The Jazz Journalists Association Launches Grassroots JazzApril Initiative “Jazz Heroes”

The Jazz Journalists Association today announced the start of its third annual JazzApril campaign, concurrent with the Smithsonian's Jazz Appreciation Month culminating in UNESCO's International Jazz Day (April 30). JazzApril supports JAM and Jazz Day by working with grassroots jazz activists to celebrate their local jazz scenes through imaginative use of media and strengthened collaborative networking.

In at least 20 U.S. cities and Toronto, Canada, jazz community activists will honor local "Jazz Heroes, " people of extraordinary devotion and service described by the JJA as "activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz." The JJA will announce the names of all 2014 Jazz Heroes and details of each city's presentation parties on its JazzApril website on April 1.

The cities are Baltimore, the Bay Area (Oakland), Bloomington, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Detroit, Durham NC, Hartford CT area, New Orleans, New York, Newark, Pittsburgh, Portland OR, Santa Cruz, Seattle, Schenectady, Tallahassee, Toronto, Washington DC, and Woodstock NY. More may be added before April 1. Organizations and institutions including A Place for Jazz, The Art of Cool, Elastic Arts, JazzBoston, Jazz from Bloomington, Jazzstock, Kuumba Jazz Workshop, the Litchfield Jazz Festival, Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, PDX Jazz Portland Jazz Festival, and Yoshi's are participating in JazzApril and the Jazz Heroes program.

Past year's Heroes have been jazz club owners, health care providers, philanthropists, record company executives, arts administrators and musicians whose personal influences have gone beyond the sounds of their performances to improve quality of life even for people out of earshot. Jazz Heroes receive engraved statuettes from the JJA, presented at free public parties. In many locales, Jazz Heroes have been covered by local media and mentioned in mayoral proclamations endorsing local jazz.

The JJA's JazzApril campaign, conducted annually since 2012, has provided concepts, contacts, suggestions and support for publicizing the creative vitality and economic viability of America's indigenous "classic" yet contemporary music. Jazz fans, businesses, arts organizations, musicians, journalists, presenters, educators and government officials are invited to participate using any of the wide variety of low or no-cost ideas posted at, Usable graphics for Jazz April, JAM and IJD can be downloaded from there, too.

Sponsors of JazzApril 2014 include the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, North Coast Brewing, Century Media Partners LLC, JazzBoston and the Jazz Institute of Chicago. The Jazz Education Network and JazzWeek have signed on as 2014 Media Partners. Support is still sought and welcomed.

The Jazz Journalists Association is a nonprofit organization of writers, photographers, broadcasters, videographers, new media producers and their affiliates professionally involved with jazz.

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