Jazz

Louis Armstrong's Black & Blues explores the legendary singer and trumpet player's life and legacy.

This Rap Documentarian's Latest Subject? Louis Armstrong

Sacha Jenkins tells the jazz musician's story through rarely-seen archival footage and letters

Members of the Preservation All Stars perform in the hall on August 18, 2022.

 

How Preservation Hall Has Kept New Orleans' Iconic Jazz Alive

The plucky institution staged a brassy comeback for America’s signature music

Designer Samantha Black created three special-edition outfits for Claudie.

New American Girl Doll Celebrates Black Joy During the Harlem Renaissance

Nine-year-old Claudie Wells' story unfolds in 1920s New York

“Bless whoever it was who came up with the idea,” jazz historian Dan Morgenstern says in a Smithsonian interview about Armstrong’s rendition of the holiday chestnut.

The Little-Known Recording of Louis Armstrong Reciting 'The Night Before Christmas'

Shortly before he died, the jazz legend offered his own rendition of the classic holiday poem

Buildings in New Orleans' historic French Quarter, pictured here, sustained damage when Hurricane Ida made landfall on Sunday.

Hurricane Ida Destroys New Orleans Jazz Landmark Dubbed Louis Armstrong's 'Second Home'

The historic Karnofsky Tailor Shop and Residence collapsed on Sunday after water pooled on its roof

Norman Granz and Ella Fitzgerald at a microphone, 1950.

Smithsonian Voices

How Norman Granz Revolutionized Jazz for Social Justice

Often remembered for his artful management of legendary jazz musicians, but Granz also saw the potential for themusic to combat racial inequality

Featured in the museum's first temporary exhibition, the Fisk Jubilee Singers introduced spirituals to audiences around the world.

A New Museum in Nashville Chronicles 400 Years of Black Music

The culmination of two decades of planning, the National Museum of African American Music opened its doors last month

Admas. From left, clockwise: Abegasu Shiota, Henock Temesgen, Tewodros Aklilu, and Yousef Tesfaye.

Smithsonian Voices

Why the Newly Released 1980s Album 'Sons of Ethiopia,' by the Ethiopian D.C. Band Admas, Is Going Viral

Admas draws from and rearranges “golden era” Ethiopian music with then-fairly-new synthesizer and drum-machine rhythms.

Ma Rainey poses with her band for a studio group shot c. 1924-25.

'The Great Gatsby,' Songs by Ma Rainey and Other Classic Works Are Now in the Public Domain

Canonical books, songs and films became free to use in 2021

From L to R: Ellis Marsalis Jr., Bucky Pizzarelli and Wallace Roney

Covid-19

COVID-19 Claims the Lives of Three Jazz Greats

Pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis Jr., trumpeter Wallace Roney, and guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli succumbed to complications caused by the novel coronavirus

American jazz musicians Charlie Parker, on alto sax, and Thelonious Monk, on piano, perform at the Open Door Cafe, in New York City on September 14, 1953.

The Long Journey of Charlie Parker’s Saxophone

The newly acquired instrument, played by the father of bebop, is on view at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggins (1849-1908), born blind and enslaved, was a musical prodigy who began performing as early as 6 years old.

Hitting the High Notes: A Smithsonian Year of Music

The Tragic Story of America’s First Black Music Star

Thomas Wiggins, an African-American musician marketed as ‘Blind Tom’, had a lucrative career—but saw none of the profits himself

The artist says he paints to music, improvising his brushstrokes in the manner of a jazz soloist.

How Peter Wayne Lewis Infuses His Artwork With the Spirit of Jazz

A new exhibit explores bebop and the Buddha

Nina Simone’s Childhood Home Is Under Threat. This Campaign Aims to Save It

The National Trust is hoping to preserve the North Carolina house where Simone first learned to play piano

Norma Miller photographed in 2015

Norma Miller, the ‘Queen of Swing,’ Has Died at 99

An electric performer of the Lindy Hop, Miller dazzled audiences on stage and screen

152 Nassau

Hitting the High Notes: A Smithsonian Year of Music

The Site of Country Music's First Recorded Hit Is Set to Be Demolished

152 Nassau Street in Atlanta was home to the first country music recording hit made before the genre even had a name

None

Hitting the High Notes: A Smithsonian Year of Music

A Smithsonian Year of Music

A special report pulling together our coverage of music within the Smithsonian collections and around the world

Marina Amaral can often find clues to inform her colorization in the shades of gray in the original image

No Color Photos of Jazz Singer Mildred Bailey Existed... Until Now

An artist shows us that the past was not black-and-white

Cool Finds

"Lost" John Coltrane Album to Be Released

<i>Both Directions At Once</i> was recorded in 1963 by the classic quartet and reveals Coltrane's journey from melodic standards to avant-garde jazz

Brown’s portable instrument, 40 inches high by 50 inches wide, had a signature flourish: silver trim.

The Electric Organ That Gave James Brown His Unstoppable Energy

What was it about the Hammond organ that made the 'Godfather of Soul' say please, please, please?

loading icon