Only a few days after the passing of James Cotton, one of the country's greatest blues harmonica players, we lost one of our greatest...
Phyllis Diller is widely considered the first female stand-up comic to perform as a solo act. While she is mainly known for her career in...
We asked Eric Jentsch, deputy chair and curator in our Division of Culture and the Arts, for his NCAA bracket picks. Then he disappeared...

Blog Posts in "Jazz Appreciation"

Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald sit in front of a microphone
Within the Ella Fitzgerald Papers collection, a hidden gem reveals a surprising connection between Fitzgerald and President John F. Kennedy...
Woman in white suit and hat poses with man in baseball uniform and hat. Big smiles. In background, baseball stadium.
Red thread is woven in and out of leather, uniting two different pieces into a single object that represents America's favorite pastime and...
Black and white photo of men playing instruments on stage
Since 2001, Jazz Appreciation Month (popularly known as "JAM") has encouraged people around the world to spend April celebrating the music...
Frank Sinatra in hat and tie stands at microphone with music stand in front of him, mouth slightly open
Do you think of Frank Sinatra as a jazz singer? As we celebrate his 100th birthday, guest author Eric Felten explores this question.When...
Latin Jazz postage stamp
On October 16 and 17, the museum's own big-band-in-residence, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO) will kick off their 25th...
3 guitar heads
Happy 100th Birthday, Les Paul!June 9, 2015, is an important day for the guitar and music world: It is the centennial of the birth of...
Detail crop of Neiman's "Big Band" painting
Can't tell your Dizzys from your Dukes? Whether you're new to jazz, or just looking for a quick and easy way to remember jazz history's...
Detail image of LeRoy Neiman's "Big Band" painting, featuring 3 of the jazz artists
When serious jazz fans namedrop their favorite musicians (and their copious nicknames), it can be a bit intimidating for those of us who...
Watercolor of Strayhorn in progress
April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), with a variety of events and programs throughout the museum and country designed to...
Queen Elizabeth II meets Duke Ellington
Smithsonian Jazz Intern Jake Huss shares the stories behind the selections heard at the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra's holiday...
You can learn a note or two of jazz history every day, just by reading @CelebrateJAM's tweets. Adam Whitehurst, the intern behind the...
Photo of two men smiling
Editor's note: David Baker died on Marc 26, 2016. He will be remembered for his commitment to jazz and his incredible service to the...
The 11-day heat wave of summer 2012 that had residents of DC and much of the nation sweltering has finally ended. Interns at the...
Today, June 25, Johnny Smith celebrates his 90th birthday. In October 2011, Ken Kimery, Executive Producer of the Smithsonian Jazz...
Ella in white suit and hat with baseball player
After her death in 1996, curators from this museum worked with caretakers of the Ella Fitzgerald Estate, Richard Rosman and Fran Morris...
At the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History they’re the girls in the band, instrumentalists in the 18-piece...
Editor's Note: Today's post is the second in a series about legendary sound engineer Rudy Van Gelder and his impact on jazz...
The lush tones of Miles Davis are unmistakable to millions. It is common knowledge among jazz fans that Davis was heavily influenced by...
Trumpet and flugelhorn virtuoso Clark Terry has first-hand experience in many notable chapters in jazz history. His lifelong devotion...
During this 10th anniversary celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, Smithsonian Jazz honors educator, composer, musician and longtime...
The great James Moody passed away on December 9, 2010. Today, Saturday, March 26, would have been his 86th birthday. In the jazz...
Portrait of Mary Lou Williams, CBS studio, New York, N.Y., ca. April 1947. Courtesy of William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin...
Today, the National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Jazz celebrate trumpeter Joe Wilder’s 89th birthday. Born in 1922 in Colwyn...
Dr. William Taylor, Jr., known as Billy, was an educator, composer, actor, jazz pianist, and elder statesman. He was a cultural advocate...
Singer/composer Abbey Lincoln drew strength from emancipation–her own and the liberation of others fighting for social justice. When she...
For a good part of the twentieth century, Harlem’s Apollo Theater was one of the most prestigious, important, and well-known venues for...
Black and white photo of a man and woman looking at pages of paper.
Lena Horne was an American treasure, a cultural icon whose career achievements and social legacy challenged and transformed America’s...
In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the museum’s resident big band orchestra, traveled...
Album cover
Women in music have always struggled with recognition for their talent but during the mid-1900’s jazz music was a hardly receptive...
There is a lot of history in this museum but it is not always alive. It was a different case last Friday, when Maurice Hines was here for a...
I recently had the pleasure of traveling to Ethiopia—a trip sponsored by the State Department—to lecture on American jazz and culture....