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 […]

Happy Birthday, Peter Ind!

British bassist Peter Ind turns 90 today, and we have fond memories of his visit to the Performing Arts Reading Room in 2009. Ind is an important jazz double bassist and record producer who studied with Tim Bell and James Merrett and became a professional musician in 1947. I was anxious to talk to him […]

Let’s Talk About the Weather

“Yes, yes, let’s talk about the weather.” – Chorus, Act I, No. 9, The Pirates of Penzance, or, the Slave of Duty It has been an unusually rainy summer here in the Mid-Atlantic (and spring, for that matter)! Let’s get through this deluge with a variety of music about rain from the Music Division’s collections. […]

Summer Concerts on the Lawn

This is a guest post by Music Division intern Liliana Lopez. THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS and WASHINGTON PERFORMING ARTS PRESENT SUMMER CONCERTS ON THE LAWN Thursday evenings at 7 pm, July 19-August 23, 2018   Great music on a beautiful green lawn… bring your friends and some nice cold lemonade—don’t miss the Library’s brand-new, free […]

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 […]