Dallas Jazz Appreciation Month
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.
D’JAM events range from concerts and festivals to a visual art exhibit and film screening. The annual salute is highlighted by a free concert and open house in mid-April. Everybody is invited to come and enjoy live music by local jazz groups, giveaways like the “Great Day in Dallas” poster, featuring nearly 70 local jazz artists photographed by Jesse Hornbuckle, and the D’JAM Jazz Legends Awards presentation.
The National Initiative
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 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.
Jazz Appreciation Month (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 Jazz Appreciation Month.
D’JAM Open House 2019
Photography: Bart Marantz