Eric Bascom Collection of Jazz Recordings, ca. 1940-1950.
ca. 500 phonograph records (10 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 882
When he was fifteen or sixteen, Eric Bascom’s life changed forever when he saw renowned jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery perform. Though Bascom had been playing guitar himself since he was young, seeing Montgomery opened his eyes to a completely new way of playing guitar and a completely new approach to music. Since that time, Bascom has been an avid listener, collector, and practitioner of jazz. He is currently performing as the Eric Bascom Trio with Ed Brainerd and Genevieve Rose.
The Eric Bascom Collection of Jazz Recordings consists of hundreds of jazz 78 rpm records from the 1940s and 1950s, including a number of 78 books with beautifully illustrated covers. In addition to the records are player piano rolls, several of which were punched by Fats Waller, and a portable Walters Conley Phonola 78 record player.
- Bop (Music)
- Jazz musicians
- Basie, Count, 1904-1984
- Christian, Charlie, 1916-1942
- Fitzgerald, Ella
- Parker, Charlie, 1920-1955
Types of material
- 78 rpm records
- Piano rolls
Borah Bergman Papers, ca. 1970-2012.
30 boxes (20 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 806
Born in 1926 in Brooklyn, New York, Borah Bergman emerged late in life as a renown free jazz pianist and technical innovator. While teaching math and English in the New York public school system, Bergman developed an ambidextrous technique, or as he described it, “ambi-ideation.” This technique allowed Bergman to express ideas with equal intensity using both his right and left hands and provided the framework for an evolving and truly unique musical philosophy and body of work. Since his first recording, released in 1975 at the age of 49, Bergman appeared on 28 albums, both solo and with some of the most important figures in avant-garde jazz, and was active until his death in 2012.
The Borah Bergman Papers include hundreds of hours of Bergman’s personal recordings on reel-to-reel tapes. According to Bergman, these recordings comprise his greatest achievement and demonstrate the development of his technique and musical ideas. In addition to the personal recordings are a wide variety of Bergman’s performances in studio and with other musicians. Bergman’s work is also documented in notebooks, scores, fiction manuscripts, and an unpublished textbook on his ambi-ideation technique.
- Free Jazz--United States
- Jazz musicians--United States
Types of material
Boston Jazz Society Records, ca. 1973-2014.
6 boxes (10 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 880
Founded in 1973, the Boston Jazz Society grew from a small group of enthusiasts listening to music in living rooms to a thriving organization that “kept Jazz alive” in New England. As Jazz’s popularity began to fade in the late 1960s, local Jazz societies formed to provide support to artists and give them the means and venues to continue to perform on the road. The Boston Jazz Society was originally inspired by one of the earliest, the Left Bank Jazz Society of Baltimore. Like the Left Bank, BJS produced concerts in clubs, theaters, and hotels but expanded their efforts to include exhibits, television and radio shows, and a Jazz education program for grade school students. The longest running BJS activities, however, were the annual Jazz Barbecues and starting in 1975, the BJS Scholarships. The scholarship program raised funds for young Jazz musicians to attend the New England Conservatory of Music’s Jazz Department and the Berklee School Of Music and began the musical careers of many important musicians, composers, and teachers. BJS was also deeply connected to the local music scene, celebrating Roxbury, Mass. natives Alan Dawson and Roy Haynes, whose brother Vincent was a long-time board member, among many others. After 42 years of promoting Jazz music in Boston, the Boston Jazz Society, Inc. dissolved in 2015.
The Boston Jazz Society Records extensively document BJS’s meetings, events, business dealings, and scholarship administration through meeting minutes, posters, correspondence, photographs, recordings, videos, and BJS’s own propaganda and publications. The majority of the BJS records came from the collection of founding member and longtime president Aureldon Edward Henderson and also represents his involvement in promoting Jazz in the Boston area.
- Jazz musicians--Massachusetts--Boston
- Berklee School of Music
- Haynes, Roy
- Henderson, Aureldon Edward
- New England Conservatory of Music
Bobby Davis Photograph Collection, 1980-1983.
1 box (0.2 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 065
A native of Providence, R.I., Bobby Davis arrived in Amherst in 1977 and soon afterward entered the University Without Walls program at UMass to earn his college degree. A talented jazz musician, Davis became immersed in the vibrant local arts scene, learning photography while writing for the student publications Nummo News and the Collegian, and covering performances by a steady stream of jazz and R&B acts touring through the area. Working later as a photographer for Smith College and traveling for the yearbook company, Delmar Studios, Davis eventually settled in Northampton, where he remains active as a photographer.
The Davis collection contains ten exhibition prints of jazz musicians performing in Amherst, including Art Blakey, Angela Bofill, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Yusef Lateef, Oscar Peterson, Max Roach, Gil Scott-Heron, and Archie Shepp.
- Jazz musicians--Photographs
Types of material
Miscellaneous Manuscripts, 1717-2003.
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 719
Miscellaneous Manuscripts is an artificial collection that brings together single items and small groups of related materials. Although the collection reflects the general collecting emphases in SCUA, particularly the history of New England, the content ranges widely in theme and format.
- Massachusetts--Economic conditions--18th century
- Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th century
- Massachusetts--Politics and government
- Massachusetts--Social conditions--18th century
- Massachusetts--Social conditions--19th century
- Massachusetts--Social conditions--20th century
Types of material
- Account books
Bernie Moss Photograph Collection, ca. 1960-1978.
7 boxes (10.5 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 062
A fixture of the Boston Jazz scene, Bernie Moss began taking photographs in the early 1960s, capturing musicians on stage and after hours in the clubs he frequented. Musicians that Moss would meet at Connelly’s, the Savoy Cafe, Lennie’s on the Turnpike, and later the Jazz Workshop, would often come to Moss’s apartment at 11 Queensberry Street where he would give them a place to stay and a meal. His generosity and love of the music and musicians was renown among the top artists of the era; inspiring Dexter Gordon to compose the song “Boston” Bernie Moss in his honor. Moss was born on Christmas day in 1908 and grew up in a Jewish household. He played trombone as a member of the Massachusetts National Guard 241st Coast Artillery Regiment from 1929 to approximately 1939 but spent the remainder of his life looking after the Boston apartment buildings he inherited from his father, known as the Moss Realty Co. According to Nat Hentoff in his memoir Boston Boy, “he took care that none of his tenants ever knew him as a landlord. His brother collected the rent, and the janitor received all the complaints about services. Bernie just showed up to talk about jazz.” Moss died on February 13th, 1988.
The Bernie Moss Photograph Collection primarily consists of Moss’s color photographs taken at Boston Jazz clubs in the 1960s and early 1970s. The photographs include musicians Alan Dawson, Roy Haynes, John Coltrane, Ben Webster, Dizzy Gillespie, Yusef Lateef, Herbie Hancock, Art Blakey, and many more. Moss’s amateur style brings life to some of the most important years of modern Jazz, showing Jazz greats at the height of their powers, often in informal settings. Many photographs were mounted and catalogued as part of a traveling exhibit curated by the Boston Jazz Society.
- Jazz musicians--Massachusetts--Boston--Photographs
Types of material
- Color prints (photographs)
Frederick Tillis Papers, 1970-2010.
10 boxes (8 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 156
A composer, performer, poet, educator, and arts administrator, Fred Tillis was one of the major influences on the cultural life at UMass Amherst for forty years. Born in Galveston, Texas, in 1930, Tillis began playing jazz trumpet and saxophone even before his teens. A product of segregated schools, he graduated from Wiley College at the age of 19, and received his MA and PhD in music at the University of Iowa. As a performer and composer of unusual breadth, his work spans both the jazz and European traditions, and he has written for piano and voice, orchestra, choral pieces, chamber music, and in the African American spiritual tradition, drawing upon a wide range of cultural references. After teaching at Wiley, Grambling, and Kentucky State in the 1960s, Tillis was recruited to UMass in 1970 by his former adviser at Iowa, Philip Bezanson, to teach music composition and theory. Earning promotion to Professor in 1973, Tillis was appointed Director of the Fine Arts Center in 1978, helping to jump start some of the most successful arts initiatives the university has seen, including the the Afro American Music and Jazz program, the New World Theater, Augusta Savage Gallery, Asian Arts and Culture Program, and Jazz in July. Upon retirement from UMass in 1997, he was appointed Emeritus Director of the Fine Arts and remains active as a musician and poet.
The Tillis papers document an extraordinary career in the arts, focused on Fred Tillis’s work as a composer. Consisting primarily of musical scores along with an assortment of professional correspondence relating to his publishing and miscellaneous notes, the collection offers insight into the evolution of Tillis’s musical vision from the 1970s into the new millennium.
- African American composers
- African American musicians
- Fine Arts Center (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance
Types of material