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Have You Experienced Jazz in January?

For many large cities wishing to rejuvenate their arts scene and transform their metropolises into major cultural centers, museums and buildings designed by architect Frank Gehry are on the top of their wish lists.

Meanwhile, Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen was running out of storage space for his collection, the largest in the world, of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia.

Mr. Allen, meet Mr. Gehry.

Allen decided to become a modern day Carnegie and create a museum dedicated to the spirit of Hendrix and American popular music, and he hired Frank Gehry to design it. In June of 2000, Seattle’s Experience Music Project was born. The Jimi Hendrix Experience echoes through Gehry’s revolutionary building, literally a titanium blob of purple haze. EMP’s architecture and mission statement are as radical as Hendrix’s music. It’s a paean to music in general, but rock & roll is its heart and soul.

But starting on Sunday, January 11, EMP will put its Elvis impersonator contests on hold and begin its fourth annual, month-long Jazz in January series.

The program is multifaceted and features concerts by trombonist Robin Eubanks, the Klezmatics and vocalists Kevin Mahogany and Dee Daniels. Daniels and Mahogany will frontline a Vocal Jazz Festival, which also includes individuals and vocal jazz groups from area colleges and high schools. Jazz in January kicks off with the opening of a jazz photography exhibit by longtime Atlantic Records photographer Lee Friedlander. The series also includes a Jazz on Film presentation including shorts How to Create Rumba and Celluloid Improvisations: Jazz Vocalists. Workshops such as “Introduction to Jazz Guitar” and “Introduction to Jazz Piano” offer four weeks of lessons to beginning musicians.

Judging by the overall quality of the Experience Music Project throughout its brief history, the Jazz in January series is not to be missed.

For a full list of events-and there are many-as well as times, dates and prices, check out EMP’s calendar here.

Originally Published