First Lady supports jazz education

 Jazz fan Michelle Obama
Jazz fan Michelle Obama

Jazz has a big fan in the White House — Michelle Obama. The First Lady proved her affection for and committment to what she called “America’s indigenous art form” (where have we heard that before?) by hosting a Jazz Studio at the White House on Monday, June 15, where she called jazz “America’s greatest artistic gift to the world.”

About 150 middle and high school jazz students performed at the gathering in the East Wing, after participating in jazz workshops led by jazz musicians such as the Marsalis family — pianist Ellis, trumpeter Wynton, saxophonist Brandon, and drummer Jason Marsalis. The seminars focused on the influence American history had on jazz, improvisation through jazz styles, and the influence of Duke Ellington.

 Wynton Marsalis leads a student jam
Wynton Marsalis leads a student jam

“Today’s event exemplifies what the White House, the people’s house, should be about. This is a place to honor America’s past, celebrate its present and create its future,” Obama said in a speech. “And what better example of this is than jazz, America’s indigenous art form.”

She continued, “There’s probably no better example of democracy than a jazz ensemble; individual freedom but with responsibility to the group.”

Many of Obama’s comments restated the goals of the Healdsburg Jazz Festival’s Education Program , long a key component of the organization’s committment to the community.

Read related story on the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.