Trading Fours: An Oral Exchange on Jazz Musical Influence and Biography

American Jazz Museum
  • Rashida Phillips, Executive Director, American Jazz Museum
  • James McGee, Senior Manager of Visitor and Virtual Experience, American Jazz Museum

Project Description

The American Jazz Museum’s permanent exhibition features four prominent icons, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker. Each of these icons center jazz as an American experience born of creativity, innovation, and black culture. The inspiration from these icons had a direct and deep impact on upcoming musicians interested in telling their own stories and sharing experiences that shaped their own styles and sounds from what they’ve lived and learned. In the performance of jazz music, there’s a moment of trading four measures of solos between players back and forth, creating a dialogue that expands the song’s narrative by influencing and signifying response. The American Jazz Museum will capture oral testimony mimicking this tradition by trading stories between our four icons and four living musicians who were influenced by them, remarking on connections, inspirations, challenges, and obstacles to becoming successful musicians. This new oral series will become an online companion experience available alongside our permanent exhibition, demonstrating the power of jazz as a vital contribution to past and present, offering visitors the opportunity to reflect on their own musical and personal life journeys while learning more about historical and current narratives.

Partner Details

  • Stories for All

    Rashida Phillips

    Executive Director, American Jazz Museum

  • Stories for All

    James McGee

    Senior Manager of Visitor and Virtual Experience, American Jazz Museum