January 2024

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded The Louis Armstrong House Museum a Digital Projects for the Humanities prototyping grant for the Jazz and Hip-Hop Map of Queens, an interactive digital experience. This project seeks to increase awareness about one of the essential storylines in the history of American music: how the presence of a prolific jazz community in the New York City borough of Queens had significant influence on the rise of hip-hop music in the borough and beyond.

Many jazz legends lived in Queens during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, and Dizzy Gillespie. Also, seminal hip-hop musicians including Nas, Marly Marl, MC Serch, MC Shan, LL Cool J, Q-Tip and many more grew up in Queens during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

Building upon The Queens Jazz Trail map commissioned by Flushing Town Hall in 1998 and the 60,000-piece Louis Armstrong Archives, Mapping Jazz and Hip-Hop in Queens will conduct interviews and research to chart the homes of both jazz and hip-hop artists affiliated with Queens. We will also explore the genealogy of connection, including neighborhoods, familial and friendship ties, as well as listening and sampling patterns.  By convening jazz and hip-hop historians, artists, and practitioners, the project will document the oral history of these two major art forms in Queens and make this knowledge accessible to the public through an interactive digital map. 

The community of artists, historians, and designers connected to the project include:

KYLE ADAMS: Indiana University 

REGINA BAIN: Louis Armstrong House Museum

CLYDE BULLARD: Flushing Town Hall

ADRIANA CARRILLO: Louis Armstrong House Museum

TL CROSS: Musician, Historian 

SYREETA GATES: Historian and Archivist

RACHEL GINSBERG: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum 

JAKE GOLDBAS: Louis Armstrong House Museum

HYLAND HARRIS: Louis Armstrong House Museum

ANTONIO HART: Queens College

SACHA JENKINS: Filmmaker

BRIAN KANE: Yale University

ELLEN KODADEK: Flushing Town Hall

TATJANA LIGHTBOURN: Artist and Educator

NATALIE MILBRODT: Director of the Queens Memory Project

MAUREEN MAHON: NYU

JASON MORAN: Musician and Visual Artist

RICKY RICCARDI: Louis Armstrong House Museum

BILL TOLES: Musician

DANNY SIMMONS: Visual Artist

LENNY WHITE: Musician 

JON YANOFSKY: Kupferberg Center for the Arts

CHARANYA: Louis Armstrong House Museum

We want to hear from you! 

We invite you to share your stories, memories and perspectives about the connections between Jazz and Hip-Hop in Queens.  What have you seen? What have you heard? What’s been passed down to you about how these influential genres developed in Queens?

Click here to tell us your story or nominate someone whose story you think should be told.