JAM at the Museum

JAM 2018 Calendar 

As the home of Jazz Appreciation Month, every April the National Museum of American History presents a cadre of programs and jazz displays around the museum for local or visiting jazz fans. 

This year, JAM celebrates the relationship between jazz and justice by looking beyond the music to the dynamic ways jazz has played a transformative role in social justice, musician's rights, and equality since its birth in America. See below for a range of ways to join the fun with us all month:

March 29: Norman Granz Evening Concert by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra

April 5: Free Daytime Concerts by Montgomery College Jazz Ensemble

April 10: Learn How to Participate in a Drum Circle

April 12: CANCELED - Free Daytime Concerts

April 19: Free Daytime Concerts by GWU Latin Jazz Band

April 26: Free Daytime Concerts by Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Ensemble

April 27-29: Big Band JAM!

April 28: Ella Fitzgerald Vocal Competition


Norman Granz: A Producer’s Legacy
Thursday, March 29
7:30 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West
Tickets: $25-$40 available at http://s.si.edu/MarchJazz

Norman Granz was the primary source for the recording and dissemination of jazz from the 1940s-1980s. Throughout his unparalleled career, Granz produced recordings across a broad spectrum of artists including Lester Young, Miles Davis, Benny Carter, Billy Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, and Ella Fitzgerald. In 1944, he produced the first in his series of “Jazz at the Philharmonic” concerts in Los Angeles. The Norman Granz legacy is etched in all corners of the world as his unyielding efforts have elevated the status of jazz and put Granz in a class all his own.

Join us to hear the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra perform the music of jazz’s greatest artists as presented by Norman Granz. The museum’s Constitution Ave doors will open at 6:45 p.m. and the LeRoy Neiman Jazz Café will be open and serving light fare and drink options for purchase from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Food and drink are welcome at seats in the Performance Plaza.

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JAM Daytime Concerts: Montgomery College Jazz Ensemble
Thursday, April 5
12, 1, and 2 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Catch free live jazz performances at the museum in April. Featuring three performances each Thursday, visitors can enjoy jazz performed by local musicians and universities celebrating the legacy of Jazz at the Philharmonic. On April 5, we will be joined by the Montgomery College Jazz Ensemble

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Learn How to Participate in a Drum Circle
Tuesday, April 10
1 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Drum circles have a long history of being used as a means of communication, collaboration, community-building, civic protest, and more. Drum circles can range in size and can even include other instruments but above all they offer equality for all participants and a chance to share. Join Smithsonian Jazz drummer, Ken Kimery, as he leads a hands-on drum circle and explores the history of this important expression of rhythm and communication.

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JAM Daytime Concerts: George Washington University Latin Jazz Band
Thursday, April 19
12, 1, and 2 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Catch free live jazz performances at the museum in April. Featuring three performances each Thursday, visitors can enjoy jazz performed by local musicians and universities celebrating the legacy of Jazz at the Philharmonic. On April 19, we will be joined by the George Washington University Latin Jazz.

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JAM Daytime Concerts: Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Ensemble
Thursday, April 26
12, 1, and 2 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Catch free live jazz performances at the museum in April. Featuring three performances each Thursday, visitors can enjoy jazz performed by local musicians and universities celebrating the legacy of Jazz at the Philharmonic. On April 26, we will be joined by our own in-house Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Ensemble.

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Big Band JAM!
Friday, April 27-Sunday, April 29
Times vary; see schedule below
Madison Drive terrace, outside
(rain location: Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West)

This year, we are excited to team up with Blues Alley Jazz Society to present the 14th Annual Big Band JAM! Developed to educate students about America’s unique jazz heritage and help them hone their own jazz performance skills, Big Band JAM presents adjudicated performances by local college and high school jazz bands for the public to attend and enjoy. Participating judges will include members of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.

Friday, April 27 Performance Schedule

  • 11 a.m.: Washington-Lee High School, Arlington, VA
  • 12 p.m.: James Madison High School, Vienna, VA
  • 1 p.m.: John T. Baker High School, Damascus, MD
  • 2 p.m.: Richard Montgomery High School, Rockville, MD
  • 3 p.m.: Yorktown High School, Arlington, VA
  • 4 p.m.: Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC
  • 5 p.m.: Wilde Lake High School, Columbia, MD

Saturday, April 28 Performance Schedule

  • 11 a.m.: Annandale Jazz Ambassadors, Annandale, VA
  • 12 p.m.: East of the River Steel Band, Washington, DC
  • 1 p.m.: Blues Alley Youth Orchestra, Washington, DC
  • 2 p.m.: Jazz Academy Orchestra, Silver Spring, MD
  • 3 p.m.: George Washington Jazz Orchestra, Washington, DC
  • 4 p.m.: American University, Washington, DC
  • 5 p.m.: Jazz Band Master Class, Annapolis, MD

Sunday, April 29 Performance Schedule

  • 12 p.m.: Bowie State University, Bowie, VA
  • 1 p.m.: Louie Cruz Beltran Latin Jazz Band, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2 p.m.: Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble, Fairfax, VA
  • 3 p.m.: Bohemian Caverns Orchestra, Washington, DC

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Ella Fitzgerald Vocal Competition
Saturday, April 28
11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Reception Suite, 1 Center

Join us for the final day of competition for the second annual Ella Fitzgerald Vocal Competition, initiated by Blues Alley Jazz Society. Judged by celebrity guest and singer-guitarist John Pizzarelli, competitors will perform selections celebrating the Antonio Carlos Jobim songbook upon the seminal 1981 recording “Ella Sings Jobim.” Participating finalists include:

Dalia Lily Nasr

Dalia Lily Nasr, age 19, grew up in Northern Virginia and is a freshman at George Mason University. She’s been studying piano from early childhood on. At age 11, her composition “Arabia” won first prize in the Northern Virginia Music Teacher's Association competition. It was later arranged and performed by the McLean Symphony Orchestra. At thirteen, she recorded two piano instrumental albums, “The Colors of Dalia.” A year later, she won the best composition award for the State of Virginia Music Composition Competition, sponsored by the National Music Teachers Association.

Dalia’s Lebanese roots, and her exposure to Brazilian culture, where her father was born, fostered her appreciation for different cultures and music. Her exposure to jazz began when she joined the Bishop Ireton High School Jazz Ensemble in her junior year and started to explore her potential as a vocalist. It was also at that time that she realized how much she loved bossa nova, the mood it creates with its instrumentation and melodies. Dalia’s goal is to continue her journey of musical discovery, and at the same time, to allow her personality and individuality to come through as she studies and performs more jazz repertoire.


Erik Leuthäuser

Erik Leuthäuser, age 22, studies at the Jazz Institute Berlin, and at the Sibelius Academy of Music in Helsinki, with Judy Niemack as one of his vocal teachers. His 2015 debut album, “In the Land of Ob-la-dee,” was nominated for the “Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik.” He is putting the finishing touches on his new CD, to be released later this year. In 2016, Erik was awarded first prize at the “Riga Jazz Stage” international vocal jazz competition in Latvia. He won first prize at the “Big Sky 2016” jazz competition in Moscow, and placed second at the “Shure Montreux Jazz Competition.”

Erik sang background vocals for Quincy Jones, Dee Dee Bridgewater, George Benson, Jacob Collier; and he is a member of the a capella group Wortart Ensemble, which sets contemporary German poetry to music. He sings with the Philip Rumsch Ensemble, which mixes minimalist music, electronic music, pop and classical music and combines it with improvisation.

Erik was born near Dresden, Germany, and came in contact with jazz at an early age, through his father who studied jazz guitar and works as a guitar teacher.


Monica Pabelonio

Monica Pabelonio, age 25, is a jazz vocalist who hails from Chicago, Illinois. She has won two DownBeat Student Music Awards in the Vocal Jazz Soloist Category, and she was one of the six finalists in the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Voice Competition in 2017. She has performed with artists such as Dianne Schuur, Peter Eldridge, Kate McGarry, and Deborah Brown. She has performed at the Jazz at Lincoln Center as well as several festivals abroad including the Jazz N’ Creole Festival in Saint Josh Parish, Dominica, and at the Puerto Vallarta Jazz Festival in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Monica was the band manager of Western Michigan University’s award-winning Latin Jazz ensemble, Mas Que Nada, and was also one of its vocalists. She produced Mas Que Nada’s most recent album, Sea Journey. She works as a writer for the music publishing company, Alfred Music.

Monica recently completed her Bachelor's degree in Jazz Studies from Western Michigan University, where she studied under Greg Jasperse and Duane Davis. She is pursuing her Master's in Jazz Performance at New England Conservatory and studies with Dominique Eade and Frank Carlberg.


Sarah Moyers

Sarah Moyers, age 23, is a senior at George Mason University pursuing a BM in Jazz Studies for Voice under the instruction of Dr. Darden Purcell. She also studies jazz improvisation with steel pannist Victor Provost and saxophonist Jim Carroll, director of the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra.

Sarah is involved in many musical groups including the Mason Vocal Jazz Ensemble, through which she won an award for "Outstanding Soloist" at the 2016 Kansas City Jazz Summit, the Mason Vocal Jazz Quartet, and Mason Jazz Combo I, where she functions as a bandleader and arranger as well as a soloist. She also performs as the vocalist of the Mason Jazz Ensemble, the premier jazz band on campus, and recently performed with the group at Blues Alley Jazz Club in Washington, DC.

Sarah currently offers piano and voice lessons through Create More Music Studios along with teaching through her own private studio. She also works as a freelance musician and can be heard performing at venues and events throughout the DC Metro area. Upon graduating this May, Sarah hopes to secure a position as a vocalist with a U.S. military service band.


Sarah Rossy

Sarah Rossy, age 25, completed her bachelor’s degree with outstanding achievement in Jazz Voice Performance at McGill University in Montreal, where she is now pursuing her Masters degree in Jazz Performance and Composition. In 2016 she studied with voice/body performance artist Meredith Monk in Garrison, NY; and she just returned from a 3-week intensive vocal embodiment residency in Berlin with dancer Alessio Castellacci and experimental performer Irena Tomašin. These experiences cultivated Sarah’s artistic interest in the voice/body connection and are expanding her approach to improvised music as a full body experience, rooted in contemporary dance and gestural improvisation.

Sarah’s original folk project, Shyre, has played over 160 live performances across Canada since their 2013 debut, including four headlining, sold-out performances at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, performances at Halifax Urban Folk Festival, and other venues. The group has released two EPs and will release their full-length album, “Lucid,” later this year.

Sarah has shared the stage with L’Orchestre National de Jazz, with Aaron Parks, Theo Bleckmann, Christine Jensen, Patrick Watson, and others. In Montreal, she performs regularly with the Scott Bevins Group, Sienna Dahlen, Taylor Donaldson Big Band, and the Plastic Waste Band. With her collective Pistache, Sarah ventures into modern jazz settings, often with atypical orchestration.

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Smithsonian Jazz is made possible through leadership support from:

The LeRoy Neiman Foundation

The Argus Fund

The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation
founding donor of the Jazz Appreciation Month endowment

David C. Frederick and Sophia Lynn

Goldman Sachs

The John Hammond Performance Series Endowment Fund