The Smithsonian Museum of American History created this celebration in 2001 to recognize the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz. As we celebrate the only truly American musical art form, this month we focus on the power of music to unite people.
After all, jazz was born during one of America’s most segregated periods, and served to break down barriers. The best jazz clubs in New Orleans, despite the atmosphere outside, allowed a space for self-expression side by side within their walls. This innovation and these connections are the driving force that allow jazz to unite.
In JazzArt Charlotte’s 10th year, we are proud to represent the full diversity of Charlotte, including young and old, all ethnicities, ages genders, and economic means, within our reach. A year ago, as we evaluated our presence within the Charlotte community, we performed a study with an exciting conclusion. Our audience is a representation of the full diversity of the United States, and one of the most diverse and welcoming groups in our region. During the rebrand celebration event, world renowned trumpeter and cultural ambassador Wynton Marsalis commented that the inclusive ambiance was beyond anything he typically experienced, even in New York.
As Charlotte struggles with the issue of economic mobility, JazzArts Charlotte is particularly cognizant of its role in creating access to music education and performance for all. As a non-profit organization, JazzArts Charlotte is grateful that support from individuals, sponsors and grants allow us to offer accessible ticket prices to our events. Over one third of our students are able to take advantage of financial aid scholarships because accessibility and quality programs for all is key to the mission. This is all possible because of you, the Charlotte community.
During this Jazz Appreciation Month, stay tuned as our social media continues to highlight how jazz overall has served the role to unite. The Smithsonian Museum of American History has chosen Miles Davis as one of six icons to represent the theme of diversity and innovation. His music is known to have shifted the course of jazz more than once. You will get a taste of that in this month’s Premiere Thursday, as we highlight his most innovative period. The very next day, the JAZZ ROOM presents another completely different jazz style reflective of the South American culture – the Music of Cuba. For April and beyond, we strive to embody the past and future of diversity and innovation.
Learn more about Jazz Appreciation Month at the Smithsonian’s website.