The Smithsonian kicked off Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM 2013) with donations from jazz greats Randy Weston and Latin jazz drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez at a special ceremony April 9. To commemorate the occasion, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra Quintet presented a special performance featuring Lionel Hampton’s vibraphone. Weston and Hernandez donated artifacts from their careers to the National Museum of American History.
Weston, a jazz pianist, composer and bandleader, is best known for his cultural exploration over five decades of jazz’s links to African roots and rhythms. He donated the African attire he wore in 2011 when he was honored by King Mohammed VI of Morocco for bringing the country’s Gnaoua music traditions to the western world. Cuban-born Hernandez gave a purple drum kit with a special cowbell, designed by him for drummers who play Latin rhythms, which represents his “fusion” style.
The lead sponsor for JAM 2013 is the Argus Fund. Additional funding is provided by BMI, the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation and the National Park Service.
A full schedule of events at the Smithsonian is available online as well as links to resources and oral histories and more at www.smithsonianjazz.org.
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