D’JAM: Celebrating Jazz in North Texas in April by Anne Bothwell (Art&Seek)

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Booker T. Washington students Ben Hickson, Grayson Schweers, Alex Silver, Matthew Babineau, Michael Mitchell (on drums... sorry, Michael)

Who says jazz is dead?

Club-owners, educators, performers and presenters from around the area have decided to take advantage of Jazz Appreciation Month, in April, to highlight the music they love. Their argument: jazz isn’t dead. It’s being performed all the time. You just need to know where to look.

To make it easy, and to help raise that awareness, the group, which calls itself D’Jam (Dallas Jazz Appreciation Month) has collated a schedule that highlights at least one jazz performance every day in April — We’re working on compiling that calendar right now. You can watch this list grow in the coming days. D’JAM chose April because it coincides with the Smithsonian’s Jazz Appreciation Month.

And to kick-start the month,  D’Jam announced today that it will assemble a group of area jazz performers, young and old, for a photo shoot inspired by the classic Esquire magazine photo “Harlem 1958” — made famous by the 1994 documentary, A Great Day in Harlem.  Of course they’ll give it a Dallas twist.  Location for the day is still TBA, but the photographer is already on board: Former Times-Herald photographer  Jesse Hornbuckle.  Arlington Jones, Sammons Jazz Artistic Director, is assembling the musicians.

Students from Booker T. Washington High School performed at the press conference, but they won’t be able to make the photo shoot. They’re going to Monterey for a competition, and if they win, they’ll perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival, says their teacher, Bart Marantz.

Who’s the best sax player, or piano player in Dallas? It’s too hard to say. There are so many, and that is an often-overlooked treasure, says Joanna St. Angelo, executive director of the Sammons Center for the Arts.

“Jerry Jones would be thrilled to have the depth on his bench that we have on ours,” she says.

Participants include Booker T. Washington High School for Visual and Performing Arts; Dallas Jazz Piano Society; Dallas Museum of Art-Jazz in the Atrium; KERA-Art & Seek; Sammons Center for the Performing Arts-Sammons Jazz; Sandaga Jazz; SMU, Meadows School of the Arts; South Dallas Cultural Center; Latino Cultural Center; South Side on Lamar-JK Gallery; St. Paul United Methodist Church; TeCo Theater-Bishop Arts Theatre Center Jazz Series; University of North Texas, College of Music; University of Texas Dallas, School of Arts & Humanities; Uptown Jazz Dallas.

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