Photos courtesy of Musical Instrument Museum

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix is set to host a vibrant array of events this June, blending the diverse sounds of Southeast Asia with world-class jazz performances. Located at 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., the MIM offers enriching cultural experiences and exceptional music.

One of the signature events this month is “Experience Southeast Asia,” taking place on Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This event offers museum visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the region’s rich musical heritage.

Supported by the Arizona Asian American Association and in part by the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture and the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the event features curator talks, traditional dances, and live performances.

Among the highlights is the Wayang Puppet craft activity from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., where attendees can create traditional puppets resembling humans, animals, or mythical figures. Visitors are encouraged to explore the “Indonesia: Gamelan” exhibit to see these puppets in action.

The Instrument Exploration session in the Experience Gallery offers a hands-on opportunity to play gamelan instruments, experiencing the unique sounds of gongs and metallophones.

The Southeast Asia program also includes a photo booth for capturing memories, guest talks on Vietnamese musical instruments, and a gallery tour focused on Southeast Asian musical instruments. Pop-up performances, such as “The Sound of Ðàn Tranh” and the “Rojak Jam,” add to the immersive experience.

Film screenings and traditional dance performances, including the Lion Dance and Thai Flower Dance, further enrich the cultural offerings.

In addition to the Southeast Asia celebration, MIM’s June Jazz performances bring together an impressive lineup of artists, promising an unforgettable musical experience.

Shabaka: June 14, 7:30 p.m.
Multi-instrumentalist Shabaka, known for his pioneering role in the British jazz scene, will perform. His latest work features a blend of jazz and new age music, focusing on flutes and clarinets. This performance is expected to be a fresh and reflective listening experience.

Oscar Peñas: June 15, 7:30 p.m.
Barcelona-born guitarist Oscar Peñas will showcase his unique blend of jazz, Spanish folk, and European classical music. Performing with bassist Simón Willson and drummer Mark Ferber, Peñas brings a distinctive and imaginative approach to jazz.
John Pizzarelli: June 16, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Renowned guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli will perform songs from his latest album, “Stage and Screen,” which explores timeless pieces from Broadway and cinema. Pizzarelli’s trio, featuring bassist Mike Karn and pianist Isaiah J. Thompson, delivers a captivating tribute to the Great American Songbook.

Benny Green: June 17, 7 p.m.
Pianist Benny Green, a bebop master with extensive experience playing alongside jazz legends, will present a solo performance. Known for his dynamic playing and deep understanding of jazz, Green’s concert is a must-see.

The Cookers, June 20, 7:30 p.m.
This group of seasoned jazz virtuosos, including Billy Hart, Cecil McBee, and Eddie Henderson, brings over 250 years of collective experience to the stage. The Cookers deliver powerful performances that showcase their extensive expertise and deep-rooted connection to jazz.

This June, the MIM offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the musical landscapes of Southeast Asia and enjoy the artistry of some of the finest jazz musicians. Whether through crafting, hands-on instrument exploration, or enjoying live performances, visitors to the MIM are sure to find inspiration and delight in this month’s dynamic lineup.

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