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Try This: All that jazz (and hip hop) at the Crocker Art Museum

Join us as we check out the Crocker Art Museum’s “The Message: The Journey from Jazz to Hip Hop” — a four-part concert series uncovering the evolution of music from jazz to hip hop, and everything in between.

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a rotating gif of photos that include singers Vivian Lee and Cynthia Douglas singing on a stage with a band playing in the background

The Crocker stays open late every Thursday to host events like The Message, ArtMix, workshops, and so much more.

Photos by SACtoday

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SACtoday team member Bethany here. I grew up listening to the likes of Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald — which makes me a bit of an old soul when it comes to music. But it wasn’t until I attended the Crocker Art Museum’s The Message: A Journey from Jazz to Hip Hop that I fully realized the legacy these artists were creating.

Join me as I check out the first of a four-part concert series uncovering the evolution of music from jazz to hip hop (and everything in between).

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Pro tip: The Crocker Cafe is now operated by Majka Bakery — so get there early to take your pick off their (delish) menu.

Photo by SACtoday

What we tried:

Held in the intimate Setzer Foundation Auditorium (think: every seat is a great seat), each concert progressively treats Sacramentans to a distinct era of the jazz-to-hip-hop evolution. First up: The music of Carmen McRae + Sarah Vaughan.

Soulful vocalists Vivian Lee + Cynthia Douglas told stories of the jazz icons and did a stellar job creating a vibe that captured their essence.

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“What this series is really about is just an evolution of the contributions of African Americans into the music industry,” said vocalist Vivian Lee. “We kind of changed the way that the American songbook was played.”

Photo by SACtoday

What not to miss:

Way to go, Sacramento — you know a good thing when you see it. The first two shows of the series sold out before the first night.

The good news: There are still two concerts left, featuring a funk + soul performance by The Lab Rats on March 28 and a culminating hip hop + rap performance by Jakhari Smith and TIP Vicious on April 25.

two pieces of art by joyce j scott

The Joyce J. Scott exhibition features intricately beaded artwork filled with political + social justice messages.

Photo by SACtoday

What we’re still talking about:

Two Crocker exhibitions inspired the concert series: Black Artists in America: From Civil Rights to the Bicentennial” and “Joyce J. Scott: Messages.” (Pro tip: Your ticket includes museum access, so get there early to explore.) Similar to the exhibitions, Public Programs Coordinator Eben Burgoon says “the message” to look for is the intergenerationality of music and the voice it gives to artists.

There’s struggle, there’s joy, there’s a lot going on in the exhibits, and trying to encapsulate that into music is the vision,” Burgoon said.

How you can experience this:

Snag tickets to the two remaining shows. Missed your chance? Keep an eye out for the Crocker’s summer jazz series.

Things to know if you go:

  • Experience: The Message: A Journey from Jazz to Hip Hop
  • Price: $30 Adult; $20 Member; $10 Student/Youth
  • Website: crockerart.org
  • Address: 216 O St., Sacramento, CA 95814
  • Hours: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m..; Thursday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Social: Facebook | Instagram | YouTube
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