About The National Jazz Museum in Harlem

The mission of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem (NJMH) is to preserve, promote and present jazz by inspiring knowledge, appreciation and the celebration of jazz locally, nationally and internationally. We tell the truth about jazz and fuel our mission through four Core Programs: Education; Jazz &… (Community Engagement & Performance); Exhibits & Collections; and Partnerships & Collaborations. Our programming and our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy represent our commitment to showcasing jazz and jazz-adjacent voices and perspectives that characterize and welcome the most inclusive diversity of audiences.

NJMH invites in person and online audiences to join the jazz in Harlem experience. Our world-renowned Artistic Directors Jon Batiste and Christian McBride contribute to the creative vision of our exhibits and outreach, and curate much of our programming. Jazz is a living, evolving organism expressed through connections with real people. Our vision is to make jazz accessible to everyone on the planet. We are a living, evolving museum for the people, center for jazz and a place in Harlem where visitors gather to enjoy history and music, and where artists come to play, rehearse, create or drop-in, even when no one else is there, just to be in the space that so many others have passed through.

Education is central to our mission. The Museum offers year-round educational programs for students of all ages. Our collaborations with schools, businesses, arts and other organizations bring our innovative content to the global community.

The Museum offers a wide range of free online and in person programming to educate, entertain and connect audiences, jazz artists, educators and scholars. Each year, because of the generosity of our supporters, we produce over 100 free and highly subsidized jazz workshops, performances and events that serve more than 100,000 people in Harlem, New York City, the U.S. and the world. Hundreds of artists representing the broadest diversity of jazz and jazz in Harlem find an arts home at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, whether online or at our physical location at 58 West 129th Street in Central Harlem’s cultural and entertainment district. Our space, our virtual platforms and our collaborations are designed to offer our visitors immersive jazz experiences offered from the heart of Harlem.


Jon Batiste, Artistic Director

Jon Batiste is an internationally acclaimed musician, bandleader and composer. As an educator and television personality, he spreads his unbridled optimism coupled with a profound understanding of the arts. Born into a long lineage of New Orleans musicians, Batiste is a graduate of The Juilliard School with a Masters degree. After graduating, he toured globally with his band Stay Human and is the former bandleader and musical director on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Jon is a Forbes 30 under 30 honoree, Musical Director for The Atlantic and Creative Director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. He balances a demanding performance schedule with speaking engagements, curating events, occasional acting and producing opportunities, all while relentlessly composing new music. His album “Social Music,” spent over a month atop the Billboard and iTunes jazz charts as the #1 jazz album in the world. Jon is also a coveted brand ambassador – featured in campaigns for Chase, Apple, Lincoln and numerous fashion brands including Ralph Lauren, Barney’s, Nordstrom and H&M.

Christian McBride, Artistic Director

Heralded as a teen prodigy at 17, Christian McBride moved to New York in 1989 to pursue classical studies at the Juilliard School. There he was promptly recruited to the road by saxophonist Bobby Watson. These days, world-renowned bassist and bandleader McBride is an eight-time GRAMMY® winning jazz bassist powered by a relentless energy and a boundless love of swing, McBride’s career blazes into its third decade as the Philadelphia native has become one of the most requested, most recorded and most respected figures in the music world today. He hosts and produces “The Lowdown: Conversations with Christian” on SiriusXM satellite radio and National Public Radio’s “Jazz Night in America,” a weekly radio show and multimedia collaboration between WBGO, NPR and Jazz at Lincoln Center. McBride is also a respected educator and advocate, first noted in 1997 when he spoke on former President Bill Clinton’s town hall meeting “Racism in the Performing Arts.” He has since been named Artistic Director of the Newport Jazz Festival®, New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), TD James Moody Jazz Festival and National Jazz Museum in Harlem. McBride’s alter ego DJ Brother Mister spins classic R&B, soul and funk on original analog vinyl from what he considers the “sweet spot” of dance music, from 1966 to 1986.

Jazz Is Now! Curatorial Fellowship

Jazz Is Now! is the Museum’s educational and interactive Fellowship headed by NJMH Artistic Director Jon Batiste. Fellows are world class artists who present original compositions, curate series and direct and headline Museum performances. This initiative is made possible through a generous grant from the New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellowship program.


2023 Jazz Is: Now Fellows

Cleo Reed

Cleo Reed is a sound composer, performer, and multi-disciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Recently, they developed software instruments for Jon Batiste’s “American Symphony” at Carnegie Hall. Their debut album project, “Root Cause,” is out now and has received support from Bandcamp, Vinyl Me Please, Pitchfork, and OkayPlayer, amongst others. In addition to the release, Cleo presented “Root Cause” as a self-directed performance art piece titled “Black American Circus” as a part of BRIC’s Artist-In-Residence program.

Cleo is also a recipient of the 2022 NYC Women’s Fund for Media Music and Theatre, and a 2022 Art Omi Fellow. Cleo is an alumni of Harlem School of The Arts and a recent graduate of Berklee College of Music. At 19, Cleo Reed named themselves after Cleophus, their great-grandmother and a fellow Aquarius. Whether underground or academic, experimental or popular, they express musicianship guided by their radiance, femininity, and cyclical traumas.

Gengis Don

Gengis Don graduated at the top of the class from the School of Hip Hop. As a drummer, producer, songwriter, & engineer, Gengis combines his deep knowledge of Hip Hop and his study of jazz/improvisational music to create the music of Gengis Don & The Empire.

Described as the love child of Jazz & Boom Bap, Gengis Don has a sound that represents today’s social climate, while staying true to his roots in groove and Hip Hop. A Brooklyn native, Gengis grew up listening to New York artists like 50 Cent, Ja Rule, Ashanti, Notorious B.I.G., Fat Joe, Nas, and Jay Z. Those influences are evident in his gritty, unapologetically dirty, sound on drums.

At just 27 years of age, Gengis has worked with some of the world’s best artists, drumming and producing for: Solange, Bilal, ASAP Ferg, Standing on the Corner, Klein, keiyaA, Melanie Charles, Anna Wise, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Marquis Hill, Christopher McBride, Alina Engibaryan, Portugal The Man, Pink Siifu, Jon Bap, and many more.

2022 Jazz Is: Now Fellows

Endea Owens

Bassist and bandleader Endea Owens brings joy, mastery and celebration to all her projects, from her role as house bassist in Stay Human with Jon Batiste on “The Late Show with Steven Colbert” to her own signature project, The Community Cookout. Lincoln Center’s Emerging Artist of 2019 and Detroit native, Owens is a vibrant up-and-coming bassist. She has been mentored by the likes of Marcus Belgrave, Rodney Whitaker and Ron Carter. She has toured and performed with Jennifer Holliday, Rhonda and Diana Ross, Jazzmeia Horn, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Steve Turre, and Lea DeLaria from the Netflix Original Series “Orange is the New Black.”

Joel Ross

A steadfast improviser on the vibraphone, Joel Ross saturates live sets with a lyrical intuition equally grounded in melody and phrasing. He plays the moment. Rather than impose energies on the music, he allows moods to set, linger and transform. Playing thoroughly in the broad, resonating tradition of Black music, Ross draws inspiration for his layered expression from vital, intersecting scenes of his native Chicago. Imbibing nuanced traditions from improvised music hubs to the church, he embraced a range of gestural possibilities he’d begun refining in New York. Now based in Brooklyn, he regularly performs across the country and around the world.

Board of Trustees

Timothy L. Porter, Chair · Richard S. Taffet, Secretary · Mark A. Willis, Treasurer

Michelle Armstrong · Albert De Leon · Tamara Dildy, MD · Jeff D’Onofrio · Lolita Jackson · Jai K. Jacob · Kenneth McIntyre · Wynton Marsalis · Sam Mayer · Robert Nelson, Jr. · Shoshanna Sofaer, Dr.P.H. · Samuel Turvey · Sue Vo · Michael Wilkes · Lloyd Williams

Trustees Emeriti
Ken Burns · Jonathan Scheuer · Abraham D. Sofaer, Founding Chair

In Memoriam
Leonard Garment, Founder · Daryl Libow, Secretary · Dr. Billy Taylor

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.

Want to host an event?

We are your go-to venue for off-site meetings, receptions, film screenings, workshops, networking events, socials and more. Located in the heart of Central Harlem’s thriving culinary and entertainment district, The National Jazz Museum in Harlem is the perfect place to hold your next gathering.

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