Woodlawn honors the musicians, composers and producers who created jazz, “America’s Music.” At the dawn of the Jazz Age and the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance, the Woodlawn Subway Station opened, connecting the cemetery to most of the city. With a tradition of caring for the diverse New York population, the families of many of the musicians and performers turned to Woodlawn at their time of need. In the southwest section of our grounds, the pioneers of jazz, King Oliver, WC Handy and members of the James Reese Europe band are remembered. Sculptures, granite grave markers and marble monuments commemorate the lives of the great performers of the era, Florence Mills, Irene and Vernon Castle and Bert Williams. Each year thousands of visitors go to Woodlawn’s “Jazz Corner” where the maestro, Duke Ellington, is at rest. Nearby, visitors find Miles Davis’ song “Solar” etched on his memorial. High on the neighboring hill etched in black granite there is an image of Jackie McLean playing the saxophone. Nearby stands a monument where swing dancer Frankie Manning performs the Lindy Hop. Be Bop drummer Max Roach is honored with a poem and Lionel Hampton, “King of the Vibes”, is “Flying Home.” The Woodlawn Cemetery is known internationally for its jazz legacy. As the flowers of spring unfold, we pay tribute to those who changed our lives and taught us how to swing.


Opened in 1863, this final resting place is an excellent starting point to learn more about our notable jazz legacy buried here, such as Roy Campbell, Jr., Jean Baptiste “Illinois” Jacquet, Florence Mills, Harry Herbert Pace, Clark Terry, Johnny Windhurst, Ornette Coleman  and so many more . Visits can be coordinated via Private Tours or they can be conducted independently through our Mobile App.


You can create your own legacy and secure your place among some of Woodlawn’s most notable jazz legacy.