Who We Are
Our mission is to preserve, promote and present jazz by inspiring knowledge, appreciation and the celebration of jazz locally, nationally and internationally.
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem is a thriving center for jazz that stimulates hearts and minds, and reaches out to diverse audiences to enjoy this quintessential American music. The Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate, was founded in 1997 by Leonard Garment who was Counsel to two U.S. Presidents and an accomplished jazz saxophonist, Abraham D. Sofaer who is a former U.S. District Judge who gave the initial gift in honor of his brother-in-law Richard J. Scheuer, Jr., and matching funds from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone.
The Museum is committed to keeping jazz present and exciting in the lives of a broad range of audiences — young and old, novice and scholar, artist and patron, enthusiast and curious listener. Each year, the Museum produces and presents nearly 100 free programs in New York City, engages hundreds of professional jazz artists and reaches nearly 20,000 people from around the world. We are a hub for live performances, exhibitions and educational programs, and are home to our widely acclaimed Savory Collection, which includes more than 100 hours of live recordings of jazz legends made from New York City radio broadcasts aired between 1935 and 1941.
2013 began an exciting new era for the Museum. We created and implemented a new strategic plan that made education central to our mission. The Museum now offers year-round educational programs for students of all ages. We also developed a new membership program with exclusive content and benefits to reach out to the worldwide jazz community.
In 2015, after 15 years at our East Harlem location, we moved to our present location at 58 West 129th Street in Central Harlem. Our space is designed to give our visitors an immersive jazz experience in the heart of Harlem’s new cultural and entertainment district.
Our long-term goal is to secure a permanent home in Harlem with space large enough to showcase our collection of Harlem’s vast contributions to jazz, American music and world history.
Jonathan Batiste, Co-Artistic Director
Jonathan Batiste is a dynamic pianist, composer and bandleader who has been active in the Museum’s programming and growth since 2009. With his wide spectrum of musical interests and involvement, Batiste is expanding the Museum’s horizons and its relevance to contemporary audiences. A Juilliard graduate, he is a member of the legendary Batiste family of musicians from New Orleans. Batiste is also the bandleader for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on CBS.
Christian McBride, Co-Artistic Director
World-renowned bassist and bandleader Christian McBride is a multiple GRAMMY Award-winning artist. Heralded as a teen prodigy at 17, he has collaborated with jazz greats including Ray Brown, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Roy Haynes, Milt Jackson, J.J. Johnson, Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner and Bobby Watson. McBride is an international ambassador for the Museum and helps guide our program development. He hosts the award-winning NPR radio program “Jazz Night in America.”
Board of Trustees
Timothy L. Porter, Chair
Jonathan Scheuer, Vice Chair
Richard S. Taffet, Secretary
Mark A. Willis, Treasurer
Albert De Leon
Lolita K. Jackson
Robert Nelson, Jr.
Founding Chair Emeritus
Abraham D. Sofaer
Daryl Libow, Secretary
Dr. Billy Taylor
Tracy Hyter-Suffern, Executive Director
Darel Anderson-Hamilton, Director of Operations
Sam Ginsberg, Education & Programming
Ryan Maloney, Director of Education & Programming
Martin Mejia, Visitor Services
Loren Schoenberg, Senior Scholar
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem embraces the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in the expression of our values, our programming, and our cultural and organizational practices. These principles are essential to our core programming and to our presence in the world.
We have also adopted the “We Have Voice Collective Code of Conduct to Promote Safe(r) Workplaces in the Performing Arts.” http://wehavevoice.org/