrated all April !!!


jazz month april facebookJazz Appreciation Month (JAM) is a music festival held every April in the United States, in honor of jazz as an original American art form. JAM was created by John Edward Hasse, PhD, curator of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), a global celebration to advance recognition of jazz as America’s original music. JAM was launched by the National Museum of American History.

Jazz Appreciation Month pays tribute to jazz as both a historic and a living American art form through festivities in all 50 states and 40 countries. A program of the National Museum of American History.

jazz-appreciation-monthThe Smithsonian may archive materials posted on this website pursuant to its document retention policies.

By posting content, you are giving the Smithsonian and those authorized by the Smithsonian permission to use or modify it for any educational, promotional, or other standard museum purpose, in media of all kinds whether now known or later developed.

Jazz Appreciation Month was created to be an annual event that would pay tribute to jazz as both a living and as a historic music.

What a fantastic idea!

Jazz Appreciation Month … A whole month dedicated to the celebration of jazz as something to treasure as part of our past, and present.

JAM (Jazz Appreciation Month) will be all about encouraging musicians, radio stations, concert halls and more local facilities to promote the month by offering themed programmes to the public.

Some of the great jazz artists include Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and a singer I really love, Bessie Smith. Which is fitting because its also her birthday in April!

So, is jazz just for people that already love jazz and want to celebrate it further?

The answer is yes and no!

jazz eventsYes, this gives jazz-lovers a great excuse to participate in jazz-related activities for the month – but it also gives them the chance to introduce an exciting genre of music to those less familiar!

Furthermore, the theme for 2013 is ‘The Spirit and Rhythms of Jazz‘. So what does this really mean? By introducing this theme, the Smithsonian Museum hopes to show how jazz can reach across different cultures, music genres, technology, gender and race! Phew!

For a list of Jam Director, Joann Stevens’ list of favorite jazz songs, click here. Keep an eye on the Jazz Appreciation Month website for more updates on the 2013 activities.

jazz ijd posterAnd don’t forget that on 30 April it is International Jazz Day. UNESCO proclaimed the day in November 2011 and the aim of the day is to raise awareness of jazz in education, peace and unity. The promotion of jazz will not only encourage people to appreciate the music but it is also a great way of joy and reducing tensions around the world.

Meanwhile, why not take some inspiration from 112 ways to Celebrate Jazz. There are endless ideas, so there’s no excuse not to take part!

Schools, organizations, even governments, celebrate JAM with events ranging from free concerts to educational programs. The first year was 2001, and initial funding was provided by the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation. (Miss Fitzgerald’s archives are housed at the Smithsonian).

The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation was created and funded in 1993 by Ella Fitzgerald, the First Lady of Song, in order to fulfill her desires to use the fruits of her success to help people of all races, cultures and beliefs. Ella hoped to make their lives more rewarding, and she wanted to foster a love of reading, as well as a love of music. In addition, she hoped to provide assistance to the at-risk and disadvantaged members of our communities – assistance that would enable them to achieve a better quality of life.

The Board of Directors of the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation seeks to continue Ella Fitzgerald’s goals by making charitable grants serving four major areas of interest:

  • creating educational and other opportunities for children
  • fostering a love and knowledge of music, including assistance to students of music
  • the provision of health care, food, shelter and counseling to those in need
  • specific areas of medical care and research with an emphasis on Diabetes, vision problems and heart disease

The Foundation operates to help the disadvantaged, the at-risk and the needy, whether these conditions have arisen because of financial, medical or other circumstances. The Foundation strives to help this target population help themselves to make a better and more meaningful lives for themselves and for their families.

Fitzgerald_Ella_315The Foundation also makes grants to organizations that assist disadvantaged and at-risk children of all backgrounds. A strong emphasis is placed on after-school enrichment activities, learning and reading programs, and other activities that help children go on to achieve rewarding and meaningful futures. The Foundation may also make grants (although not directly to individuals) to fund scholarships for college. (Ella Fitgerald Gallery, BRUNI)

The Foundation, through its donations, assists numerous organizations that provide free or low-cost health and dental care to those who have no health care coverage, as well as providing funding for organizations that provide shelter and food for those in need. The Foundation also funds medical research in the areas of diabetes, heart disease, vision/eye problems and childhood illnesses.

The Foundation makes grants to promote a love of music, to provide music education for children and young adults, and to provide exposure to the joys and beauty of music for children and adults. In making all the above-mentioned grants, the Board of Directors strives to fulfill the charitable goals established by the beloved ‘First Lady of Song‘, Miss Ella Fitzgerald.

  • Richard D. Rosman, President and Chairman
  • Fran E. Morris Rosman, Executive Director
  • Mary Olson Kromolowski, Director
  • Perry Maguire, Director
  • Alan Watenmaker, Director
  • Sharon B. Maguire, Education Consultant
  • Paul Migdal, Music Program Consultant

Please keep in mind that the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation is a small, private foundation. We are not able to accept unsolicited grant requests, nor do we have applications.

jazz womenThe world has a rich history when it comes to jazz.

Especially in America!

Ragtime, bebop, the blues are all types of jazz that have developed into the wide range of music we can hear today. But back in the 1800’s in the American south jazz originated from slave plantations when the working slaves would try to break up the boredom of their day by singing. This accompanied the European-American musical tradition to create the basis for jazz.

Women have participated on every instrument, in every style, and in every era of jazz history. Yet, with the notable exception of singers and a number of pianists, female jazz musicians have been continuously overlooked in the most prestigious areas of jazz practice, marketing, and documentation.” (New Grove, p. 978)

History Through the 1920s

  • jazz bessie bs5prior to the late 1800s, women typically studied the piano, harp, guitar, and voice; musical activities were non-professional and centered on the home
  • the musical roots of jazz included work songs, spirituals, gospel, and blues — forms in which African-American women were “active innovators and participants
  • in the early 1900s, both black and white females performed in ragtime and vaudeville bands as performers (primarily pianists) and composers; they also found work in family bands, circuses, carnivals and tent shows
  • the “blues queens” (e.g., Mamie Smith, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey) “starred on the recordings that launched the blues recording industry, thus providing settings for many of the earliest recorded jazz solos by such instrumentalists as Coleman Hawkins, Louis Armstrong, and Sidney Bechet.”
  • women served as pianists in early jazz bands in cities such as New Orleans (e.g., Sweet Emma Barrett, Jeanette Kimball) and Chicago (e.g., Lil Hardin Armstrong, Lovie Austin)
  • in the black press in the 1920s, women instrumentalists (other than pianists) began to be recognized (e.g., Dyer and Dolly Jones)
    jazz ShulzhenkoKlavdiya Ivanovna Shulzhenko (Russian: Кла́вдия Ива́новна Шульже́нко; March 24 1906, Kharkov – June 17, 1984, Moscow) was a popular female singer of the Soviet Union.

    Shulzhenko started singing with jazz and pop bands in the late 1920s. She rose to fame in the late 1930s with her version of Sebastian Yradier’sLa Paloma. In 1939, she was awarded at the first all-Soviet competition of pop singers.During World War II, Shulzhenko performed about a thousand concerts for Soviet soldiers in besieged Leningrad and elsewhere.

    The lyrics of one of her prewar songs, The Blue Headscarf, were adapted so as to suit wartime realities.

    Another iconic song of the Eastern Front (World War II), Let’s Smoke, was later used by Vladimir Menshov in his Oscar-winning movie Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears. On April 10, 1976 Shulzhenko performed to enraptured audience in the Column Hall of the House of Unions in what would become her most famous concert.
    Great Depression

    • jazz valaida-snow-queen-of-the-trumpet-sm-e1d20_tcduring the Great Depression of the 30s, women workers were fired to provide jobs for men
    • a need for diversion in difficult times resulted in an alternate economic system provided by nightclubs and other venues for jazz musicians, both male and female
    • women worked as pianists in men’s jazz bands
    • in Kansas City, certain women (e.g., Mary Lou Williams, Margaret “Countess” Johnson) exerted their influence on swing music
    • all-female groups, both black and white, became popular during this time
    • some women led male bands (e.g., singer Blanche Calloway, clarinetist Ann Dupont)
    • women were featured players of instruments associated with men, especially if they could provide more than one type of entertainment (e.g., singing and dancing as well as playing an instrument — e.g., Valaida Snow, the “Queen of the Trumpet,” sang and danced as well)
    • “… women are never hired because of their ability as musicians, but as an attraction for the very reason that they are women, … more of quote
      World War II

      • jazz stormy weather 417RccRQqlL._SL500_AA300_gender roles shifted because of the war
      • “You’ve got to play, that’s all. They don’t think of you as a woman if you can really play. I think some girls have an inferiority complex about it and this may hold them back. If they have talent, the men will be glad to help them along. [And] working with men, you get to think like a man when you play. You automatically become strong, though this doesn’t mean you’re not feminine.”
      • –Mary Lou Williams (Quoted from Stormy Weather, p.67)
      • at the same time the men were drafted to war and leaving jazz bands, there was more demand for dance music
      • women were employed in men’s bands to fill the gaps
      • “When I was in my teens, I went with some friends to hear Woody Herman’s band, and there, in the trumpet section, was a woman. We looked at Billie Rogers as if she had three heads and marveled that she could even finish a chorus.”
      • –Nat Hentoff, 1979 (Quoted from Stormy Weather, p.79)
      • female big bands “acquired a new patriotic image and were even popular entertainers on USO shows”
      • black troops launched letter-writing campaigns requesting the all-girl band “International Sweethearts of Rhythm” to travel to Germany under the aegis of the USO
      • there were USO tours by white women groups as well (e.g., Ada Leonard’s “All-American” Girls)

        Postwar Years

        • “I’ve never found it an advantage to be a girl. If a trumpet player is wanted for a job and somebody suggests me, they’ll say ‘What, a chick?’ and put me down without even hearing me… I don’t want to be a girl musician. I just want to be a musician.”
        • –Norma Carson, trumpeter, 1951 (Quoted from Stormy Weather, p.85)
        • while men returned home to former jobs, women were expected to become full-time housewives and mothers
        • many women moved into musical fields traditionally considered “appropriate” for women, such as music education or accompaniment — some instrumentalists changed from reeds and brass to piano or organ
        • postwar musical trend was toward smaller groups playing in nightclubs instead of ballrooms
        • some women from all-women bands formed smaller groups that remained active
        • some women (e.g., Clora Bryant) worked as freelance soloists in nightclubs
        • television brought employment for some, especially white all-girl bands (e.g., Ina Ray Hutton and Her Melodears)
        • women instrumentalists participated in jazz activities associated with the civil rights movement (e.g., Alice McLeod Coltrane, Amina Claudine Myers)

        1960s & 70s (“Second Wave Women’s Movement“)

        • women’s consciousness is raised about the importance of documenting their lost history and cultural activities
        • “When I started out, I had the wish, the need, to compete with men. But I don’t feel that way anymore. I take pride in being a woman.”
        • — Marian McPartland, 1973 (Quoted from Stormy Weather, p.75
        • new audience are created for women’s jazz performances
        • women’s jazz festivals developed in the late 1970s
        • first Women’s Jazz Festival was held in Kansas City in March 1978
        • Stash Records released anthology of historical recordings and radio broadcasts featuring women in jazz
        • all-woman groups and big bands returned to popularity in the 1970s (e.g., Sisters in Jazz, Maiden Voyage)
        • negative attitudes persisted, even among male jazz musicians
        • “Jazz is a male language. It’s a matter of speaking that language and women just can’t do it.” –Anonymous Male Jazz Pianist, 1973 (Quoted from Stormy Weather, p.3)
          1980s – Present

          • many well-respected female musicians keep on blazing the trail on brass, reeds, and drums, as well as instruments traditionally considered “feminine”; they also persist in raising eyebrows when they mount the bandstand
          • still overwhelming evidence that women jazz musicians do not receive the same encouragement or opportunities as do men of comparative skill
          • research into the history of women in jazz proliferates: numerous books were published in the 80s; Rosetta Reitz founded a record company dedicated to reissuing historical jazz and blues recordings by women; documentary films focused attention on the International Sweethearts of Rhythm
          • International Women in Jazz Inc was founded in 1995 in New York
          • “Sisters in Jazz” mentorship program is part of the International Association of Jazz Educators
          • many Web sites focus on contemporary female jazz artists


          jazz headerThe mission of Women in Jazz, Inc. is to expand the public’s access to and appreciation for the contributions of women to jazz.

          We do this by giving women musicians opportunities to record and distribute their music, give public concerts and educational clinics that provide and expand opportunities for women in jazz. We also offer hands-on experience for participants who are interested in jazz musicianship. This effort provides strong positive female role models for future generations of jazz fans and musicians.

          International Women in Jazz (IWJ) is a non-profit organization 501(c)3 and is committed to supporting women jazz artists and related professionals. We recognize and acknowledge the contributions women make to jazz worldwide.

          Through our programs, IWJ provides information and assistance to its members, thus standing dedicated to actively ensuring a place for women as a vital part of the past, present, and future of Jazz. MEMBERS INFORMATION

          Support IWJ Efforts Save the Music. See Fundraising Campaign page. All Donations are Tax Deductible. Make checks payable to International Women in Jazz. Mail to: International Women in Jazz. Park West Station, P.O.B 20674, New York, NY 10025

          International Women In Jazz presents
          The 4th Annual Women In Jazz Festival April 18, 23 and 24.

          JAZZ WOMEN'S FILM FESTIVAL 2coscoInternational Women in Jazz, Inc. is a non-profit organization committed to supporting women jazz artists and related professionals, and to fostering a greater awareness of the diverse contributions women make to jazz, worldwide.

          Through its programs, IWJ provides information and assistance to its members, thus standing dedicated to actively ensuring a place for women as a vital part of the past, present, and future of jazz. This year’s events include performances by Kate Cosco, Cynthia Holiday, Karrin Allyson, and Jan Leder Quartet.

          Read more about International Women In Jazz Presents The 4th Annual Women In Jazz Festival 4/18, 23 & 24 by broadwayworld.com


          Join us as we Celebrate 11 years!!!


          Basic Info
          Founded 2001
          Location – 14th and Constitution Ave NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20013
          Contact Info: Email: jazz@si.edu
          Website: www.smithsonianjazz.org
          Twitter: @celebrateJAM



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