Concerts explore the history of jazz in America.

Centennial Year of Nat “King” Cole Featuring Guest Vocalist Loston Harris
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza
National Museum of American History
Sunday, March 31, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.

The royal moniker “King” has been bestowed on only a small percentage of artists. Nathaniel Adams Cole’s elevation to “King” was earned through his increasing rise to prominence, and his full mastery of the piano, and voice. American culture and history has many stains; however, the brilliance of Nat “King” Cole could not be denied. Ranking among the most popular vocalists of his era, Cole eventually hosted his very own TV show in the 1950s. On March 31, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra will feature guest vocalist Loston Harris bringing to life some of those iconic arrangements, to include “Nature Boy” and “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.”

The museum’s Constitution Avenue doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the LeRoy Neiman Jazz Café will be open and serving light fare and drink options for purchase from 6:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. Food and drink are welcome at seats in the Performance Plaza.



Previous Concerts: 2018-19 SEASON 

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Ensemble on the Road

Jazz Cities: Regional Style & Evolution
Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach, FL
Saturday, September 29, 2018


Benny Goodman Lecture and Concert
The Theatre House, Castleton Festival
Sunday, November 4, 2018


Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra Concert Season in Washington, DC

The Evolving Jazz Culture
Hall of Music
National Museum of American History
Friday, October 19, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.

Evolutions in technology have greatly impacted American jazz and culture. From the early 20th century recordings of jazz through the advent of the internet, jazz has migrated from the clubs of the city to the halls of academia. Jazz has evolved in sync with the highly complex and technical advances experienced in American culture. From the way it is listened to, and the way it is learned, jazz musicians are faced with an increasing challenge to find “THEIR” unique voice. October’s concert will explore the effects of technology on jazz culture, jazz language, and jazz education.


A Love Supreme and More: The Spiritual Side of John Coltrane
United Methodist Church, Dumbarton Concert Series
Saturday, December 1, 2018 at 8:00 p.m.

In partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Dumbarton Concerts welcomes all 18 members of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, led by Artistic Director Charlie Young, in a performance featuring John Coltrane’s lauded 1964 work, A Love Supreme. One of jazz's most critically acclaimed recordings, A Love Supreme has come to be viewed as one of the greatest albums of all time, a deeply spiritual work, and Coltrane's masterpiece. Hear what Jazz critic Nick Dedina called "an epic aural poem to man's place in God's plan" in Dumbarton Church’s intimate sanctuary.

Join us at 6:00 p.m. for a pre-concert talk by Dr. Leonard Brown, author of John Coltrane and Black America's Quest for Freedom: Spirituality and the Music and Associate Professor Emeritus of Ethnomusicology, African American Music History, and Jazz Studies at Northeastern University.

This program is generously underwritten by a grant from the Lilly Foundation.




Smithsonian Jazz programs are made possible through generous support from:

LeRoy Neiman Foundation

The Argus Fund

Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation

David C. Frederick and Sophia Lynn

Goldman Sachs

John Hammond Performance Series Endowment Fund