Jazz Appreciation Month Posters
Celebrate jazz with a new poster and the 2022 limited release free poster giveaway!
2022: Latin Jazz and the Spirit of “Cachao” López
In the pantheon of Latino contributions to Jazz, one name that continues to stand out is Israel “Cachao” López. The Cuban bass player helped invent the mambo style in the late 1930s, speeding up the traditional Cuban dance music danzón by inserting a swing to it. The springy bass lines Cachao played, alongside his brother, pianist/cellist Orestes López, became a foundation of modern Cuban music, later influencing salsa, Latin-infused rock ‘n’ roll, and R&B.
Born in Havana in 1918, López came from a family of musicians. He studied classical music, was playing bongos in a children’s group at 8, and played upright bass with the Havana Philharmonic at the age of 13. Cachao later played with dance orchestras, joining the Orquesta Arcaño y sus Maravillas in 1937. The danzón was a very popular style in Cuba during the early 1900s, but it gradually moved away from its roots as a European, military-style march sound and more towards an Africanized sound with syncopated percussion, almost a mirror image of ragtime’s transition to early jazz. López integrated the popular Cuban musical tradition with the pulsating conga, resulting in the beginnings of the soon-to-be preeminent Latin musical genre: mambo.
In addition to pioneering mambo, López also was instrumental in the development of descargas: late-night jam sessions that combined Afro-Cuban rhythms, Cuban melodies, and elements of jazz. Cachao left Cuba in 1962, his departure brought on by the Castro government’s strict policy re American-influenced culture. Cachao spent two years in Spain, and living for a time in New York City. In the 1970s, he headlined at famous Las Vegas hotels, and ultimately settled in Miami in 1978. Cachao’s career took a slight dip in the 1980s— he only recorded three albums as a leader between 1970 and 1990—but Cuban-born actor Andy Garcia helped revitalize the musician, organizing recording sessions with leading Cuban musicians and putting together a tribute concert in Cachao’s adopted hometown in 1992. Cachao enjoyed a major resurgence in his career, winning a Grammy and recording a series of successful albums.
Cachao died of kidney failure in 2008 at the age of 89 in Coral Gables, Florida.
JAM 2022 Limited Release Free Poster Giveaway
Thank you for your interest in our 2022 JAM poster. Unfortunately, due to high demand, we can no longer fulfill requests for this year's poster. Please email email@example.com for any questions or concerns.
Featured on this year’s official 2021 poster is pianist, singer, songwriter, storyteller and civil rights activist Nina Simone. Born February 21, 1933, in Tryon, North Carolina, Simone became enamored with music at the early age of three when she learned to play the piano by ear. She went on to study classical repertoire and aspired to continue her education as a concert pianist at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, but that future did not come to pass. An audition in 1954 at the Midtown Bar & Grill in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was noted as a defining moment in her career that introduced her talents as a pianist and singer to an unsuspecting and enthusiastic audience. Some of her many recordings include her debut album, Little Girl Blue, on Bethlehem Records; the 1962 live recording Nina at the Village Gate; and 1964’s Nina in Concert, which famously addressed racial inequality. Simone received the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2000 and was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. Her 1964 performance of “Mississippi Goddam” was selected as culturally and historically significant by the Library of Congress in 2018 and included for preservation on the National Recording Registry. To learn more about Nina Simone, visit ninasimone.com.
The artist for the 2021 JAM poster is Naa Anyele Sowah-De Jesus, a sophomore visual arts student at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Washington, D.C.
Featured on the official 2020 JAM poster is pianist, band leader, and composer-arranger Toshiko Akiyoshi, whose vital contributions to the art of big band jazz earned her the title of NEA Jazz Master in 2007. Born in Manchuria, Akiyoshi first moved to Japan with her parents at the end of World War II, and then to the United States in 1956 to study at Berklee School of Music in Boston. Following a series of performances in top New York venues, in 1973 she and her husband, saxophonist/flutist Lew Tabackin, formed the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra. Known for her uniquely textural big band compositions and Japanese influence, Akiyoshi has received 14 Grammy Award nominations and was the first woman to win Best Arranger and Composer awards in Down Beat magazine's annual Readers' Poll. The artist for the 2020 JAM poster is Wynter Jackson, a senior visual arts student at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C.
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The 2019 Jazz Appreciation Month Poster is the third in a special three-year series featuring the center section of LeRoy Neiman's Big Band, a large-scale painting that hangs on the first floor of the National Museum of American History. The JAM Posters from 2017 and 2018 feature the left side and center panel of the painting respectively, so that when all three are hung next to each other, the iconic painting can be recreated! Big Band is a gift of the LeRoy Neiman Foundation.
This year, JAM celebrates jazz beyond borders by looking at the dynamic ways jazz can unite people across the globe. This theme is to celebrate the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra’s next tour, which will visit cities in North America, Europe, and Asia. This tour will ignite the Smithsonian’s goal of "convening conversations," in which we will use the power of music as a springboard into important discussions around democracy, diversity, identity, and diplomacy.
JAM invites all jazz fans and appreciators to look beyond the music to the dynamic ways jazz has explored diversity, identity, diplomacy, and innovation around the world. Our featured JAM artist this year, Nat King Cole, who pushed the racial, cultural, and political boundaries through his music and performances. The poster this year features other artists who pushed boundaries of innovation, race, politics, and music.
- Gene Krupa (drummer) – known for his tenure with Benny Goodman and contribution in elevating the drummers role beyond a timekeeper to soloist.
- Dizzy Gillespie (trumpeter) – a major figure in the development of Be-Bop and a cultural ambassador traveling the globe organizing a State Department sponsored tours.
- Wynton Marsalis (trumpeter) – former member of the Art Blakey band and co-founder of Jazz at Lincoln Center.
- Miles Davis (trumpeter) – was always in search of new and uncharted territories in jazz. His vast discography provides the listener an insight into the vast body of work that still stands the test of time in 2019. To date, Miles’s contribution and artistry is celebrated worldwide.
- J.J. Johnson (trombonist) – known for his virtuosic ability on the trombone, J.J. Johnson also is credited for his body of work as a composer. Some of the classic arrangements include Stolen Moments and El Camino Real.
- Glen Miller (trombonist)- led one of the best known big bands in the late 1930’s and was recognized for some of the classic hits of that era such as In the Mood, and Moonlight Serenade.
- Tommy Dorsey (trombonist) – the younger brother of Jimmy Dorsey, he went on to form his own band that included young vocalist Frank Sinatra.
This poster helps form the larger whole of Big Band and, with the 2017 and 2018 posters, illustrates the diverse performers and styles that defined jazz as an inclusive space.
LeRoy Neiman (1921 – 2012) was an American artist known for his brilliantly colored, expressionist paintings and screen prints of athletes, musicians and sporting events. Neiman had a great love for jazz and spent more than 50 years sketching and painting musicians in an attempt to portray how it felt to watch jazz performances as well as how the sounds and colors evoked emotions and movement. Completed in 2005, Neiman’s painting, Big Band depicts performers he saw in concert from the 1950-80s. Learn more about the painting and its musicians.
Download (186 MB)
The 2018 Jazz Appreciation Month Poster is the second in a special three-year series featuring the center section of LeRoy Neiman's Big Band, a large-scale painting that hangs on the first floor of the National Museum of American History. The JAM Posters from 2017 and 2019 feature the left and right side of the painting respectively, so that when all three are hung next to each other, the iconic painting can be recreated! Big Band is a gift of the LeRoy Neiman Foundation.
This year, JAM invites all jazz fans and appreciators to look beyond the music to the dynamic ways jazz has played a transformative role in social justice, musicians' rights, and equality. Our featured JAM artist this year, producer Norman Granz, devoted his life to civil rights and equality - within the music industry and beyond. Through numerous record labels and his iconic touring show, Jazz at the Philharmonic, he helped propel many jazz musicians to greatness. Fittingly, all the musicians featured in this section of the JAM poster had careers that overlapped or were influenced by Norman Granz:
- Charles Mingus (bass) - performed with Jazz at the Philharmonic in 1945.
- Benny Goodman (clarinet) - Performed in a Norman Granz-organized tour in 1953 with Louis Armstrong. Some of Benny’s musicians on the tour was pianist Teddy Wilson, drummer Gene Krupa and trumpeter Ziggle Elman. Their April 17 concerts at Carnegie Hall were sold-out and according to John Hammond, surpassed the gross ticket sales of any jazz concerts in the hall up to that time.
- Gerry Mulligan (saxophone) - had multiple albums produced under Norman's lable, Verve Records, including Blues in Time, Jazz Giants '58, Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster, and more.
- Lester Young (saxophone) - performed with Jazz at the Philharmonic for 12 years and recorded a couple albums produced by Norman Granz.
- Charlie Parker (saxophone) - performed with Jazz at the Philharmonic and recoreded Charlie Parker with Strings produced by Norman Granz under Verve Records in 1949-50, fulfilling a long-held desire to perform with a string section.
- John Coltrane (saxophone) - toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic during its later years and released several albums under one of Norman Granz's earlier labels, Pablo Records, including Afro Blue Impressions.
This poster helps form the larger whole of Big Band and, with the 2017 poster, illustrates the diverse performers and styles that defined jazz as an inclusive space. This inclusivity extended beyond the musicians to the people behind the scenes, including our featured artist, producer Norman Granz.
LeRoy Neiman (1921 – 2012) was an American artist known for his brilliantly colored, expressionist paintings and screen prints of athletes, musicians and sporting events. Neiman had a great love for jazz and spent more than 50 years sketching and painting musicians in an attempt to portray how it felt to watch jazz performances as well as how the sounds and colors evoked emotions and movement. Completed in 2005, Neiman’s painting, Big Band depicts performers he saw in concert from the 1950-80s. Learn more about the painting and its musicians here and here.
Download (162 MB)
This year, JAM 2017 invites all jazz fans and appreciators to celebrate women throughout the history of jazz, and so the 2017 poster kicks off the LeRoy Neiman Big Band series with the left side of the painting, featuring Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. The JAM posters in 2018 and 2019 will feature the center and right side of the painting respectively, so that when all three are hung next to each other, the iconic painting can be recreated!
LeRoy Neiman (1921 – 2012) was an American artist known for his brilliantly colored, expressionist paintings and screen prints of athletes, musicians and sporting events. Neiman had a great love for jazz and spent more than 50 years sketching and painting musicians in an attempt to portray how it felt to watch jazz performances as well as how the sounds and colors evoked emotions and movement. Completed in 2005, Neiman’s painting, Big Band depicts performers he saw in concert from the 1950-80s. The musicians depicted in this section of the painting (from top to bottom) are Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald. Learn more about the painting and its musicians here and here.
Featuring Ella Fitzgerald in the 2017 poster is especially important as this year also marks Ella’s centennial (the singer was born April 25, 1917). Join our celebrations of this important anniversary in jazz history – check out our featured musician page all about Ella here or visit us at the museum for programs and a brand new display.
This photograph of performer, bandleader, and composer Benny Carter was chosen for the 2016 Jazz Appreciation Month Poster. This photo originated from the Benny Carter Collection, located in the Archives Center at the National Museum of American History.
Benny Carter, known simply as “King” to his fellow musicians, was a largely self-taught musician who became one of founding fathers of big band swing music. Early in his career, Carter arranged and composed scores for Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman, Chick Webb, and McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, as well as for his own highly respected orchestras. Carter was also known as a pioneer in breaking down racial boundaries in jazz. In 1937, Carter led the first interracial, multi-national orchestra while living in Europe. After his three-year residency in Europe, which was dedicated to spreading jazz throughout the continent, Carter settled down in Los Angles, where he become one of the first African Americans to compose music for films and television.
In a salute to Carter’s contribution to jazz as well as to highlight his exhaustive collection at the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra presented “Benny Carter: The Groundbreaking King of Jazz” to kick off Jazz Appreciation Month 2016.
This joyful portrait of pianist and composer Billy Strayhorn was painted by artist Keith Henry Brown for the 2015 Jazz Appreciation Month Poster at the National Museum of American History.
Billy Strayhorn, known to friends as "Strays" or "Swee' Pea," was a prodigious composer known for his work with Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, Johnny Hodges, and more. He is the genius behind Ellington's signature tune "Take the A Train", and he collaborated with Ellington for the majority of his career. Learn more about Strayhorn and Ellington's work together through the museum's online gallery.
In addition to his work with Ellington, Strayhorn is the author of the unparalleled song "Lush Life," which has since been covered by many musicians. During his time in New York City, Strayhorn also reigned as the president of the Copascetics, a Harlem-based entertainment organization, and had a strong solo career. Strayhorn had incredible talent and was regarded as a quiet but powerful jazz artist.
2015 would have been Strayhorn's centennial. In a salute to his work and contribution to jazz, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra held several concerts over the course of April in venues around Washington, DC.
This powerful, brooding image of jazz saxophonist John Coltrane titled “Jazz” (1990) was created by American painter and print maker Joseph Holston and is featured on the 2014 Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) poster developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Holston, a native of suburban Maryland, has created colorful, cubist abstractionist images that chronicle the African American experience form slavery to jazz and contemporary life. “Jazz” was included in the exhibition “Convergence: Jazz, Film, Dance and the Visual Arts” at the Smithsonian Affiliate, the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, MO., in 2014.
“Color in Freedom: Journey along the Underground Railroad” features 50 of Holston’s paintings, etchings and drawings and was exhibited at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Holston's work included in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Library of Congress Fine Print Collection, the U.S. Federal Reserve Fine Art Collection, and museums and galleries nationwide.
This portrait of Lionel Hampton was created in 1997 by the late Frederick J. Brown, an African American artist whose passion for jazz, blues and American culture provided the artistic inspiration for his work. Brown presented this portrait to Hampton at an 89th birthday party held at Brown’s loft in New York City.
Born February 6, 1945 in Greensboro, GA., Brown grew up on the south side of Chicago. He was a largely self-taught artist, who earned a degree in art and psychology from Southern Illinois University. Brown was influenced by the German Expressionists and Abstract Expressionists like Willem de Kooning, who was a mentor.
You can find Hampton’s portrait on display alongside portraits of other jazz legends including Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Thelonious Monk, and Lena Horne in the National Portrait Gallery’s ongoing Bravo! exhibit in Washington, D.C. In 1994, Brown was also featured in the traveling exhibition “Free Within Ourselves” which displayed the work of African American artists taken from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art. Artwork from Brown’s “Magic Man” series of Native Americans is featured in the Museum’s online exhibition.
Frank Sinatra is the entertainer featured on the 2012 Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) poster for this April’s global celebration.
John Edward Hasse, the National Museum of American History’s Curator of American Music, worked with the renowned artist LeRoy Neiman and Frank Sinatra Enterprises to secure the artwork featured on Mr. Sinatra’s 1993 album Duets.
This is the fourth JAM poster to highlight artwork from Mr. Neiman’s jazz collection. The others are: Duke Ellington (2006), Louis Armstrong (2007), and Dave Brubeck (2010), which features a portrait that Mr. Neiman created for JAM to pay tribute to Mr. Brubeck’s career and recognition as a 2009 Kennedy Center Honoree.
The museum has printed nearly 200,000 posters for free distribution to schools, libraries, music and jazz educators, radio stations, U.S. embassies worldwide, and others.
The National Museum of American History (NMAH) has developed a poster of the legendary jazz artist Mary Lou Williams to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Jazz Appreciation Month in April 2011. The innovative jazz pianist, composer, and arranger who performed with Andy Kirk and the Clouds of Joy, Duke Ellington, and others is one of a handful of women jazz artists included in the new Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology that examines the history of jazz in music and narrative.
The graceful portrait of Ms. Williams was developed for JAM by Keith Henry Brown, a young African American artist with a passion for jazz and a legacy as the former Creative Art Director for Jazz at Lincoln Center.
The National Museum of American History (NMAH) has developed a poster of the legendary jazz artist Dave Brubeck to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month in April.
NMAH Curator of American Music John Hasse worked with the artist LeRoy Neiman to have him create the portrait in tribute to Brubeck. Neiman has provided other jazz works for JAM posters featuring Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.
Brubeck is a 2009 Kennedy Center Honoree. In a White House reception for the Kennedy Center honorees, President Barack Obama remarked that he became a lifelong jazz fan after attending a Dave Brubeck concert with his father.
The museum has printed 250,000 posters for free distribution to schools, libraries, music and jazz educators, music merchants and manufacturers, radio stations, arts presenters, and U.S. embassies worldwide.
The National Museum of American History has developed a 2009 poster of Benny Goodman to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month. The poster features the Al Hirschfeld caricature of Benny Goodman, “The King of Swing,” used with permission by the Benny Goodman.
The museum has printed 250,000 posters for free distribution to schools, libraries, music and jazz educators, music merchants and manufacturers, radio stations, arts presenters, and U.S. embassies worldwide.
The National Museum of American History has issued a new poster to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month. The poster features Ella Fitzgerald, “The First Lady of Song,” with an illustration by the American artist Jeffrey Fulvimari.
Featuring a drawing of Louis Armstrong by LeRoy Neiman.
Featuring a portrait of Duke Ellington by LeRoy Neiman.
Featuring composer-bandleader-percussionist Tito Puente.
Featuring a drawing by Al Hirschfeld of clarinetist-bandleader Artie Shaw.
Featuring Billie Holiday. Lady Day, linoleum print, by artist Peter Bodge from the collections of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
Featuring a linoleum print of Dizzy Gillespie by the artist Peter Bodge.