The collection generally focuses on artists associated with mainstream jazz and the swing era. Former members of bands led by Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton and the Dorsey brothers are well represented. Significant soloists and arrangers from small ensembles dating from the 1930s have also been interviewed.
The holdings are particularly viable for material pertaining to the learning process employed by young jazz musicians prior to the establishment of jazz education programs, and the realities of making a career in the jazz world. Other significant topics addressed include stories of life on the road and in the active New York City recording scene as well as racial relations (past and present) in jazz. Interviews with Oscar Peterson, George Shearing, Clark Terry and Milt Hinton were conducted by vocalist Joe Williams.
The interview collection has been fully transcribed and may be reviewed at the Fillius Jazz Archive in print, audiocassette and DVD. References to specific subject matter may be found via electronic query. Support material includes LPs, CDs, photographs, commercial jazz videos, books and memorabilia as well as a concert documentary filmed in 1996 at Hamilton College with Joe Williams and the Count Basie Orchestra.
Access to Interviews
The transcripts and audio tracks from the oral history interviews are accessible from the library website.
Interviews are cataloged in WorldCat, and are available on loan in DVD format, from the Hamilton College Library, via Interlibrary Loan. Please contact your local library's Interlibrary Loan department, to have them request specific items via WorldCat Resource Sharing or ALA Form.
Interested scholars and jazz enthusiasts are welcome to visit the Hamilton campus and the archive room for consultation with the director.