J is for Jazz...
April happens to be Jazz Appreciation month. It was started in 2001 with initial funding from the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation to be an annual event that would pay tribute to jazz. Schools, organizations and even government celebrate JAM with events like free concerts and educational programs.
According to Wikipedia, Jazz is a music genre that originated from African-American communities of New Orleans during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to Ella Fitzgerald, big names in jazz are Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, George Benson, Herbie Hancock and Count Basie.
In talking about jazz, one of the first things that comes to my mind is the movie, The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson. It was a significant film in that it signaled the end of the silent movies and the beginning of the "talkies."
The original film was made in 1927 and won an Academy Award for producer Darryl F. Zanuck. In 1996 the movie was selected for preservation in the U.S. Library of Congress' National Film Registry as a "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant motion picture. In 1998 it was voted as one of the best American films of all times by the American Film Institute.
The story is of a young Jewish boy, Jakie Rabinowitz, who wants to sing but his father, a cantor, believes that singing is only to be done in the synagogue. The usual conflict ensues and the young man and his father have a major argument and Jakie leaves home to follow his dreams. I won't tell you the end of the story, but it is a classic so if you haven't seen it, you should check it out. There was a 1980 remake of the film with Neil Diamond playing the title role. That was a pretty good one too.
Jazz it is for the letter "J." Have you seen the Jazz Singer, either version? Jazz your favorite musical genre? Love to hear about it.
As a side note, I want to acknowledge that I get some of my interesting holiday facts from the site called Brownilocks at http://www.brownielocks.com. There are so many little known and unusual holidays for every month of the year so if you are looking for something different to write about, take a look at her site.