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Smithsonian Welcomes Musical Greats For Jazz Appreciation Month

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Randy Weston's robe and hat stand alongside the drum set of Horatio Hernandez and Lionel Hampton's vibraphone.
Armando Trull
Randy Weston's robe and hat stand alongside the drum set of Horatio Hernandez and Lionel Hampton's vibraphone.

Jazz lovers rejoice, the Smithsonian Museum of American History is celebrating one of America's biggest contributions to the world of music all this month.

Grammy award-winning drummer Horacio Hernandez played his purple and gold drum set for the last time, before donating it to the Smithsonian.

"My drums are going to be in a place and in the company of artifacts and memories of people that I always dreamed to be with since the day I was born," says Hernandez.

Jazz master Randy Weston, 87, gave away an embroidered African robe and hat. He wore them when the King of Morocco honored him for five decades of compositions highlighting the links between African music and Jazz.

"And I believe that what we call the blues is probably the oldest music on earth," Weston says. "Because all over Africa you can hear the blues, but you hear it in traditional languages on traditional instruments."

For the first time since being donated in 2001, Lionel Hampton's vibraphone was played. Chuck Redd did the honors.

Hernandez and Reston will join other jazz greats tonight and tomorrow in a series of lectures and free concerts to kick off Jazz Appreciation Month at the Smithsonian.

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