There’s still time to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month
April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), a time to recognize jazz as both an historic and a living American art form. JAM was begun in 2003 by the National Museum of American History to advance recognition of jazz as America’s original music.
With one week left in April, there is still lots of time to get your Jazz Appreciation activities in. Here are a few suggestions:
- Watch a movie about jazz. There are lots of great ones out there to choose from. Jazz on a Summer’s Day is a documentary about the Newport Jazz Festival, made in 1959. Performances by Louis Armstrong and Eric Dolphy are notable, as are the windblown views of ladies in their summer dresses. Director Charlotte Zwerin’s love of the music of Thelonious Monk is apparent in her biopic of the sax great, Straight, No Chaser. This one is a movie, and also an education. And here’s a great film about Jazz in Five Points – produced by none other than Rocky Mountain PBS: you can watch it right here! Here’s a list of recommended jazz films from ranker.com.
- Take a young person to hear live jazz. Many clubs have all ages shows during the early part of the evening. This is a great chance to open the ears of someone who may never have heard a jazz tune in his or her life. Who knows what new passion you might spawn? Here in Denver, check out the calendar at Dazzle Jazz (where youngsters are invited to the first set and students are often admitted for reduced prices), Jazz at Jack’s,or wait just a few more weeks and spend a Sunday evening with that young person by the boathouse in City Park. The City Park Jazz line-up for 2014 has just been announced: it's a solid series of strong performers every week. Added bonus – it’s free!
- Tune in your radio –or smartphone – or computer – to KUVO/KVJZ. Denver’s jazz station is recognized as one of the best in the world. The station considers its role in jazz education to be as important as its entertainment value. In addition to the music, KUVO’s knowledgeable on-air hosts provide the background: about the song, the era of music, the musicians. KUVO covers the full spectrum of jazz: beginning with the Jazz Age through Big Band and Swing, Bop and Post-Bop Eras, and Modern Expressions, including some late night exploration into very forward-thinking experimental music. The station’s schedule is here; the link to stream them on your computer is here and you can download their mobile application here. (Full disclosure: KUVO is part of the Rocky Mountain PBS network].
- Final thought – any month is a good one to celebrate jazz! If you don’t get to any of these activities before April ends – there’s always next month. The music will still be there for you.