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National Jazz Museum in Harlem Aquires Long-Lost Collection: Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday & More

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NATIONAL JAZZ MUSEUM IN HARLEM ACQUIRES LONG-LOST COLLECTION OF RECORDINGS BY AMERICAN JAZZ ICONS

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 treasure—and share with our audiences—for years to come."

The collection includes live performances by Count Basie

Count Basie
Count Basie
1904 - 1984
piano
, Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
1901 - 1971
trumpet
, Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
1915 - 1959
vocalist
, Lester Young
Lester Young
Lester Young
1909 - 1959
saxophone
, Lionel Hampton
Lionel Hampton
Lionel Hampton
1908 - 2002
vibraphone
, Fats Waller
Fats Waller
Fats Waller
1904 - 1943
piano
, Artie Shaw
Artie Shaw
Artie Shaw
1910 - 2004
clarinet
, Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman
1909 - 1986
clarinet
, 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 York—the 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

Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
, Benny Carter
Benny Carter
Benny Carter
1907 - 2003
sax, alto
, Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
, Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
, Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
1922 - 1979
bass, acoustic
, Count Basie, John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
, Billie Holiday—all 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 spirit—the music as a living, breathing entity that looks as far into the future as it does into the past.
Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman
1909 - 1986
clarinet

audio link

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
1915 - 1959
vocalist

audio

Bobby Hackett

Bobby Hackett
Bobby Hackett
1915 - 1976
trumpet

audio

Coleman Hawkins

Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
1904 - 1969
sax, tenor

audio

Count Basie
Count Basie
Count Basie
1904 - 1984
piano

audio

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
1917 - 1996
vocalist

audio

Lester Young

Lester Young
Lester Young
1909 - 1959
saxophone

audio

Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
1901 - 1971
trumpet

audio


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