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Living History: Jazz Legends Celebrate at D.C.’s Kennedy Center

Jazz Legends celebrate at D.C.'s Kennedy Center

What we’re trying to do as a whole with the Kennedy Center jazz program is to fight the idea that jazz is dead,” Dr. Billy Taylor informed a pre-concert crowd at the Living Jazz Legends gala, held March 5 at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center. “People keep coming up with that, saying, ‘Man, we’ve got all these old guys playing jazz and jazz is dead, everybody that’s playing jazz is either dead or dying.’ What these kids are playing now, and the kind of camaraderie we have…it’s very exciting.”

The concert, along with the “Jazz in Our Time” festivities it kicked off, was a fitting celebration of what has been an impressive 13 years of jazz programming at this American cultural institution. It was 1994 when Dr. Taylor, apropos of his status as a DC-bred jazz master and a distinguished jazz spokesperson, was appointed the Center’s artistic advisor for jazz. This gala evening was planned by Taylor, Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser and KC manager of jazz programming Kevin Struthers.

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