Happy 95th Birthday to Max Roach

Today marks the 95th birthday of jazz drummer, bandleader and educator Max Roach (1924-2007). His papers are among the most heavily researched jazz archival collections in the Music Division revealing much about jazz and the intersection of modernism and the development of Black political consciousness in 20th-century music. And though the collection includes a draft […]

Announcing New Acquisition: The Billy Strayhorn Collection

In January of 2017, I traveled to a suburb outside of Phoenix, Arizona to meet Dr. Gregory Morris and family. Morris is the nephew of Billy Strayhorn and Executor of the Billy Strayhorn Estate. Dr. Morris, a retired educator originally from Pittsburgh, kept the collection in safe hands for nearly five decades. The papers, including […]

Happy Birthday Abbey!

Today marks the birthday of singer, songwriter, actress, and political activist Abbey Lincoln (Anna Marie Wooldridge August 6, 1930 – August 14, 2010). One of many singers influenced by Billie Holiday, she made her breakthrough in 1956 with her first recording, Abbey Lincoln’s Affair, and her appearance in the film The Girl Can’t Help It. Though she […]

Happy Birthday Billy!

A deep bow of respect for pianist, composer, bandleader and jazz activist Billy Taylor on what would be his 97th birthday. He was born in North Carolina but grew up in Washington, D.C. and studied with Henry Grant, who taught Duke Ellington a generation before. After moving to New York Taylor began working and recording […]

R.I.P. Henry Butler [1948-2018]

We were sad to learn earlier this week about the passing of pianist, composer, singer and educator Henry Butler, who lost his struggle with cancer on Monday at the age of 68. I’d seen this blind virtuoso many times over the years but it’s worth remembering two meetings that had the most impact on me […]

Celebrating Bessie Smith: “Empress of the Blues”

It’s International Jazz Day! When our friends from the Prints & Photographs Division let us know that they’d be featuring favorite jazz-related items today on their blog, Picture This, I couldn’t let the day go by without a related post. Of course, the Music Division is home to outstanding jazz collections that document the life […]

Finding Afro-Kola at the Library of Congress

The following is a guest blog by 2016-2017 Library of Congress Jazz Scholar Ingrid Monson. “Finding Afro-Kola at the Library of Congress”  Ingrid Monson, Harvard University 2016-2017 Library of Congress Jazz Scholar For scholars and researchers interested in jazz, a visit to the Music Division of the Library of Congress can be a rewarding improvisation […]

Courage and Improvisation: The Max Roach Papers

The following is a guest blog by 2016-2017 Library of Congress Jazz Scholar Ingrid Monson. “Courage and Improvisation: The Max Roach Papers” Ingrid Monson, Harvard University 2016-2017 Library of Congress Jazz Scholar As I sat going through box after box of the Max Roach Papers in the Music Division at the Library of Congress, the […]

Ella on Her 100th Birthday

  Tomorrow, April 25, marks the one and only Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday. Fitzgerald’s impact on American music is undeniable, and her legacy and influence continue to inspire new generations of artists today. To celebrate the First Lady of Song on her special day, the Library’s Jazz Specialist Larry Appelbaum will give a talk tomorrow […]