Thursday, April 13, 2017

It's JAM time again. Get your jazz on.

April is Jazz Appreciation Month - and it is flying by.

The Smithsonian Institution decreed the month's status 16 years ago as a way to spread appreciation for - and interest in - the music genre. Many activities now find themselves under that celebratory jazz umbrella.

The National Endowment for the Arts moved its annual NEA Jazz Masters induction concert from January to April, and, six years ago, UNESCO added International Jazz Day to the mix. That global celebration closes the month on April 30. It reaches more than 190 countries with thousands of performance, education and community service programs in cities and town large and small.

So how are you honoring Jazz Appreciation Month this time around? 

Here are a few suggestions:
  • Support live music. Go to at least one more jazz event this month than you usually do. Heck, increase the level by one a week.
  • Take a friend or friends to those concerts. It's a great way to turn somebody onto jazz who previously had only a casual appreciation for the music.
  •  Buy more an extra recording - exceeding your usual purchasing level.
  • If you've got a collection of jazz recordings, take the time to dig back through them and revisit some favorites that you may have neglected for a while.
  • Compile your own list of "Desert Island" recordings - those 10 or 12 recordings that would be must haves should you be heading out on an adventure.     
  • Catch the April 30 "live stream" on the web of UNESCO's Global Concert on International Jazz Day. This year's all-star event will be held in Havana, Cuba. The 2016 event, co-sponsored by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, was held at the White House in Washington, DC.
The 2017 program at the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Aonso will be live streamed worldwide (at goodwill ambassador Herbie Hancock and Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés are the artist directors for the event.

The international roster of performers for the sixth annual Global Concert also includes Ambrose Akinmusire, Melissa Aldana, Marc Antoine, Richard Bona, Till Brönner, Igor Butman, Regina Carter, Kurt Elling, Kenny Garrett, Takuya Kuroda, Ivan Lins, Sixto Llorente, Youn Sun Nah, Gianluca Petrella, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Antonio Sánchez, Esperanza Spalding, Tarek Yamani, Dhafer Youssef and others.

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