What is D’JAM?

Dallas Jazz Appreciation Month (D’JAM) is a special monthlong celebration of all things jazz, including the amazing jazz artists, past and present, legends and rising stars, who call North Texas home. Held each April as part of the national program called Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), D’JAM presents a variety of events highlighting and showcasing jazz in the greater Dallas area. The local initiative is coordinated by a volunteer collective of jazz presenters, jazz educators, and jazz supporters that includes nonprofit arts groups, universities, festivals, high schools, cultural centers, jazz clubs, and museums.

The National Initiative

2022 JAM Poster: Latin Jazz and the Spirit of ‘Cachao” López

“In August 2003, at the behest of the Smithsonian, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 108-72, legislation signed by the President, declaring: “(1) the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History should be commended for establishing a Jazz Appreciation Month; and (2) musicians, schools, colleges, libraries, concert halls, museums, radio and television stations, and other organizations should develop programs to explore, perpetuate, and honor jazz as a national and world treasure.” The purpose of Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) is to draw greater public attention to the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz and its importance as an American cultural heritage. Also, JAM is intended to stimulate the current jazz scene and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz—to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and support institutional jazz programs.

JAM is intended to draw public attention to the glories of jazz as both a historical and a living treasure. The idea is to encourage musicians, concert halls, schools, colleges, museums, libraries, jazz presenters and public broadcasters to offer special programs on jazz every April. Organizations and communities all over the country are encouraged to participate in their own way.”

Listen to a recorded message from the late great Roy Hargrove, who grew up in Dallas, as he explains the importance of JAM.


All D’JAM events are FREE and open to the public, please RSVP at bit.ly/djamrsvp for event updates and changes.

D’JAM Jazz Stroll | April 29, 2023

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D’JAM celebrates 10 years with its first annual Jazz Stroll in the Dallas Arts District! This “Day of Jazz” is a free community event open to the public and will transform Flora Street into a Jazz Alley with participating venues on Saturday, April 29 from 1PM-7PM. A great way to spend an afternoon in the Dallas Arts District enjoying great jazz. Try lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants or venues or go early to enjoy the music before catching a performance at your favorite arts venue. Help us celebrate Dallas Jazz Appreciation Month by coming out to sample a medley of local jazz music!

Venues and Times:

Dallas Museum of Art – Lobby | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. | Carolyn Lee Jones & the Satin Dolls Band

Nasher Sculpture Center – Outdoors | 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. | Nina Katrina Quartet

Meyerson Symphony Center – Outdoors | 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. | Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra Jazz Group

La Stella – Outdoors | 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | David Slater with guest Ally Guba

Booker T. Washington High School – Indoors | 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | BTWHS Big Band

AT&T Performing Arts Center – Outdoors | 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. | Jazz Becuzz’s Candace “Mahogany” Miller

Klyde Warren Park – Outdoors | 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. | Shelley Carrol

*St. Paul United Methodist Church | 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Quamon Fowler Quartet/Erskine Hawkins Trio & Jazz Legend Awards

Program is subject to change.

*D’JAM Legends of Jazz Awards

2:45 p.m. | The D’JAM Legend of Jazz Awards Ceremony will be held at St. Paul United Methodist Church join us to celebrate our Jazz Legends.

Jazz Artist: Mario Cruz

Educator: Paris Rutherford (Posthumous)

Jazz Supporter: Judy Watson

Jazz Innovator: Daniel Jones

Read more about the 2023 Jazz Legends here.



April 22 | 4:00 p.m. | Angelika Film Center – Dallas

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D’JAM partners with the USA Film Festival.

About the film:

The Marsalis family has been a cultural force since Wynton and Branford reached sudden stardom in New York but far too little is known about the patriarch, pianist Ellis Marsalis, who paved their way. Told in the words and music of Ellis Marsalis, ELLIS chronicles the life of this exceptional New Orleans performer, composer, and educator, the profound influence that the city had on him — and that he had on the jazz that came out of New Orleans.  It is also a story of how one man transcended racial injustices he faced from his childhood during segregation to his death from COVID 19.

Interlaced with interviews with his colleagues and his sons Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, Ellis III and Jason Marsalis, archival footage takes us from segregated New Orleans to his final concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC and a solo concert performed exclusively for the film.

More than a portrait of one of jazz’s heroes, the film places Ellis within key threads of American cultural history as someone who was both deeply affected by the political shifts of his time and who helped to shape them.


After the film join us for a Q&A session with director Sascha Just and Delfeayo Marsalis moderated by Sammons Jazz Artistic Director and Steinway Artist Arlington Jones. Read more about them below.

Read More About Sascha Just

Sascha Just

Sascha Just is a New York-based filmmaker, born and raised in Berlin. She emigrated to the US to make films about jazz and jazz-related topics.

Prior to Ellis, Sascha produced and directed Heirs, a feature-length documentary about three New Orleans artists, the short documentary Big Chief about New Orleans Black Indian Chief Darryl Montanta’s path to Mardi Gras, and the short documentary Ambassadors about a competition for the title Jazz Ambassadors to the US. Sascha’s films screened among other at DOC NYC, the American Documentary Film Festival, Katra Film Series, The Segal Film Festival, and the International Institute “Interweaving Performance Cultures”. Ambassadors is part of the permanent collection of the Rancho Mirage Public Library and was finalist for best short documentary at the Queens World Film Festival, 2014.

For her work on the Freytag Collection, an archive of New Orleans performers and performance traditions, the United States Government granted her the rare national interest-based permanent resident status.

Sascha holds a BA in Film, an MA /PhD in Theater Studies  from the City University of New York (CUNY). She teaches in the Communications Department of Baruch College, CUNY.

Read More About Delfeayo Marsalis

As an acclaimed trombonist, composer, and producer, Delfeayo Marsalis has also dedicated his prolific career to music theatre and education. Along with the Marsalis family of musicians including his father Ellis, the artist was destined to a life in music.

Marsalis has toured internationally with jazz legends such as Ray Charles, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Elvin Jones and Slide Hampton, as well as leading his own groups.

At the age of 17, Marsalis began his career as a producer and has to date produced over 120 recordings garnering one Grammy award and several nominations.

In 2008, he formed the Uptown Jazz Orchestra, a highly entertaining ensemble that focuses on maintaining important jazz traditions such as riff playing, New Orleans polyphony and spontaneous arrangements.

Delfeayo also formed the Uptown Music Theatre in 2000. A non-profit organization that empowers youth through musical theatre training. He has written sixteen musicals to date based on historical and/or uniting the community. In addition, he has composed over 90 songs that help introduce kids to jazz through musical theatre and has reached over 5,000 students nationally with his Swinging with the Cool School soft introduction to jazz workshops.

Marsalis has a dual Bachelor’s degree in Music performance and Production from Berklee College of Music, and a Masters in Jazz Performance from the University of Louisville. A Doctorate has also been conferred from the New England College.

Also screening…


April 21 | 9:30 p.m. | Angelika Film Center – Dallas

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Born in 1935 on Bonnie Blue plantation in Tunica, Mississippi, apprenticing with Sonny Boy Williamson II and Howlin’ Wolf, and schooled by Muddy Waters, James ‘Super Harp’ Cotton became a mentor to harp players around the globe as he brought the delta blues into mainstream rock ‘n roll, performing on the international stage until his death at age 81. Orphaned at age 9, Cotton’s journey tracks America’s history and his story is one of empowerment during a time when the weight of racial inequity made the journey seem impossible. Bonnie Blue:James Cotton’s Life in the Blues is a unique portrait of an era and its impact today. Cotton’s music made history; his musical voice was unique, and the blues were never the same. Directed/produced by Bestor Cram – and executively produced by Judy Laster, James Montgomery and Sam Pollard — the emotionally evocative documentary features interviews with many of today’s most prominent musicians including Buddy Guy, Billy Branch, Bobby Rush, Steve Miller, Jimmie Vaughan and Keb’ Mo’ combined with unique live performances and archival footage to create an authentic rendering of Cotton’s harmonica power and his enduring musical influence.

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