April is Jazz Appreciation Month

KMHD Jazz Radio | April 1, 2014 9:41 a.m. | Updated: April 1, 2014 2:22 p.m.

Contributed By:

Derek Smith

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 “The spirit of jazz is the spirit of openness.”

- Herbie Hancock


There has never been a music on this earth that lives up to the notion of openness and community the way that jazz music does.  It has always been a music open to possibilities, wherever those opportunities appear.  And they have appeared for over one hundred years in every corner of the globe.  Jazz is swing.  Jazz is gypsy jazz.  Jazz is bossa nova.  Jazz is fusion.  Jazz is afrobeat.  Jazz is bebop.  Jazz is a treasure that the world has picked up and put in its pocket.  It’s in your pocket right now, too.

April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) in the United States and while we may listen to the music everyday, this month presents an excellent opportunity to dig a little deeper into the world of jazz.  Our friends at The National Museum of American History have a handy guide to fire your imagination with ideas to delve further and become an active listener.

Perhaps you’ll read Downbeat for the first time, or immerse yourself for hours watching Ken Burns’ Jazz.  Dust off your old jazz records and rediscover the crackling pulse that first stopped you in your tracks.  When the needle finds the groove, you will feel like you have come home again.  I guarantee it. 

Perhaps no finer way exists to appreciate jazz during JAM than going out and seeing the kinetic energy of jazz performed live.  The events listings on our website is stuffed fuller than a bebop band’s touring van.  Take a look, pick a gig and hit the scene.

And take a moment to hit the comments below.  Add your voice to the conversation by sharing your thoughts and feelings for jazz.  How will you dig deeper during Jazz Appreciation Month?  Feel free to also email jazz memories and inspirations to kmhdjazz@opb.org and we’ll share them on the air throughout April.

Let’s begin by hearing how vibraphonist Terry Gibbs’ life got spun around like a 45 by the great guiding hand of bebop.

 

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