This April, Shreve Memorial Library is ready to jam to the sounds of jazz in celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month. Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) was created in 2001 by the National Museum of American History to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz. The celebration is intended to stimulate and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz by studying the music, attending virtual concerts, listening to jazz on radio and recordings, reading books on jazz, and more. The library is celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month with interactive programs and encouraging all to check out the library’s collection of jazz resources including books, audiobooks, compact discs, and online resources.
Jazz Appreciation Month 2021 highlights women’s impact and contributions in jazz, from the earliest developments of jazz to present day. This year, Jazz Appreciation Month recognizes and explores the legacy of pianist, singer, songwriter, storyteller and civil rights activist, Nina Simone. The public is invited to learn more about this year’s featured artist by checking out materials at the library.
Shreve Memorial Library houses many resources focusing on Nina Simone, her works and jazz in general. Titles such as Nina Simone: Anthology, Nina Simone: The Tomato Collection, and The Very Best of Nina Simone: Sugar in My Bowl, 1967 – 1972 are available on CD. The library also has several books highlighting the life and works of Nina Simone including I Put a Spell on You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone by Nina Simone, Nina: Jazz Legend and Civil Rights Activist by Alice Briere-Haquet, and The Geography of Jazz by Leonard D. Moore, a poetry collection focusing on jazz musicians and jazz music as an experience and an inspiration. In addition, online resources such as Hoopla and OverDrive offer e-books, audiobooks, movies and more inspired by and about jazz music and musicians.
On Tuesday, April 13, the Red River Readers Book Club will join the SML Virtual Book Club is discussing the life and works of another jazz great, Louis Armstrong. The book clubs will host “Jazzin’ It Up! A Discussion of POPS: A Life of Louis Armstrong” beginning at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom. The fun, jazz-infused discussion will center on Terry Teachout’s 2009 biography of Louis Armstrong, which draws from hundreds of private recordings of backstage and after-hours conversations that Armstrong made throughout the second half of his life. The virtual book club meeting is free and open to the public. Reading the book, POPS: A Life of Louis Armstrong beforehand is recommended, but not required.
Jazz musician Shenole Latimer will join Shreve Memorial Library’s Jazz Appreciation Month celebration on Thursday, April 22. Latimer will present “What’s All That Jazz About,” a program designed to make jazz accessible to people of all ages, regardless of their musical background or experience. Latimer, a jazz saxophonist, developed “What’s All That Jazz About” as a way to introduce people to jazz through a simple and logical approach, allowing them to understand and appreciate the improvisational aspects of jazz. The highly interactive program combines clever listening games, live music, dramatic storytelling, group participation and humorous demonstrations to introduce audiences to the colorful and expressive American music known as jazz. “What’s All That Jazz About” will take place on Thursday, April 22 at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom.
Registration for the SML Virtual Club’s “Jazzin’ It Up!” discussion and Shenole Latimer’s “What’s All That Jazz About” is required. Both programs are free and open to the public. To register for either event, visit https://bit.ly/SMLjazz2021.