“VIRGINIA JAZZ: The Early Years” highlighting seven decades of Virginia artists and their contributions to the development of jazz as an American art form, is now open.
The exhibition, whose tours can be scheduled in advance, features items curated by Richmond Jazz Society, Inc. as well as others contributed by family and descendants of the featured artists. The presentation includes photographs, biographies, memorabilia, and a video montage of vintage film clips and music.
Jazz greats such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Miles Davis are recognizable around the world, but the exhibition focuses on musical geniuses from Virginia who have also made significant contributions to the music genre. Their stories may not have been as widely told or remembered however they are no less relevant.
After all, Richmond’s Historic Jackson Ward was once called “The Harlem of the South,” said BJ Brown, Executive Director of Richmond Jazz Society.
“We are thrilled to present our critically acclaimed exhibition VIRGINIA JAZZ: The Early Years at The Black History Museum. The exhibition has been expanded since its original display and includes additional artists; more artifacts; a special visual collection of historic venues and a display of vintage instruments that tell their own stories. It is truly a wonderful celebration of our Virginia Jazz heroes!”
During the exhibition run, the museum will present programs and musical performances that bring it to life. Visitors are encouraged to share their family stories related to the Virginia jazz experience with the goal of inspiring a new generation to keep jazz alive.
Adele Johnson, executive director of the Black History Museum said, “I am so excited that the Black History Museum has the opportunity to host this exhibition. As someone who loves jazz music, I was familiar with many of the stories yet there was still so much I didn’t know. We hope visitors will have that same feeling- reconnecting with things they may know while learning something new about this musical genre that is so important to African American culture.”
Exhibition tours can be scheduled by contacting the BHMVA (Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia) at 804-780-9093.