About the exhibit: There are two prerequisites
for This Music We Call Jazz. When it is performed it must swing, compelling the listener to move or dance, and it must have
that quintessential element of improvisation, the ability of the musicians to move from formal written musical notes to stylized
personal interpretations. The roots of jazz can be traced to the percussion ensembles of Africa, representations of
which were documented at Sunday performances at Congo Square in New Orleans during the early 1800s. The music’s
various incarnations as Dixieland, swing, bebop, big band and fusion have been instrumental in the sound track of the American
On September 29, 1947, African-American
trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie presented his big band in a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City. On the bandstand that
evening was Chano Pozo, a Cuban conga player whose traditional Cuban rhythms, in collaboration with Gillespie’s bop
style, introduced a new style of cultural cross connection that was dubbed “Afro Cuban”, and later became known
as Latin Jazz.
The exhibit utilizes visual art: photographs,
paintings, drawings, collages and mixed media to examine some of the major historical and contemporary figures of the medium.
Most of the artwork has been designed specifically for the exhibit, and our goal is to demonstrate the manner in which
music, the most universal of all art forms, connects Jazz lovers, artists, and performers of disparate backgrounds on an intercultural
level that goes beyond nationality and ethnicity - Mansa K. Mussa.