Over 100 hours of live performances capture the golden age of jazz and include Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman & More
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem (NJMH) today announced the acquisition of a historic collection of never-before-heard recordings, including live performances of great American Jazz icons from 1935-1941. The collection of 975 aluminum and vinyl discs, over 100 hours of material, was created by William Savory, a recording engineer and Harvard-educated physicist. Savory worked as at a radio transcription service in New York between 1935 and 1941 and used the equipment his job afforded him to record hundreds of hours of material directly off the radio.
Finding this collection after years of persistent searching was like finding the Holy Grail of Jazz," says Loren Schoenberg, Executive Director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. It's an incredibly fertile find in terms of programming and the advancement of jazz scholarship, one that we will treasureand share with our audiencesfor years to come."
The collection includes live performances by Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Lionel Hampton, Fats Waller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and more, as well as classical broadcasts including Toscanini, Ormandy, and Kristen Flagstad. The quality of the discs is extraordinary for the time, as most jazz enthusiasts in the 1930s did not have the access to professional equipment that Savory enjoyed.
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem's Executive Director Loren Schoenberg discovered the collection after a 24 year cultivation that started with his meeting William Savory in 1980. Savory died in 2004 and Schoenberg acquired the discs in April, 2010 for the museum through Savory's heir, Eugene Desavouret, of Malta, Illinois.
The search for, and cultivation of, this collection is parallel to the Museum's commitment to preserve the history of Jazz, while nurturing its evolution for future generations. It also comes at a fortuitous time in the Museum's development as it is currently preparing to build a permanent home at Mart 125," in Harlem, New Yorkthe historic row in Upper Manhattan which stands directly across from the famed Apollo Theatre on Harlem's fabled 125th Street. The Museum plans to make the collection available to audiences at their current facility by appointment only, and through its September Tuesday evening Jazz For Curious Listeners and Saturday Panel series. Check the Museum's website for more details.
About the National Jazz Museum in Harlem
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem celebrates the neighborhood that has nurtured jazz and the many musicians that have lived and worked there. Duke Ellington, Benny Carter, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Count Basie, John Coltrane, Billie Holidayall of their unique sounds reverberated throughout these fabled streets. Their legacy continues as the jazz musicians of today have also found a home in Harlem for their own contemporary sounds. The National Jazz Museum in Harlem is dedicated to fostering this spiritthe music as a living, breathing entity that looks as far into the future as it does into the past.
| Benny Goodman |
| Count Basie |