Jazz Appreciation Month (fondly known as “JAM”) was first established in 2001 by John Edward Hasse, curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz for the entire month of April.
JAM is intended to stimulate and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz – to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and more.
*Pictured above is the 2015 Jazz Appreciation Month poster highlighting the centennial of Billy Strayhorn.*
Jazz Appreciation Month 2020: Women in Jazz
This year, JAM celebrates the dynamic impact of the often-overlooked contributions that women have made to jazz, both on and off the stage. As performers and conductors, educators, and producers and directors of jazz festivals, women have made their mark but have continued to struggle for recognition on par with their male counterparts.
This year, Smithsonian Jazz is highlighting a multitude of women artists on student-made posters from the Duke Ellington High School for the Arts. Features include Mary Lou Williams, the Sweethearts of Rhythm, Leigh Pilzer, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others. The winning poster features pianist, band leader, and composer Toshiko Akiyoshi.