Jazz it up during JAM

Published 11:41 am Tuesday, April 4, 2023

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Jazz Appreciation Month was created in 2001 by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz for the entire month of April. JAM is intended to stimulate and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz – so use the library this month to listen to and learn about jazz!


Jazz for Lunch! by Jarrett Dapier

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Kirkus gave it a starred review and said: “This picture book embodies the rhythm and flair of the jazz that inspired it. This joyful book is an experience in itself, with the text in rhythmic, rhyming verses and the bright, busy illustrations screaming movement, noise and joy.”


Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century by Nate Chinen

One of jazz’s leading critics gives us an invigorating, richly detailed portrait of the artists and events that have shaped the music of our time. Grounded in authority and brimming with style, this is the first book to take the measure of this exhilarating moment: it is a compelling argument for the resiliency of the art form and a rejoinder to any claims about its calcification or demise.



In this animated Disney/Pixar movie from 2020, Joe is a middle-school band teacher whose life hasn’t quite gone the way he expected. His true passion is jazz — and he’s good. But when he travels to another realm to help someone find their passion, he soon discovers what it means to have soul.


Saxophone Colossus by Aidan Levy

Sonny Rollins is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest jazz improvisers of all time. Part jazz oral history told in the musicians’ own words, part chronicle of one man’s quest for social justice and spiritual enlightenment, this is the definitive biography of one of the most enduring and influential artists in jazz and American history.


Nina by Alice Briere-Haquet

With evocative black-and-white illustrations and moving prose, readers are introduced to jazz-music legend and civil-rights activist Nina Simone in this stunning picture-book biography of one of the greatest voices of the 20th century. Shared as a lullaby to her daughter, a soulful song recounts Simone’s career, the trials she faced as an African American woman, and the stand she took during the Civil Rights Movement. 



In 1971, journalist Linda Lipnack Kuehl set out to write the definitive biography of Billie Holiday. Over 8 years, she tracked down and tape-recorded over 200 hours of interviews with the extraordinary characters that populated the iconic singer’s short, tumultuous life. However, Linda’s book was never finished and the tapes never heard — until this documentary that was released in 2020.


Jen Pace Dickenson is the Youth Services Librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit polklibrary.org or call (828) 894-8721.