Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Home More History 12 Jazz Hot Spots for Your Bucket List

12 Jazz Hot Spots for Your Bucket List

-

Since 2001, April has been recognized as Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). Certainly one of the best ways to learn about jazz and explore its history is to do it in person.

Luckily, much of the past has been maintained and curated for the public at numerous museums, parks and homes. Here are 12 places where you can learn more about jazz greats from the past and present.

National Sites

Aerial view of the National Museum of American History and the Federal Triangle. The idea for Jazz Appreciation Month began at the Smithsonian, where extra activities are added in April to celebrate jazz.

National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. – The idea for JAM began here when curators wanted to focus public attention on the historical significance of jazz. The museum has a year-round jazz program that includes performances by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. In April, the museum adds free daytime activities and other jazz-related programming.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem  New York, New York – Many jazz musicians settled in Harlem in New York City after jazz migrated from its birthplace in New Orleans, Louisiana. It thrived during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. This museum has hands-on educational tours and workshops for visitors to explore the rich history of jazz.

American Jazz Museum  Kansas City, Missouri – Kansas City was another cradle of jazz. This museum hosts performances, education programs, and special exhibitions.

New Orleans: The Birthplace of Jazz

This city was a melting pot of African, Hispanic, and European culture, making it the perfect location for the development of this truly American art form. Here are a few places to visit if you are in the Big Easy:

New Orleans Jazz Museum – This is one of the best spots to learn about the birth of jazz. The museum hosts concerts and festivals annually, in addition to showcasing more than 25,000 museum artifacts.

Preservation Hall – This music venue in the French Quarter hosted nightly jazz concerts, attracting much media interest in the 1960s. Today it still features concerts and has a touring band and a foundation that promote traditional New Orleans jazz.

New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park – At this park near the Mississippi River, rangers present a variety of programs, and concerts are hosted Tuesdays–Saturdays. There are also jazz walking tour brochures available on its website.

New York

The Louis Armstrong house in New York is open for tours so guests can see how one of the greatest jazz musicians lived. (Photos above and at the top)

Louis Armstrong House Museum – Renowned trumpeter, composer, and vocalist Louis Armstrong settled in Queens in the 1940s. The house where he lived for the rest of his life has been transformed into a museum that offers guided tours.

Village Vanguard – This club opened in 1935 and became a jazz venue in 1957. Unlike other historical clubs that have closed or moved, it has stayed put, launching many careers and welcoming some of the biggest names in jazz. The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra still performs there every Monday night, and the venue hosts numerous other shows.

Apollo Theater – This historic building in Harlem was built in 1914 and named the Apollo Theater in 1934. Numerous famous musicians started their careers in the theater, including James Brown, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Ella Fitzgerald. The music hall offers group tours by reservation.

Elsewhere

Dizzy Gillespie Homesite Park  Cheraw, South Carolina – Famous jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie was born in Cheraw, and a park has been dedicated in his honor. There, visitors can get a brochure to locate sites associated with Gillespie’s life. In addition, every October the town hosts the South Carolina Jazz Festival to celebrate his birthday.

Nat King Cole Home  Montgomery, Alabama – Cole’s childhood home has been moved from its original location to a spot on the Alabama State University campus. The home is undergoing renovation, so only curbside viewing is available until the renovation is completed.

Bix Beiderbecke Museum & Archive  Davenport, Iowa – Leon Bix Beiderbecke was an influential cornet soloist, pianist and composer in the 1920s. His hometown created a museum that includes artifacts, photos, recordings, and letters from his life.

Bonus Locations

There are innumerable other places where there are smaller collections, or where plaques or just memories mark history in the making. These include the Eubie Blake Cultural Center in Baltimore, Maryland, where a room is dedicated to the memory of the famous American composer and pianist.  Another is the brownstone in Harlem where in 1958 photographer Art Kane took a portrait of 57 jazz icons, subject of the 1994 documentary A Great Day in Harlem.

What’s your favorite jazz spot or historic location? Please share it in the comments!

jwpepperhttp://jwpepper.wordpress.com
Pepper has served musicians since 1876. We hope you find our blog posts informative and a wonderful gateway to news in the world of music.

1 COMMENT

  1. The famous trumpet player Bunny Berigan is buried in a small country cemetery, St. Mary’s, south of Fox Lake, Wisconsin, where he grew up. The cemetery is located on Breezy Point Road. Berigan famously led the trumpet sections of Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman, along with his own big band. His solos on”Marie” and “I Can’t Get Started With You” are famous. The house he was born in in 1908 in Hilbert, Wisconsin still stands. Bunny was there with the Benny Goodman Orchestra at the Palomar Ballroom when the crowd went wild for the new “swing” music. There is a Bunny Berigan Festival held in intermittent years in Fox Lake.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

LATEST POSTS

Randy Vader: Choirs Doing More Than Just Singing

As CEO of PraiseGathering Music Group, Randy Vader has vast experience in the sacred music publishing business as a writer and composer,...

Belting 101: How to Help Your Students Use Their Full Voice

When I was an undergrad, I was told that belting would ruin my voice. I shunned the music I loved and focused...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Mac Huff

Mac Huff is one of the most prolific pop music arrangers for publisher Hal Leonard, and his work is performed by hundreds...

Music Honoring Our Military on Memorial Day

The idea for Memorial Day stemmed from one of the most trying times in the history of the United States. During the Civil War...

Patrick Hawes: Creating Works for Radio and Royalty

The grandeur of Carnegie Hall is a far cry from where composer Patrick Hawes began his musical education. In a small English coastal town,...
%d bloggers like this: