Jazz, recognized around the world for its rich cultural heritage, is a music grounded in community. Arising from roots in both African and European musical traditions, it is a democratic music, celebrating both individual and group endeavor. One hundred years after its birth, it continues to embrace the contributions of diverse cultures and inspire artists from myriad traditions, genres, and disciplines.
In the Pacific Northwest, the impact of jazz on the musical and cultural landscape dates back to the first decades of the 20th century, when traveling jazz bands first ventured into Oregon and Washington. Vibrant jazz scenes in cities like Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, and Eugene provided the launching pads for the careers of legendary musicians like Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, and others, as well as being home to a long line of creative musicians whose music has shaped the sound and enriched the communities of the region.
The Leroy Vinnegar Jazz Institute aims to celebrate the past, sustain the present, and ensure a bright future for jazz by connecting people of all ages to the music, its history, and its culture. In the spirit of the legendary musician and Portland jazz treasure for whom it is named, the Leroy Vinnegar Jazz Institute will be a community resource dedicated to encouraging "a lifetime of jazz."