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Jazz at the National Archives

Jazz logo large greyFrom posters and photographs to film and sound recordings, the National Archives has a remarkable collection of jazz-related records that trace its influence throughout American history. Drawing from these records, the National Archives Museum and the National Archives Foundation were proud to present a programming series about the history of jazz. From April (National Jazz Appreciation Month) to August 2014, there was free public programming, concerts, film screenings, special events, and family activities at the National Archives in Washington, DC, exploring one of America’s greatest cultural exports.

Explore our featured jazz records.

Jazz Diplomacy: Sending America’s Music to the World

On April 28, 2014, John Edward Hasse—author, curator, biographer of Duke Ellington, and founder of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra—led a discussion on efforts by the United States Information Agency, the Voice of America, and the U.S. Department of State to use Jazz as a diplomatic tool during the Cold War, incorporating photographic, motion picture, and sound recordings from the National Archives. Panelists included: Ambassador David Killion, former U.S. Permanent Representative to UNESCO; David Ensor, Director of Voice of America; and Dr. Penny M. Von Eschen, author of Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War.

Jazz in the USA: On the 60th Anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival

For the 60th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival, journalist Soledad O’Brien moderated a panel discussion on June 19, 2014, with George Wein, founder of the Newport Jazz Festival; Dan Morgenstern, author, archivist, and NEA Jazz Master; and jazz musicians Jonathan Batiste and Christian McBride. Film clips of the 1960 festival from the holdings of the National Archives complement the discussion.

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“Jazz at the National Archives” is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of Natixis Global Asset Management.