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For jazz experts and dedicated music fans, music appreciation extends beyond concerts and clubs.
At these notable music museums around the USA, fill up on your knowledge of jazz history, an American-born musical genre, and other popular musical styles.
American Jazz Museum – Kansas City, Missouri
In the city’s historic jazz district at 18th and Vine, you’ll find the American Jazz Museum. The facility focuses primarily on artists such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Charlie Parker who had notable connections with Kansas City’s jazz scene. Discover the museum’s music mixing station and other interactive exhibits, along with a small selection of memorabilia, including a gown worn by Fitzgerald and one of Parker’s saxophones. The museum’s own music venue, the Blue Room Jazz Club, hosts live shows four nights a week. Be sure to take a photo of Parker’s statue just around the block.
Learning about Kansas City’s jazz scene while touring the American Jazz Museum
National Jazz Museum in Harlem and Louis Armstrong House Museum – New York, New York
With legends such as Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington headlining Harlem’s Cotton Club in the 1930s, New York City became a mecca for jazz performers. The National Jazz Museum in Harlem holds fascinating artifacts – including Ellington’s piano and an old phonograph – as well as an outstanding archive collection of rare live radio broadcasts and writings about jazz by American author Ralph Ellison. For Louis Armstrong fans, a visit to the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens, is a must to see where the jazz great lived from 1943 until he died in 1971.
A statue of pianist and orchestra leader Duke Ellington in Harlem in New York City
New Orleans Jazz Museum – New Orleans, Louisiana
The New Orleans Jazz Museum is on the edge of the French Quarter near the Frenchmen Street music mecca. Explore the city that invented jazz music and enjoy the museum that tells its story. The museum also houses the world’s largest collection of instruments played by iconic jazz musicians. Look for Louis Armstrong’s first cornet and Fats Domino’s piano. Stroll along Frenchmen Street to continue your jazz education in the city’s live music corridor.
A sculpture celebrating street musicians in the Roots of Music Cultural Sculpture Garden in New Orleans' Louis Armstrong Park
Musical Instrument Museum – Phoenix, Arizona
Housing nearly 7,000 instruments, the Musical Instrument Museum, also known as the MIM, catalogs unique examples from nearly every corner of the world across the centuries as well as personal items from famous performers such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Steve Vai, Alice Cooper and John Lennon. To see what the museum has on display for jazz fanatics, head to its United States Gallery. Don’t miss the Experience Gallery for a rare opportunity to try unusual instruments. Make sure to catch an act in the museum’s concert hall, which is known for its world-class acoustics.
The art and architecture of the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix
Grammy Museums – Los Angeles, California, and Cleveland, Mississippi
One of the highest musical achievement honors, the Grammy Awards have two related museums that are must-sees for music fans. The Los Angeles location features traveling exhibits, some of which have focused on jazz greats such as John Coltrane and Ella Fitzgerald. The Grammy Museum in Cleveland boasts a similarly impressive catalog of memorabilia with an emphasis on interactive exhibits and a hall dedicated to Mississippi musicians. Did you know nearly 8 percent of all Grammy Award winners are from Mississippi?
Visiting the Grammy Museum in Cleveland, Mississippi
Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame – Tulsa, Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame façade is striking. A former train depot, the art deco-style building in downtown Tulsa hosts weekly jazz jam sessions as well as concerts, education programs and special events. Inside, learn about more than 125 legendary inductees from the jazz, gospel and blues genres. They include Elvin Bishop, J.J. Cale, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Mahalia Jackson.
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