Thursday, December 18, 2014

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New Exhibit Introduces Jazz to Kids

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"Jazzed" is a new exhibit that celebrates the history and legacy of jazz in Harlem, and aims to introduce the music to a new generation of fans. NY1's Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.

Think of it as a jazz club for kids.

A new exhibit at the Children's Museum of Manhattan lets little ones hear, touch, and most importantly, feel jazz.

"Jazz may have been born in New Orleans, but it's had its longest and most vibrant home right here in New York City," says Loren Schoenberg, Artistic Director at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

The exhibit, which was co-created by the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, celebrates the legacy of jazz during the Harlem Renaissance.

It focuses on three iconic stars: composer Duke Ellington, vocalist Ella Fitzgerald, and dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. All have ties to the city, while also showcasing some newer talent.

"Duke Ellington was born in Washington D.C.—he was here by the time he was 24 years old. Ella Fitzgerald was raised in Yonkers, and she was in New York by the time she was a teenager."

Renowned musician Jon Batiste is one of the exhibit's special performers.

"I've been in New York for 10 years, it's home for me now," says Batiste.

Even though he's collaborated with everyone from Prince to Will-I-Am, Batiste says he learns a lot from children.

"They're like very beautiful, and pure, and their energy is not really been tainted by any sort of self-consciousness or doubt," Batiste says.

Growing up in New Orleans, Batiste was surrounded by music.

Now, through his role at the museum, he helps spread his love of the genre.

"The beauty of jazz is that it accommodates all styles," he says. "All of the musicians had their own unique voice and it comes from your story."

Batiste hopes by sharing his story, he can inspire the next generation.

If you like what you're hearing, you can check out the exhibit, which runs from now until December 31.

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