FAQ

What is Jazz Appreciation Month?
The concept is simple: designate one month for an annual public spotlight on jazz. Jazz Appreciation Month (or JAM) is intended to draw public attention to the glories of jazz as both an historical and a living treasure. The idea is to encourage musicians, concert halls, schools,colleges, museums, libraries, and public broadcasters to offer special programs on jazz every April.

What are the purposes of Jazz Appreciation Month?
To draw greater public attention to the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz and its importance as an American cultural heritage. In addition, JAM is intended to stimulate the current jazz scene and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz—to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and support institutional jazz programs.

Why is it needed?
Many people do not fully appreciate the joys, power, and glories of jazz. JAM is an effort by those who are passionate about jazz to share it with those who are not as familiar with it. JAM will encourage people to take jazz more seriously as a vital part of America’s cultural patrimony and as a great gift to the world, as well as to have fun with it.

Does our organization have to get permission to participate?
No. Just as you don’t need anyone’s permission to celebrate Black History Month or Women’s History Month, you do not need permission to become part of JAM.

How can my organization become part of JAM?
Any organization can participate in Jazz Appreciation Month or JAM. Just decide to go ahead and do something each April.

What can I do to celebrate JAM?
See the list, How to Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month on www.smithsonianjazz.org.

Does it cost anything to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month?
Not necessarily. A school or concert hall that had already scheduled a program for April could simply offer it under the “heading” of Jazz Appreciation Month. Some classroom lessons on jazz are available free on the World Wide Web and could be scheduled for teaching in April (see www.smithsonianjazz.org or www.artsedge.kennedy-center.org). A radio station could develop a program for April from its own music library, without incurring additional cost.

Who designated it?
The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History has led this initiative and has enlisted a distinguished roster of federal agencies and departments, non-governmental organizations, foundations, and broadcasting networks. For more information, visit www.smithsonianjazz.org.

Has the United States Congress supported this initiative?
Yes, the U.S. Congress passed legislation which was signed by the President in August 2003, Public Law 108-72, declaring “(1) the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History should be commended for establishing a Jazz Appreciation Month; and (2) musicians, schools, colleges, libraries, concert halls, museums, radio and television stations, and other organizations should develop programs to explore, perpetuate, and honor jazz as a national and world treasure.”

Why is the Smithsonian initiating Jazz Appreciation Month?
The Smithsonian operates the world’s most comprehensive set of jazz programs–it collects jazz artifacts, documents, recordings, and oral histories; curates exhibitions and traveling exhibitions; operates its own big band, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra; publishes books and recordings on jazz; offers fellowships for research in its collections; and offers concerts, educational workshops, master classes, lectures, seminars, and symposia. Launching JAM is consistent with the Smithsonian’s 30-year record of leadership in jazz.

What is the Smithsonian doing to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month?
The noted producer-musician Quincy Jones helped the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History announce the Jazz Appreciation Month initiative, at a press conference in July 2001. Branford Marsalis helped kick off the first JAM, in April 2002. The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the museum’s acclaimed 18-member big band, performed a weekend of concerts. There were lectures, educational offerings, and an exhibition. Also, in honor of Jazz Appreciation Month, the museum will continue to collaborate with other national institutions in a range of educational and outreach activities as it has in the past. To assist teachers, librarians, and others in celebrating JAM, the Museum has published a series of posters and the brochure How to Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month.

Why was April chosen?
April was chosen for two reasons. First, April maximizes JAM’s educational potential because it is the end of the school year when schools can not only participate, but student jazz ensembles can culminate year-long preparations and play at their best. Secondly, April is also the birth month of a number of leading figures in jazz: Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Smith, Johnny Dodds, Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, Gerry Mulligan, Shorty Rogers, Tito Puente, and Herbie Hancock.

Can our organization use the JAM logo?
Yes, any organization can use the JAM logo to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month. Go towww.smithsonianjazz.org, and click on “Jazz Appreciation Month.” Scroll to the bottom of the page.

Do we need permission to use the JAM logo?
No. Any non-profit organization can use it.

Please let us know what events you are scheduling for JAM this April, and we will add them to our website's master national list of JAM events.
You can email us: jazz@si.edu