Jazz Concerts and Shows

New England Jazz Hall of Fame Grand Opening
Sat, Apr 29

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Gala opening one night only at Worchester Polytechnic Institute
More information

3-5 pm
Open reception with three jazz bands and refreshments.
Introducing the international contribution technology for the Jazz History Database
Meet WICN’s on air hosts and board members
Unveiling of the New England Jazz Alliance Hall of Fame Exhibit

7:30-8:30 pm
The New England Conservatory Jazz Orchestra, directed by Professor Ken Schaphorst, performing compositions and arrangements by Worcester native Jaki Byard

Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Alden Hall
100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609

Free and open to the public.

In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, on Saturday April 29 Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will officially be named the home of the New England Jazz Hall of Fame. Established in 2001 by the New England Jazz Alliance (NEJA), the New England Jazz Hall of Fame honors the contributions of jazz musicians to the rich musical heritage of the area. WPI will also announce a collaboration with central New England’s jazz radio station, WICN, to build its informational resources.

Information about Hall of Fame exists primarily online at www.NEJAZZ.org, and on an assortment of placards that travel to jazz and education events throughout the area. Until now, the exhibits did not have a permanent home. The prestigious distinction will be celebrated with a public music event featuring works from the region’s great jazz artists as well as a performance by the New England Conservatory.

The April 29 event will also serve as the official launch of the International Jazz History Database (JHDB) Hosted by WPI and under the direction of Professor Richard Falco, Director of Jazz Studies, the database is an interactive multimedia museum focused on artists deserving of wider recognition and dedicated to the preservation of “at-risk” jazz artifacts.

In December of 2001, NEJA established the New England Jazz Hall of Fame, initially comprising a traveling exhibit that tells the story of jazz in New England. “While the story of New England jazz is still told locally through our mobile exhibit, it has always been our goal to set roots in a community where jazz is appreciated and where the historical information will be more widely accessible,” said NEJA founder and President Emeritus T. Brent Banulis. “By establishing our physical presence at WPI, students, researchers, and jazz fans of all stripes have access to the historical information at our permanent home in Worcester, an hour’s drive from New England’s three most populous state capitals, Boston, Providence, and Hartford.”

“With the JHDB as a museum-like resource, WICN on-air hosts and administration will coordinate and focus on New England Jazz Hall of Fame and other JHDB artists profiled within the database,” said Prof. Falco of WPI. “WICN will become a wonderfully supportive resource and, through their broadcast and streaming, bring an immediacy to the music of these artists, while the Hall of Fame and the Jazz History Database bring a rich opportunity to learn more about each featured artist through our online museum.”

For more than a decade, the JHDB has primarily featured New England artists, but WPI is now expanding the platform and inviting collaborators across the world to trace the origins and influence of jazz music in various regions.

April is observed nationally as Jazz Appreciation Month, after an initiative of the Smithsonian Institution, making the April 29 announcement both timely and relevant to the celebration of jazz, America’s classical music. April 29 is Duke Ellington’s birthday, and three Ellington alumni—Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, and Paul Gonsalves—were among the initial 10 inductees to the New England Jazz Hall of Fame.