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Exhibit Explores Diversity Through jazz

by on November 13, 2014 9:25 AM

The exhibit "Jazz Riffs: Breaking Boundaries and Crossing Borders," is now on display on the campus of Penn State.

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 exhibit will continue through Sunday, April 12, in the Diversity Studies Room, 203 Pattee Library. For library hours call (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 [email protected] or (814) 865-9406 or Jacqueline Dillon-Fast at [email protected] or (814) 865-9407.

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