International Jazz Day: Learn about the history of jazz from Harlem to New Orleans, through these American museums
April 30 is celebrated as International Jazz Day around the world. The idea came from UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and legendary musician Herbie Hancock. America is considered the birthplace of jazz and the genre is known as the "classical music of America". So there is no better place to learn about jazz than the museums in the US. Here are some museums in the US from which you can learn about some jazz history:
New Orleans Jazz Museum – New Orleans, Louisiana
The New Orleans Jazz Museum is housed in the historic Old US Mint, which is strategically located at the intersection of the city’s French Quarter and the Frenchmen Street live music corridor. The museum celebrates the origins, evolution, and continuing relevance of New Orleans Jazz. Visitors have access to a series of five rotating exhibits on themes relating to jazz history and culture. Current exhibits include: Drumsville: Evolution of the New Orleans Beat; The Wildest! Louis Prima Comes Home; New Orleans Music Observed: The Art of Noel Rockmore & Emilie Rhys; and Rick Olivier: Great-ish Hits.
American Jazz Museum – Kansas City, Missouri
The American Jazz Museum is located in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District in Kansas City, Missouri. Since its inception in September 1997, the museum has hosted thousands of students, scholars, musicians and fans of the arts for over 200 performances, education programmes, special exhibitions and community events. It includes interactive exhibits and educational programs as well as the Blue Room, a working jazz club, and the Gem Theatre, a modern 500-seat performing arts centre. The museum also features exhibits on Charley “Bird” Parker, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Louis Armstrong that alone, are worth the trip for avid jazz fans and jazz historians. You can also experience the museum online.
National Jazz Museum in Harlem and Louis Armstrong House Museum – New York, New York
Jazz is the soundtrack of New York City, beginning in the 1920s and ’30s with the voices of Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and Cab Calloway singing at Harlem’s legendary Cotton Club. The National Jazz Museum in Harlem is a thriving centre for jazz and has an extensive collection of LP vinyl records featuring the most successful jazz musicians. The archive collection at the museum includes rare live radio broadcasts and writings about jazz by American author Ralph Ellison. Fans of legendary jazz musician Louis Armstrong must visit the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens, where he lived from 1943 until he died in 1971. The house is a national landmark that is owned by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and displays rare photographs, sound recordings, and personal memorabilia that belonged to Armstrong, including his gold trumpet.