Jazz Appreciation Month (also known as “JAM”) was created in 2001 by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History “to recognize and celebrate the heritage and history of jazz for the entire month of April.” JAM is designed to encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz - to study the music, enjoy concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and more.
One highlight of every summer at OPL is the Jazz on Sundays series at the Golden Gate Branch. Now in its 30th year, the Friends of the Golden Gate Branch Library have organized these live performances every Sunday in July and August. Many thanks to our steadfast Friends groups and their years of hard work. We’re crossing our fingers that the program will continue this year!
Although we can’t invite you to see live music at the Library right now, you can learn about and enjoy jazz from the comfort of your own home.
On the Smithsonian’s JAM website, you can learn the history of JAM, download a hi-res poster, and discover ways to celebrate jazz. Read a profile of this year’s featured artist, Toshiko Akiyoshi. Listen to interviews with her and other jazz greats through the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program. Be sure to check out Today in Jazz History for historical trivia! (Did you know that April 25 is Ella Fitzgerald’s birthday?)
More educational tools can be found at The National Association for Music Education's JAM page, as well as the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz (jazzinamerica.org). Itching for a museum trip? Take a virtual tour of the Louis Armstrong House Museum, and make a note to visit the next time you’re in Queens, NY.
Great resources are available through Jazz at Lincoln Center. Every Monday evening, you can join “Skain’s Domain: An Intimate Weekly Conversation with Wynton Marsalis,” or “Wednesdays with Wynton” on Instagram Live. Stimulate your brain with one of their daily jazz classes. Check out this great list of where to watch jazz concert livestreams.
JALC moved their 2020 Gala online, so anyone can watch the Worldwide Concert for our Culture. We love this quote from Wynton’s introduction to the concert:
“Jazz is inescapably hopeful music. It’s infused with the power to lift us up over the toughest of times.”
Of course, your library card grants you access to more fantastic collections.
Hoopla put together a great list of 50 albums for Jazz Appreciation Month, featuring artists like Miles Davis, Tony Bennett, John Coltrane, and...Jeff Goldblum?!! (Yes, THAT Jeff Goldblum.) You can also find e-books on jazz, from instructional guitar guides to music criticism.
Catch up on current and past issues of Jazz Times magazine through RB Digital.
Enki has several jazz titles to read as well:
At the Jazz Band Ball, by Nat Hentoff
Just for a Thrill: Lil Hardin Armstrong, First Lady of Jazz, by James L. Dickerson
The Ellington Century, by David Schiff
Jazz Greats Speak : Interviews with Master Musicians, by Roland Baggenaes
Last but not least, Kanopy offers several films on jazz:
We hope you find a way to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month this year!