National Postal Museum Presents a Celebration of Latin Jazz

September 30, 2008
News Release

The National Postal Museum and Smithsonian Jazz Appreciation Month Initiatives present the Latin Jazz Celebration family program on Saturday, Oct. 4, from 2 to 5 p.m., in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. The family event will be kicked-off with a jazz performance by Washington, D.C., student musicians from the Music Teaching Project. Families will celebrate the fiery rhythms, colors and sounds of Latin Jazz with activities centered around the Latin Jazz commemorative stamp released by the U.S. Postal Service earlier this month.

Kids of all ages will enjoy a live and loud demonstration of the conga drum rhythms so central to Latin Jazz presented by Kennith Kimery, executive producer of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, and Felix Contreras, Afro Bop percussionist and National Public Radio producer.

Other activities include learning to design a stamp with designer Michael Bartalos, creating heritage-themed stamp collections to take home and listening to jazz greats discuss their lives and music in recorded oral histories.

“Latin Jazz is magic,” said stamp designer Bartalos. “Few art forms match its rhythms, its soul, its spontaneity and universal appeal. Latin Jazz speaks of color, pattern, light and shadow—continuing to inspire visual artists of both Hispanic heritage and cultures beyond. You’ll enjoy designing your own postage stamp inspired by the music!”

Jazz Appreciation Month is an initiative of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History that provides leadership to advance the field of jazz and promote it as a cultural treasure born in America, celebrated worldwide. Please visit for more information.

The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra was founded in 1990 with an appropriation from the U.S. Congress in recognition of the importance of jazz in American culture and its status as a national treasure. The orchestra, led by Artistic and Musical Director David N. Baker, serves as the orchestra-in-residence at the National Museum of American History, Division of Cultural History. Composed of 18 musicians from across the United States, the orchestra plays authentic and compelling performances of the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie and many other masters.

The National Postal Museum is devoted to presenting the colorful and engaging history of the nation’s mail service and showcasing the largest and most comprehensive collection of stamps and philatelic material in the world. It is located at 2 Massachusetts Avenue N.E., Washington, D.C., across from Union Station. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed on Dec. 25). For more information about the Smithsonian, please call (202) 633-1000 or TTY (202) 633-5285, Web site:

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