DETROIT, MI (September 20, 2022)-Jazz is definitely in the air and being celebrated at the Charles H. Wright Museum that’s because besides kicking off Jazz Greats: Classic Photographs from Bank of America Collection which also debuts on October 21st & ends February 28th “Detroit Jazz: The Legacy Continues” (a companion exhibit) highlights Detroit Jazz Musicians who also made an impact on the International, National and Local Jazz Scene.
"As a companion to the exhibition the Wright curatorial staff has augmented the exhibition with images focusing on the Detroit artists who have lived and work among us,” said Neil A. Barclay, President and CEO of The Wright Museum.
In the 19thcentury, Black musicians began leaving the South to find jobs. They spread jazz throughout the United States, including such cities as Chicago, Detroit, and New York. During the 1920s, Black musicians in Detroit, including Theodore Finney, Fred S. Stone, and Benjamin Shook, dominated the society band scene. These musicians expressed themselves through early jazz genres like ragtime, swing, boogie-woogie, bebop, marching, and big band music.
By the 1940s, Detroit’s Black communities, including Paradise Valley and Black Bottom, offered musicians and jazz lovers numerous places to play and listen to jazz. Amid racial segregation, Detroiters found solace and escape through the music. Today, jazz remains at the center of R&B, hip-hop, and rap, and serves as a tool for many marginalized groups.
This exhibition "Detroit Jazz: The Legacy Continues” highlights a few of the many Detroit musicians and venues that influenced jazz music. Organized in five sections, the stories capture the lives and spirit of Black jazz musicians who have contributed to the genre.