James K. Zimmerman

B.B.A., Business Administration, Marketing
University of the District of Columbia
Johnson C. Smith University

Research Specialties: 

American Music, Jazz History, and Jazz Vocalists

Role in Museum: 

Producer of public programs, and music programs.


Current Projects:
2014-15, Star-Spangled Music Series


    Past Projects: Contributor to Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program:

    li>Advisor, Film Documentary on Oscar Brown Jr., Music Is Life, Politics My Mistress. This film examines the life of artist Oscar Brown Jr. who's artistic disciplines include,vocal performance, composition, theatre, and and poetry.

  • Conceived and produced, Louis Armstrong Education Kit. Supported by a grant from the Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Education, this kit is designed to guide teachers in instructing their students about the life of Louis Armstrong.
  • Interviewed vocalists Jon Hendricks, Oscar Brown Jr., and Bill Henderson. for Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program
  • Coordinated interviews with tap dancer Jeni LeGon, and Bobby Tucker, musical director for vocalists Billie Holiday and Billy Eckstine. for Jazz Oral History Program
  • Collections Acquisition,

    Initiated collection acquisition - tap dancer/film actress Jeni LeGon, 2003
    Initiated collection acquisition - , pianist, arranger, artistic director, Bobby Tucker, 2008
    Initiated collection acquisition - drum set of Gene Krupa (Schinella/Hay), 2009

    2005, SJMO Residency at Manchester Craftsmen Guild, Pittsburgh, PA

    Awards, Honors, and Special Recognition: 

      The District of Columbia Mayor's Arts Award, 2002, for Excellence in an Artistic Discipline, to the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra

      2008 Artistic Fellowship, DC Commission on the Arts (DCCAH)
      2008, City Arts Grant Award (DCCAH), Performance of Storytellers and Crooners
      2012, Community Arts Project Grant Award, (DCCAH), Jon Hendricks: Vocalese Jazz Messenger
      2014, City Arts Project Grant Award (DCCAH), Cultural Hero: The Musical World of Oscar Brown,
      2014 Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation Staff Grant, to interview Jon Hendricks
      2015 Grant Award from Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation to support Lemelson Center Project

    Professional Affiliations: 

    International Association for Jazz Education, Vice President, Washington, D.C. Chapter
    International Association for Jazz Education, President, Washington, D.C. Chapter


    "Smithsonian Institute Preserves Jazz Heritage," International Musician: Official Journal of The American Federation of Musicians of The United States and Canada. New York: April 2004.

    An essay on the history and importance of the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program and other components of the collections and work of the Smithsonian and the National Museum of American History to preserve and promote America's jazz legacy.

    Tribute to a Generation: A Salute to the Big Bands of the WWII Era, featuring the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, producer for the compact disc. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, May 2004.