Jazz Appreciation Month

2 musicians with guitar and saxophone

Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) is in April.  It was created in 2001 by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History with funding provided by the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.  JAM is an annual celebration that is a national extension of the Jazz Awareness Month started in 1980 by the Louisiana Jazz Federation in New Orleans.  JAM was started to recognize and celebrate the heritage and history of jazz.  Its goal is to encourage people to participate in jazz:  attend concerts, read about it, study it, listen to it.  The theme for 2021 is Women's Impact and Contributions to Jazz, and the featured artist is Nina Simone.  She was a singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist who lived from 1933-2003.

The Smithsonian has many helpful suggestions for celebrating this month.  For parents, you may want to listen to jazz music at home and talk with your children about what they like about the different musicians.  You might watch a jazz performance or read a jazz book together.  Teachers might like to read a jazz poem to their class or look for lesson plans in Jazz in America.  Another fun idea is to create an activity about one of the jazz legends who has a birthday in April such as Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Tito Puente, or Herbie Hancock.

San Jose Public Library has lots of great materials to help you celebrate JAM this April or any time.  There are jazz CD's for both children and adults in addition to movie soundtracks that include Nina Simone tracks.  Also available through Express Pickup at your local branch are movies and books to educate and entertain you about jazz in general as well as Nina Simone in particular.

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