May 28, 2024

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Jazz and Justice! Colorful painting featuring six musicians, that reads “Jazz Appreciation Month 2018” Video

 

The 2018 Jazz Appreciation Month Poster is the second in a special three-year series featuring the center section of LeRoy Neiman’s Big Band, a large-scale painting that hangs on the first floor of the National Museum of American History.

The JAM Posters from 2017 and 2019 feature the left and right side of the painting respectively, so that when all three are hung next to each other, the iconic painting can be recreated! Big Band is a gift of the LeRoy Neiman Foundation.

This year, JAM invites all jazz fans and appreciators to look beyond the music to the dynamic ways jazz has played a transformative role in social justice, musicians’ rights, and equality. Our featured JAM artist this year, producer Norman Granz, devoted his life to civil rights and equality – within the music industry and beyond. Through numerous record labels and his iconic touring show, Jazz at the Philharmonic, he helped propel many jazz musicians to greatness. Fittingly, all the musicians featured in this section of the JAM poster had careers that overlapped or were influenced by Norman Granz:

  • Charles Mingus (bass) – performed with Jazz at the Philharmonic in 1945.
  • Benny Goodman (clarinet) – while Benny Goodman didn’t publicly work with Norman Granz, he was an iconic musician in his own right and important to LeRoy Neiman (the artist behind this painting).
  • Gerry Mulligan (saxophone) – had multiple albums produced under Norman’s lable, Verve Records, including Blues in TimeJazz Giants ’58Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster, and more.
  • Lester Young (saxophone) – performed with Jazz at the Philharmonic for 12 years and recorded a couple albums produced by Norman Granz.
  • Charlie Parker (saxophone) – performed with Jazz at the Philharmonic and recoreded Charlie Parker with Strings produced by Norman Granz under Verve Records in 1949-50, fulfilling a long-held desire to perform with a string section.
  • John Coltrane (saxophone) – toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic during its later years and released several albums under one of Norman Granz’s earlier labels, Pablo Records, including Afro Blue Impressions.

This poster helps form the larger whole of Big Band and, with the 2017 poster, illustrates the diverse performers and styles that defined jazz as an inclusive space. This inclusivity extended beyond the musicians to the people behind the scenes, including our featured artist, producer Norman Granz. Check our featured artist page here to learn more about his work and legacy.

LeRoy Neiman (1921 – 2012) was an American artist known for his brilliantly colored, expressionist paintings and screen prints of athletes, musicians and sporting events. Neiman had a great love for jazz and spent more than 50 years sketching and painting musicians in an attempt to portray how it felt to watch jazz performances as well as how the sounds and colors evoked emotions and movement. Completed in 2005, Neiman’s painting, Big Band depicts performers he saw in concert from the 1950-80s.

Colorful painting featuring six musicians and text that reads "Jazz Appreciation Month 2018"

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