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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and Chuck Mangione launched the eighth annual Jazz Appreciation Month April 2 with a special ceremony in the museum’s Carmichael Auditorium marking the 100th anniversary of Benny Goodman’s birth. The ceremony started a month-long celebration of jazz that features performances, talks, tours and family-oriented events. A full schedule of events is available at smithsonianjazz.org.
Mangione, an American jazz musician and composer and a voice actor on the animated TV comedy “King of the Hill,” donated his signature brown felt hat and the score of his Grammy-winning single “Feels So Good,” as well as albums, songbooks and other ephemera from his long and illustrious career to the museum’s music collections. The donation followed a tribute to Mangione’s work by national jazz keyboardist and CEO of Three Keys Music, Marcus Johnson.
“Jazz is a truly American style of music that has played an important role in our heritage,” said Brent D. Glass, museum director. “Through the Smithsonian’s Jazz Appreciation Month activities, we will highlight jazz and its significant history, while exposing audiences to this magnificent contribution to American culture.”
Mangione (b. 1940) started his career as a bebop jazz musician heavily inspired by Dizzy Gillespie but is best known for his upbeat melodic pop tunes. Since 1960, he has released 30 albums including three since 2000. “Feels So Good” is the number-one played song of all time on most smooth-jazz radio stations and has been called the most recognized melody since “Michelle” by the Beatles. Mangione still tours occasionally.
The eighth annual JAM also marks the centennial of Goodman’s birth with a variety of public discussions, tools and music-oriented programs to highlight the life, times and cultural diplomacy of Goodman and jazz artists who performed with him. Goodman is featured on this year’s JAM poster.
Goodman (1909-1986) picked up his first clarinet at age 10. He led one of the most popular musical groups in America in the mid-1930s and was known, along with other nicknames, as the “King of Swing.” Throughout his career he played with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie. He was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1986 after dying of a heart attack.
This year’s JAM will commemorate the impending release of the new Smithsonian Folkways’ 110-track boxed set “Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology.” The six-disc anthology and accompanying 150-page book cover the history of jazz from its birth to its current place in global music. The anthology was produced in association with the National Museum of American History and with assistance from the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
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 grown to include celebrations in all 50 states and 40 other countries in 2008. 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, and organized programs and outreach of their own.
The Smithsonian operates the world’s most comprehensive set of jazz programs and the National Museum of American History is home to jazz collections that include 100,000 pages of Duke Ellington’s unpublished music and such objects as Ella Fitzgerald’s famous red dress, Dizzy Gillespie’s angled trumpet, John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” manuscript and Goodman’s clarinet.
The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. After a two-year renovation and a dramatic transformation, the museum shines new light on American history, both in Washington and online. To learn more about the museum, check http://americanhistory.si.edu. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY).
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