Art Works Blog

All That Jazz: A #JazzAppreciationMonth Podcast Round-up

If you have a love for jazz and want to “be a part of the musical conversation”—like 2018 NEA Jazz Master Dianne Reeves—then April might just be your favorite month! In 2001 the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History designated April as Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) in order to celebrate the heritage and history of “America’s music.” Since then, each spring across the United States, schools, organizations, and government institutions have celebrated JAM with their communities by hosting events ranging from free concerts to educational programs.

To add to this month’s festivities, we invite you to join us—in person or online—for the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert at the Kennedy Center on Monday, April 16 at 8:00 pm E.T. You can expect a jamming good time as we honor new Jazz Masters Todd Barkan, Joanne Brackeen, Pat Metheny, and Dianne Reeves. Find more information about the concert here

Speaking of NEA Jazz Masters, to help you get jazzed for JAM, we’ve rounded up several memorable quotes from seven of our Jazz Masters including Carla Bley, Sonny Rollins, and Dianne Reeves. Click on the artist’s name to listen to their Art Works podcast episode.

photo of Ahmad Jamal with quote by him

Photo of Ahmad Jamal courtesy of DL Media

"When I play, I'm playing years and years of hard work, years of ups and downs, years of grief and joy and peace, and so it tells a story. A musician's telling his life when he's on the concert stage. He's performing his life." -- Ahmad Jamal 

quote by Carla Bley with photo of her looking at a musical score

"I grab the tune by the horns, and just work on it all morning. There's no such thing as, 'Oh, I'm not inspired,' or 'I don't feel like it.' That's the absolutely strangest thing that I could ever say." -- Carla Bley

quote by Keith Jarrett with photo of him

Photo of Keith Jarrett by Michael G. Stewart

"What I'm seeking is this music that's in the air that is ready to be played at all times, that's why I show up at a concert." -- Keith Jarrett

quote by DeeDee Bridgewater with photo of her

Photo of DeeDee Bridgewater by Mark Higashino

"I'm very grateful to Billie [Holiday] and to Ella [Fitzgerald] because those are the women who have walked me to the Grammy podium. Every year, I do at least one Ella Fitzgerald concert. So I will walk with Ella probably for the rest of my life, which isn't a bad thing at all." -- DeeDee Bridgewater

quote from Sheila Jordan with photo of her

Photo of Sheila Jordan by Jimmy Bruch

"You will find a place to sing if you really want it. Even though you have to support the music until it can support you." -- Sheila Jordan

quote from Dianne Reeves with photo of her

Photo of Dianne Reeves by Jerris Madison

"I realized that the music was a kind of language and that there was a conversation going on on the stage musically that, at that time, I wasn't part of, and I know I wanted to be a part of the conversation." -- Dianne Reeves

quote by Sonny Rollins with photo of him

Photo of Sonny Rollins by JMW

"...the greatest thing in the world is to be playing your instrument. That's the greatest thing in the world because it's you and the universe. Just communing with your instrument. I don't see what can top that." -- Sonny Rollins


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