St. Louis, Missouri - April 2, 2009 – To the Smithsonian Institution and its National Museum of American History, the month of April means one thing: Jazz. This April marks the eighth annual commemoration of Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), a celebration of jazz as both a historical and living American art form.
In 2009, the University of Missouri - St. Louis (UMSL) invites you to celebrate JAM during St. Louis' only jazz festival featuring legendary musicians from across the U.S. The three day Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival takes place April 16-18 and attracts 750 students from the Midwest region in the form of 15 jazz combos, 32 big bands from 33 schools. Band clinics are included at the event. St. Louis and its surrounding area are encouraged to attend ticketed performances by four internationally acclaimed jazz legends - John Pizzarelli, Jon Faddis, Lou Marini, Peter Erskine - who will be joined by the university's Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jim Widner. The community is also encouraged to attend free master classes on drums and trumpet led by Peter Erskine and Jon Faddis, two of the top artists and educators in the world. UMSL's Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, presented in association with Contemporary Productions, will take place in the Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall in the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center and Lee Theater (classes) on the UMSL campus. Tickets are $25, $15, and $10 and are available at the Touhill ticket office at Touhill.org or by calling 314-516-4949, toll free 866-516-4949.
"Jazz is an American style of music that represents our cultural heritage," said Jim Widner, UMSL director of jazz studies and festival artistic director. "During Jazz Appreciation Month we will highlight jazz and its history while exposing audiences to a significant piece of American culture. Let jazz inspire you. Check out a performance and bring a child with you."
A leading educational institution in jazz studies, UMSL has customized a list of how Midwest music fans can celebrate JAM.
Top 7 Ways to Celebrate JAM
- Attend a concert(s) during the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival April 17 or 18.
- Study drums and trumpet in a free master class at UMSL April 17 or 18.
- Listen to a jazz radio program and stretch your ears. (KWMU, WSIE, Classic 99).
- Plan now to learn from the masters at the UMSL jazz camp July 12-17.
- Invite an UMSL jazz educator to perform with your band.
- Donate extra or unwanted jazz recordings, books or instruments to UMSL.
- Read a jazz magazine (JAZZed, Down Beat, Jazz Times, JAZZIZ).
JAM is recognized by all 50 states and 20 other countries. In commemorating JAM 2009 with a festival, UMSL continues its collaboration with a diverse group of individuals who have provided financial and in-kind support and organized outreach of their own. For information about the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival visit GSLjazzfest.com.