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Latin Jazz

The Program in Latino History works to ensure that the National Museum of American History's annual Jazz Appreciation Month always celebrates Latin Jazz artists. The Museum's Jazz program also has online infomration about Latin Jazz here.

JAM 2012: Claudia Acuña

On April 19, 2012, Chilean born singer Claudia Acuña brought our Warner Bros. Theater to life with her workshop for music teachers and enthusiasts. She was also interviewed on stage by Museum curator Marvette Perez. In the evening, she presented a free concert at the Rasmunsen Theater of the National Museum of the American Indian. There were about 100 people in the audience, but record-breaking webcast viewers added up to over 45,000.

JAM 2011: John Santos’ Sextet

Acclaimed worldwide, John Santos, who is a musician and teacher, presented his newest musical work, ““Filosofia Caribeña” in April 2011. The stellar line-up included Saul Sierra on bass, Dr. John Calloway on flute and piano, Melecio Magdaluyo on saxophone, Marco Diaz on piano and trumpet, David Flores on drumset, and John Santos on percussion, and a special guest, singer Jerry Medina. “Filosofia Caribeña” is a cross-disciplinary project that aims to illuminate Afro-Latino presence, identity, and the marvelous, undeniable, and unheralded historical connections between Black and Latino communities. Before his performance in the evening, Santos conducted a workshop for local music teachers and amateurs on the history and rhythms of Afro-Latino percussion. Felix Contreras, percussionist and NPR journalist, facilitated the workshop.

JAM 2010: Pablo Aslan

In 2010, Pablo Aslan, an Argentine-born bassist and producer who directs Avantango, a tango-jazz ensemble featuring New York-based Argentine musicians and dancers, performed at the Museum. His CD, Avantango, was selected as one of the Best Albums of the Year, Critics Choice 2004 by JAZZIZ magazine. Aslan has performed and recorded with Yo Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Shakira, Paquito D’Rivera, Denyce Graves, Osvaldo Golijov, the New World Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra, among many others.

JAM 2009: Danilo Pérez

In 2009, Danilo Pérez, the extraordinary Panamanian pianist and composer, gave a performance at the museum as part of Jazz Appreciation Month. Danilo Pérez is among the most influential and dynamic musicians of our time. In just over a decade, his distinctive blend of Pan-American jazz (covering the music of the Americas, folkloric and world music) has attracted critical acclaim and loyal audiences. Danilo’s abundant talents and joyous enthusiasm make his concerts both memorable and inspiring.

JAM 2007: Omar Sosa and his Afreecanos Quartet

In 2007, Jazz Appreciation Month was celebrated by bringing stellar Afro-Cuban jazz pianist and musician Omar Sosa and his Afreecanos Quartet to Washington, D.C. to present a free, public concert at the Lincoln Theatre. In addition, Omar led a morning workshop for D.C. public school students also at the Lincoln Theatre. Both events were produced by PLHC in partnership with the Lincoln Theatre, The Smithsonian Latino Center, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

JAM 2006: Felix Contreras, Jazz Sabroson and Hopus Akoben Hip Hop Ensemble

On April 13, 2006, two performances were presented: Jazz Sabroson Latin Jazz Quartet and Hopus Akoben Hip Hop Ensemble. These performances were cosponsored by the State Department as part of its Rhythms Road program. As part of JAM, NPR reporter and Arts Desk producer Felix Contreras presented "Latin Jazz percussionists," in which he discussed and performed music by four renowned Latin Jazz musicians.

JAM 2005: Family Jazz Festival

PLHC produced Family JAM as part of NMAH’s Jazz Appreciation Month festivities. The festival focused on Latin Jazz, with a special hands-on percussion workshop led by the Latin Jazz septet Afro Bop Alliance and Marvette Pérez, curator of Latino History and Culture at the Museum. There was also a Latin Jazz concert at the end of the afternoon. Visitors also had the opportunity to learn about the museum’s jazz history collections. The Archives Center staff was on hand to show record covers, music scores, photographs, and other jazz-related documents from their holdings. Curator of American Music John Edward Hasse brought out historic jazz instruments and presented an informal talk about the museum’s jazz collections. A quintet from the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra led an interactive workshop called the “Elements of Jazz” in which audience members learned about harmony, rhythm, melody, improvisation, and form while playing along on kazoos.