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Collecting area: Jazz

Bascom, Eric

Eric Bascom Collection of Jazz Recordings

ca. 1940-1950
ca. 500 phonograph records 10 linear feet
Call no.: MS 882
Depiction of David Stone Martin cover for Slim Gaillard and Bam Brown's 'Opera in Vout'
David Stone Martin cover for Slim Gaillard and Bam Brown's 'Opera in Vout'

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.

Subjects

Bop (Music)Jazz musicians

Contributors

Basie, Count, 1904-1984Christian, Charlie, 1916-1942Fitzgerald, EllaParker, Charlie, 1920-1955

Types of material

78 rpm recordsPiano rolls
Bergman, Borah

Borah Bergman Papers

ca. 1970-2012
30 boxes 20 linear feet
Call no.: MS 806
Depiction of

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.

Subjects

Free Jazz--United StatesJazz musicians--United States

Types of material

ScoresSound recordings
Boston Jazz Society

Boston Jazz Society Records

ca. 1973-2014
6 boxes 10 linear feet
Call no.: MS 880
Depiction of

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.

Gift of Aureldon Edward Henderson, July 2014, Aug. 2015

Subjects

Jazz musicians--Massachusetts--BostonJazz--Massachusetts--Boston

Contributors

Berklee School of MusicHaynes, RoyHenderson, Aureldon EdwardNew England Conservatory of Music
Cohen, Ed

Edward Cohen Photographs of Max Roach

ca. 1980-1990
2 boxes, 17 photographs 4 linear feet
Call no.: PH 086

Ed Cohen is a graduate of UMass Amherst (’75) and has been an active commercial photographer in Western Massachusetts since finishing at UMass. In addition to typical work for hire subject matter, Cohen has specialized in event and concert photography.

The Edward Cohen Photographs of Max Roach collection is comprised of seventeen mounted photographs of Max Roach at UMass in the late 1980s, early 1990s. Roach is depicting in concert, backstage, and interacting with well known musicians, UMass faculty, and members of the UMass community. The photos were purchased by the University and were exhibited in the Student Union.

Subjects

Jazz musicians--Massachusetts--AmherstRoach, Max, 1924-2007--Photographs

Types of material

Photographs
Davis, Bobby

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.

Gift of Bobby Davis, Jan. 2015

Subjects

Jazz musicians--Photographs

Types of material

Photographs
Miscellaneous Manuscripts

Miscellaneous Manuscripts

1717-2003
6 boxes 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.

Subjects

Massachusetts--Economic conditions--18th centuryMassachusetts--Economic conditions--19th centuryMassachusetts--HistoryMassachusetts--Politics and governmentMassachusetts--Social conditions--18th centuryMassachusetts--Social conditions--19th centuryMassachusetts--Social conditions--20th century

Types of material

Account booksCorrespondencePhotographs
Moss, Bernard

Bernie Moss Collection

ca. 1960-1978
7 boxes 10.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 062
Depiction of Bernie Moss with two unidentified women in Moss's home, 1962
Bernie Moss with two unidentified women in Moss's home, 1962

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.

Subjects

Jazz musicians--Massachusetts--Boston--PhotographsJazz--Massachusetts--Boston--Photographs

Types of material

Color prints (photographs)
Ramsey, Martha, 1954-

Martha Ramsey Papers

ca. 1930-2018
17 boxes 24.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1054

Martha Ramsey is the author of Where I Stopped, a memoir of rape in adolescence, and Blood Stories, a book of poems. Ramsey grew up in Flemington, New Jersey, a farming community 65 miles southwest of New York City. She had unusually creative, bohemian-minded, arts-oriented parents; her father was a pioneering jazz historian; both became alcoholics. She was a precociously intelligent child and was skipped two grades at her local elementary school; she escaped from the resulting loneliness and social insecurity into books and nature. She was happier as a day student at Solebury School, a progressive high school nearby in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. On a summer day in 1968, at age 13, while she was walking her bike up a back road near her home, she was attacked and raped by a 28-year-old man, a stranger. She insisted that her parents call the police immediately, “so it won’t happen to anyone else.” Her parents soon heard from neighbors that before Martha, the rapist had “molested other girls.” She endured a confrontation with him at the police barracks and giving testimony at the trial that resulted in his conviction and sentence of 15 years. Five years later she also endured the shock of learning on a visit home from college that he had, while released on parole, sexually assaulted and murdered a 16-year-old girl near the girl’s family’s farm, on the anniversary of the rape. This time he was sentenced to life. Where I Stopped, written when Ramsey was in her thirties, tells this story in detail and follows her attempts to understand what had happened to her and how it was affecting her over the years as she grew into adulthood, pursued her calling as a poet, and married. The memoir also chronicles her decision to return to the place where she grew up to speak with people who remembered the crime and who had participated in the trial and to unearth the police and trial records—all part of her effort to come to terms with what she remembered.

A powerful collection documenting the writing of her memoir, Where I Stopped, Ramsey’s papers include audio recordings of statements she and others made to the police shortly after her rape; a transcript of the trial; Ramsey’s notes from interviews she conducted with individuals who remembered the crime; and drafts of her memoir, containing comments from early readers and material cut from the final version. Ramsey’s unpublished writings, journals, and correspondence document her intellectual and emotional life from her teenage years forward, including the drafts of all her published and unpublished poems. Family papers focus on the author’s father, Frederic Ramsey, a noted jazz historian; they include correspondence, photographs, and the unpublished autobiography of Ethel Ramsey (1884–1965)—textile designer, painter, and participant in the artists’ colony in New Hope, Pennsylvania—that contains acerbic discussion of the struggles of women artists in the late nineteenth century and later.

Subjects

AuthorsNew Hope (Pa.)Rape victims--United States--BiographyRape--United States--Case StudiesWomen artistsWomen authors
Scherman, Rowland

Rowland Scherman Collection

ca.1955-2018
20 boxes, 7 portfolios
Call no.: PH 084
Depiction of Mississippi John Hurt, ca.1965
Mississippi John Hurt, ca.1965

One of the most frequently published photographers in Life magazine during the late 1960s, Rowland Scherman is noted for an iconic portfolio that documents the worlds of politics, culture, and the rock music scene. Born in New York in 1937, Scherman attended Oberlin College and began his career in the darkroom at Life before winning an assignment as the first official photographer for the Peace Corps in 1961. His work blossomed after becoming a free-lancer two years later, with assignments that included the civil rights March on Washington and the presidential campaign of Lyndon Baines Johnson. He covered the Newport Folk Festival when Bob Dylan broke on the national scene, the Beatles’ first concert in the U.S., Robert Kennedy’s campaign for the presidency, and Woodstock, and he went along on a memorable tour with Judy Collins. His work has appeared in dozens of magazines and books, including Life, Look, Time, National Geographic, Playboy, and Paris Match, earning wide acclaim, including a Grammy Award in 1968 for the portrait that appears on the cover of Dylan’s greatest hits album. Scherman relocated to London in 1970, then to Birmingham, Ala., in the 1980s, and finally to Cape Cod on 2000. He continues to shoot portraits, photo essays, and abstract work.

This rich collection consists of nearly the entire body of work from Rowland Scherman’s long career in photography, including negatives and transparencies with a small selection of prints. Negatives from the March on Washington and the Peace Corps are in the collections of the Library of Congress.

Acquired from Rowland Scherman, Dec. 2018

Subjects

Dylan, Bob, 1941---PhotographsJohnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968Newport Folk Festival (1963 : Newport, R.I.)--PhotographsPeace movements--PhotographsRock musicians--PhotographsVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--PhotographsWoodstock Festival (1969 : Bethel, N.Y.)--Photographs

Types of material

Photographs
Restrictions: Copyright for commercial purposes retained by Scherman
Tillis, Frederick, 1930-

Frederick Tillis Papers

1970-2010
10 boxes 8 linear feet
Call no.: FS 156
Depiction of Fred Tillis, Nov. 23, 1977
Fred Tillis, Nov. 23, 1977

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.

Subjects

African American composersAfrican American musiciansFine Arts Center (University of Massachusetts Amherst)JazzUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance

Contributors

Tillis, Frederick, 1930-

Types of material

Scores