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PHOENIX: May 22, 2012 Download this press release >

MIM Opens New Jazz Exhibit on May 26

Public Invited to Celebrate with Curator Talks, Live Jazz Music, Special Café Menu, and More!

PHOENIX (May 22, 2012) On May 26, the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) will open a new exhibit dedicated to the beloved genre of jazz. The exhibit, located in the museum’s United States/Canada gallery, will be home to some of jazz history’s most noteworthy instruments and will be one of the largest genre exhibits in the museum.

The new jazz exhibit will include approximately 20 instruments, many played by jazz greats, as well as original, unreleased performance footage of Stanley Turrentine, Herbie Mann, Spyro Gyra, and others from Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild.

MIM, a Smithsonian Affiliate, collaborated with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to display instruments from legendary jazz artists. The following loaned objects will be on view through 2014:

  • Cornet associated with Louis Armstrong – Highly regarded as one of the most influential musicians in history, Armstrong likely learned on this horn owned by Peter Davis, a teacher at the New Orleans’ Colored Waifs’ Home, where Armstrong lived from 1913‒1914.
  • Clarinet played by Benny Goodman – Widely recognized as the most popular clarinetist in American history, Goodman played this clarinet during the latter part of his career.
  • Trumpet played by Harry James – James was one of the leading trumpeters and bandleaders of the Swing Era.
  • Clarinet played by Artie Shaw – Shaw played this clarinet during the recording of Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine.” Trombone played by J. J. Johnson – Johnson, the most influential jazz trombonist after World War II, adapted Charlie Parker’s virtuosic bebop style to the slide trombone.

Other treasured instruments on display include:

  • Trumpet mouthpiece and mute used by Miles Davis – One of jazz’s greatest innovators, Davis used this mouthpiece and mute during the 1980s.
  • Guitar played by Charlie Christian – A 1940 ES-250 electric guitar played by Christian, a key figure in the development of bebop.
  • Drum set played by Lewis Nash – Nash is one of the most-recorded drummers in jazz history.
  • Guitar played by Pat Metheny – A guitar played by the renowned Metheny on the 1979 album “New Chautauqua,” which launched jazz’s Americana movement.

“We are proud to display such wonderful pieces of jazz history together in a single exhibit,” said MIM curator Cullen Strawn. “Jazz is a musical family containing an incredibly wide range of expression and ongoing innovation. It truly is a national treasure that is celebrated around the world, making it a perfect fit for a place of honor at MIM.”

MIM will celebrate the exhibit opening with a variety of special events on May 26. The festivities will include two curator talks about instruments featured in the jazz exhibit; live jazz music; jazz songs played on the Apollonia dance organ; a jazz-themed menu in the Café at MIM; and jazz music, books, and gifts available for purchase in the Museum Store. Visit for a full schedule of events.

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About MIM
MIM enriches the world community by collecting, preserving, and making accessible high-quality musical instruments, images, and music from every country in the world. We celebrate our world’s diverse musical cultures and foster global understanding by offering our guests an incomparable interactive experience, a welcome and fun environment, dynamic programming, and exceptional musical performances.

Media Contact
Erin Miller, Media Relations Specialist