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Smithsonian Celebrates Global Reach Of Jazz During Jazz Appreciation Month

National Museum of American History Adds Artifacts from Jazz Greats Weston and Hernandez

Donation Ceremony: 10:30 a.m. April 9, Open to Media

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History will mark the 12th annual Jazz Appreciation Month with a global cultural perspective April 9, receiving jazz artifacts from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Master Randy Weston and Latin Jazz drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez. A financial gift from the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation will establish the first endowment fund to support JAM, a month-long celebration advancing appreciation of jazz as America's original music.

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 will donate the African attire he wore in 2011 when honored by King Mohammed VI of Morocco for bringing the country's Gnaoua music traditions to the western world. Cuban-born Hernandez will give a purple drum kit with a special cowbell designed by him for drummers who play Latin rhythms, which represents his "fusion" style.

This year's JAM 2013 programs include free performances by Weston and Hernandez as well as talks, tours and family-oriented events in venues around Washington, D.C., under the theme "The Spirit and Rhythms of Jazz." Highlights include the April 9 "Latin Jazz Jam!," co-presented with the George Washington University, that includes a concert with Hernandez and Giovanni Hidalgo and Weston's April 10 "Nubian Suite" concert with music and historical narrative from his jazz opus. NEA Jazz Master Candido Camero will be the featured guest performer with Weston's African Rhythms in the museum's Warner Bros. Theater with a first-come, first-accommodated seating policy.

On April 26, jazz artist and composer John Clayton will join the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra in a tribute to NEA Jazz Master John Levy, a bassist who gained acclaim beginning in the 1940s for his business savvy as the country's first African American jazz business manager. His clients ranged from British pianist George Shearing to jazz vocalist Nancy Wilson.

A full schedule of events at the Smithsonian is available online as well as links to resources and oral histories and more at http://smithsonianjazz.org/. As part of its educational mission, more than 100,000 posters featuring Lionel Hampton have been distributed to schools, organizations and government agencies in the U.S. and abroad through the Department of Education, the U.S. State Department and other collaborators. April 30 is International Jazz Day, which will be marked by an international event in Istanbul, co-sponsored by UNESCO and the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz.

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. The museum launched JAM in 2001 as an annual event that pays tribute to jazz both as a historic and living American art form. It has since grown to include celebrations in all 50 states and 40 other countries. In celebrating JAM, the museum joins with a diverse group of organizations, institutions, corporations, associations and  federal agencies that have provided financial and in-kind support, as well as organizing programs and outreach of their own.

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