On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the world’s first jazz recording*, the Hamilton College Jazz Archive has begun to add its more than 300 videotaped interviews with jazz greats onto its YouTube channel.
Artists whose 30- minute to hour-long conversations are now available include George Shearing, Marian McPartland, Bucky Pizzarelli, Clark Terry, Joe Wilder, Dick Hyman, Milt Hinton, Ralph Sutton, Kenny Davern, Bob Rosengarden, Bob Wilber, Harry “Sweets” Edison and critic Nat Hentoff.
Videos will continue to be added over the next months. All of the aforementioned interviewees have received honorary degrees from Hamilton.
Established in 1995, the Hamilton College Fillius Jazz Archive focuses primarily on artists associated with mainstream jazz and the swing era dating from the 1930s. The more than 300 recorded and transcribed interviews 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.
The holdings are particularly valuable for material pertaining to the realities of making a career in the jazz world and the learning process employed by musicians prior to the establishment of jazz education programs.
Among the stories told in this initial release of videos is George Shearing talking are times spent with Louis Armstrong and many other jazz contemporaries. Joe Williams joined Clark Terry in a conversation that includes stories about the segregated military, being assaulted after a performance with a southern carnival, leaving Basie for Duke Ellington.
Pianist and radio host Marian McPartland speaks about performing for troops during WW-II, leading her own trio in NYC, women in jazz, and her parents' reaction to her career choice.
Composer Dick Hyman speaks about his eclectic career, the art of arranging, early synthesizers, and performing in Russia.
Trumpeter Joe Wilder reminisces about the exclusion of black musicians in classical music, his time with Lionel Hampton and Count Basie, and touring Russia during the Cold War.
* February 26th marks the 100th anniversary of the first jazz recording which was “The Livery Stable Blues” by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band.