Jazz music has achieved great stature throughout the world as an indigenous American art form and truly unique musical amalgamation. At its best, jazz contains the ideal balance of individual expression and collective cooperation and puts into aesthetic action, our highest democratic ideals and aspirations. Jazz also serves as a unifying force, bridging cultural, religious, ethnic and economic differences. It reflects the highest levels of human artistic expression and is inspired by the widely diverse experiences and peoples that comprise our collective cultural identity.
Despite the art form’s prominent position in world culture and being declared a "national treasure" by the U.S. Congress (1987), jazz goes largely overlooked by main-stream popular media and limited time and funding prohibit the subject from being included in students' standard classroom curriculum.
JazzReach was founded on the belief that an appreciation of jazz music, as both a dynamic musical form and a unifying cultural movement, can provide people of all ages with a more sophisticated understanding of ourselves and our national character. Because jazz uniquely translates the human experience into rhythm and tune, dialogue on the many facets of this musical tradition offers a particularly rich and versatile educational and cultural opportunity.
The National Endowment for the Arts’ latest Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, the fourth to be conducted by the NEA since 1982 (in participation with the U.S. Census Bureau), indicate that the audience for jazz in America is both aging and shrinking at an alarming rate.
What this reveals is that the median age of the jazz audience is now comparable to the ages for attendees of live performances of classical music (49 in 2008 vs. 40 in 1982), opera (48 in 2008 vs. 43 in 1982), nonmusical plays (47 in 2008 vs. 39 in 1982) and ballet (46 in 2008 vs. 37 in 1982). In 1982, by contrast, jazz fans were much younger than their high-culture counterparts.