Music lovers celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month in April


by Sosie Gehling, Staff Reporter

April is Jazz Appreciation Month.

For some, jazz holds more importance than other musical genres. Jazz is described by Professor Dave Camwell, who conducts the jazz band on campus, as “a living testimony to the American musical heritage” and “a living art form under the skill and care of many generations of talented musicians.”

Jazz was born through the soul of African-Americans in the late 1800s in New Orleans. It originated out of hymns and work songs and transformed into the embodiment of lost love and injustice and celebrated the victory of standing tall when faced with adversity.

From there, it expanded into a catch-all genre that was the father of rhythm and blues, contemporary, fusion, Latin and funk music.

Jazz Appreciation Month started in April 2001 by John Hasse, ambassador of Jazz at the Smithsonian Institution, as a tribute to important jazz musicians and styles of the past and to celebrate jazz today.

Some of the most recognized jazz musicians include Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington.

Not only did jazz influence people of all backgrounds and cultures, it was one of the best forms of expression.

“Jazz is so personally moldable to an artists’ innate sensibilities, and as such, is one of the most directly aesthetic, powerful, meaningful and approachable musical forms in the world today,” Camwell said.

People celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month by attending concerts and various events, many of which are hosted by museums around the country.

The Continental in the East Village will host a Jazz Happy House event on Thursday, April 7, from 5 p.m to 7 p.m., and the Des Moines Community Jazz Center will host an 11-hour jazz festival at Java Joe’s on Sunday, April 12, from 9 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.