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Celebrate Jazz

Signature Events

Event Details

Indulge your love for all things jazz with live performances of West Coast jazz, bebop, and Latin jazz; screenings of episodes from the Ken Burns film Jazz; and a workshop on the art of scat singing.

Sponsored by Susan & Lee Berk

Gifts Available for Purchase
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
The Museum Store invites you to celebrate one of America’s most beloved genres of music with a special selection of books on the rich history of jazz, a variety of CDs, and gifts including miniature instruments and vinyl-record clocks and journals.

Instrument Spotlight: Jazz Guitar
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Once the guitar became electrified, there was no stopping artists like Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery from turning it into an instrument perfectly suited for jazz. Try out two of MIM’s electric guitars at the “instrument spotlight” table and then check out The Electric Guitar: Inventing an American Icon in the Target Gallery to see one of Charlie Christian’s guitars on display!

Photo Booth
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Have your picture taken with jazzy musical props at MIM’s custom photo booth, and instantly get your own copy to take home.

Screenings of Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns
10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Dive deeper into the story of jazz and get to know the icons who changed the music industry forever as MIM screens episodes from PBS’s Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns. The Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, World War II, and the civil rights movement provide the cultural backdrop for these episodes as they highlight the unprecedented and lasting impact of jazz music. As part of this weekend’s celebration, MIM is privileged to share one full-length episode of this remarkable documentary each day.

Curator Talk: Jazz Around the World
11:15 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
The history of jazz is often told through developments in various American cities. However, jazz quickly caught on outside the United States as well. Join David Wegehaupt, associate curator for United States / Canada and Europe, as we travel through time and around the world learning about the innovative musicians who helped make jazz a global phenomenon.

Guest Lecture: Uniting Arizona Around Jazz
12:15–1:00 p.m.
Join international jazz singer and musician Sandra Bassett for an engaging look at the historical impact and continued importance of jazz in Arizona. Originally from Detroit, Bassett embraces the musical history of her birthplace and enjoys performing in many styles, including jazz, R&B, blues, and Motown. As the education director for the International Jazz Day AZ Foundation, Bassett works closely with its founder, Dr. William Doc Jones, to celebrate this distinctly American genre and unite Arizona around its significance.

This talk is presented in partnership with

Jazz Day AZ Logo

Latin Jazz Performance
1:15–2:00 p.m. (Saturday)
Josiel Perez’s Afro-Cuban All-Stars kick off the first performance of the weekend with a set of vibrant Latin jazz tunes, a fusion between Afro-Cuban dance music and bebop of 1940s New York City. To start the show, hear the next generation of local jazz musicians in Paradise Valley Community College’s Latin Jazz Ensemble.

Bebop Performance
1:15–2:00 p.m. (Sunday)
Come hear the Nash Bebop Ensemble play the music that catalyzed the shift in jazz from popular dance music for the masses to art music that pushed the boundaries of the modern sophisticate’s aural palate. One of Arizona’s most well-known jazz organizations, the Nash is named for Phoenix’s very own jazz drumming legend, Lewis Nash, and collaborates with partners across the country.

Scat Singing Workshop
2:15–3:00 p.m.
Scat singing is a technique of vocal improvisation with wordless syllables in which the voice is used to imitate an instrument. Put your scat-singing talent to the test at a workshop led by Dennis Rowland and Diana Lee! With decades of experience on the scene and a who’s who list of collaborators including Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and George Benson, these two will provide the knowledge and know-how to have you scatting in no time.

Traditional Jazz Performance
3:15–4:00 p.m. (Saturday)
At the outset of the twentieth century, New Orleans was the center of a musical phenomenon that is now recognized as one of America’s greatest cultural achievements. With firm roots in African American communities and the musical styles of blues and ragtime, jazz was born from the convergence of African and European musical sensibilities. Enjoy a performance of traditional New Orleans jazz by the Authentic Jazz Cats and hear the origins of jazz as it is known and appreciated today.

West Coast Jazz Performance
3:15–4:00 p.m. (Sunday)
If bebop had a counterpoint, it was surely the music being played in Los Angeles and San Francisco in the 1950s, which offered a cooler approach to jazz than the “hot” sounds coming out of New York City. Artists like Dave Brubeck and Chet Baker repopularized jazz in the mainstream, bringing it to post–World War II America with the help of emerging media outlets and technologies like television, film, radio, 45s, and LP records. Join Union 32 as they close out MIM’s Celebrate Jazz weekend with a performance that highlights the West Coast’s jazz scene.

Café Allegro Lunch Menu Highlights

“Scat-Singing” Seafood Gumbo with Creole-Spiced Crab, Sausage, and Shrimp over Rice

“Latin Jazzy” Chicken Soup with Avocado, Lime, and Tortilla

“Cool Jazz” Jambalaya with Chicken, Shrimp, and Andouille Sausage

“Harmonic” Cajun Shrimp Étouffée

Sponsored by

  • Susan & Lee Berk