Exhibit explores diversity through jazz

October 29, 2014

"Jazz Riffs: Breaking Boundaries and Crossing Borders," an exhibit, is on display through April 12, in the Diversity Studies Room, 203 Pattee Library. The exhibit speaks like a riff in jazz — a short simple melody used for creating more complicated musical patterns. It makes no claim to being all-inclusive; just a one-toe dip in the river of jazz, its music and the lives of a few of its artists.

Jazz Riffs looks at three major story elements in the history of jazz: gender, race and world; focusing on a few musicians or groups from each of these categories.

For gender, it looks at the 2011 film “The Girls in the Band” and at The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, an all-female racially diverse band that emerged from The Piney Woods School in rural Georgia.

For race, it looks at bandleader and clarinetist Benny Goodman and concert promoter/record producer Norman Granz, both of whom were influential in the integration of jazz bands and jazz audiences.

For world, it looks at Japanese jazz pianist, composer and conductor Toshiko Akiyoshi, one of the first female jazz musicians to conduct an all-male band, and at Belgian and Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, one of the most recognized early European jazz innovators.

Each of the three themes in the exhibit include musicians’ stories and their music and go deeper into the history, music, biography, film and fiction of jazz found within the rich resources of the University Libraries.

The exhibition is open during regular library hours, available at 814-865-3063.

For more information or if you anticipate needing accessibility accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, contact Jenna Gill at jmk441@psu.edu or 814-865-9406 or Jacqueline Dillon-Fast at jud18@psu.edu or 814-865-9407.

  • Girls in the Band

    "Girls in the Band" is the untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their journey from the late 1930s to present day (2011).

    IMAGE: a Judy Chaiken film
Last Updated February 09, 2015