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Congress Puts Money Aside for Jazz Museum

Leonard Garment’s dream came one step closer to reality last week when the spending bill passed by the United States Congress appropriated $1 million for a matching grant that will go towards the construction of a jazz museum in Harlem. Garment is one of three men who conceived the idea of a museum in Harlem that celebrates jazz. The eventual goal is to raise $5 million for the museum which will allow visitors to learn about jazz through artifacts, photographs, documents, films and recordings. The most significant of the future museum’s holdings will be the Willis Conover collection, a vast archive of performances and audiotaped interviews with jazz greats like Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Nat King Cole and Billy Eckstine. The museum, which will be called the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, will also have a concert hall which may begin hosting shows as early as next fall. There are already negotiations underway for the museum to occupy part of a two-story building on 125th Street between Malcolm X Boulevard/Lenox Avenue and Fifth Avenue.

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