Jazz composer, singer, trumpeter, bandleader and producer Quincy Jones on Friday (July 20) joined the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., to announce the first “jazz appreciation month” next April. Dubbed JAM 2002, the month will include concerts and exhibits, with schools, museums, and libraries encouraged to set up programs.
The museum has a band: the 18-member Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, more than 100 oral histories of musicians, and about 100,000 pages of unpublished music by Duke Ellington. A supporting Web site (Smithsonianjazz.org) will be launched in conjunction with next year’s first national celebration of jazz.
“Jazz is a vital part of America, and as the nation’s history museum we want to raise public awareness of jazz as one of America’s cultural treasures,” said museum director Spencer Crew.
The 68-year-old Jones has been a noted jazzman since he was 15 when Lionel Hampton played his suite “The Four Winds.” Since then, Jones, one of the first black musicians to break into Hollywood, has had 77 Grammy nominations and has worked on more than 40 movie and TV scores.
“There is a reason why German lieder or French musette or Greek dances aren’t the music that permeate this world,” Jones said in an interview 25 years ago. “And there is a reason why the music that developed on the South Side of Chicago and in Memphis is the … universal Esperanto.” The reason, he said, is that American blacks have been “kicked that hard.”
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