I’ve known saxophonist-composer Archie Shepp’s work for more than four decades, not only through his body of recordings but from a long interview we did in 1982. When I heard he was coming to Washington to receive his National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award at the Kennedy Center, I wrote him and suggested he visit the Library if he has time. When I told him I’d found some unpublished copyright deposits of his works, we made a date for the day after the NEA event. He arrived with his French-born wife Monette on April 5, 2016. Knowing his academic interests, I showed him various treasures in the Music Division’s jazz collections, then I pulled out a folder of some 40 unpublished, handwritten copyright deposits that Shepp himself sent in to the Copyright Office to register his works in the 1960s and 70s. He and his wife seemed particularly entranced by them and many evoked colorful stories about their creation. We also viewed some rare television clips, including one with Shepp, Charles Mingus, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Roy Haynes performing on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1971, which his wife had never seen. It was a memorable afternoon for all of us.
The following is a guest post from Music Reference Specialist Sam Perryman. Some people know that the Music Division is home to the National Negro Opera Company Collection. They also know that, while it’s not the first African American opera company, it was one of the largest. It was founded and managed by Mary Lucinda […]
February is Black History Month! The Music Division has all the resources you need to explore and appreciate African-American contributions to the performing arts year-round, not only in February.
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 […]
The following is a guest post from Anne McLean of the Music Division. On Wednesday, December 12 tickets for the spectacular spring season of Concerts from the Library of Congress will be available via Eventbrite. Tickets will be released at 10:00 am (ET), for all events for the second half of the season: January 10 […]
Renowned pianist Artur Schnabel is best known for his recordings of a complete cycle of Ludwig van Beethoven’s piano sonatas, which he recorded from 1932-1935. His recording, the first ever made of the complete cycle of Beethoven’s 32 sonatas, to this day places him at the forefront of interpreting the composer’s piano works. Schnabel’s son […]
November 5th is National Love Your Red Hair Day! The Music Division salutes some of music’s great redheads in our own collections: Vivaldi, Berlioz, Lucille Ball, Beverly Sills, and Ariel the Little Mermaid.
The following is a guest post from Robin Rausch, Head of Reader Services in the Music Division. For three days in September, in 1918, the musical elite gathered in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, for what was billed as the first chamber music festival ever given in America. It took place September 16-18, two months before the November […]
The Music Division mourns the immense loss of composer and pianist George Walker. He was closely connected to the Music Division for decades.
Today marks the 109th birthday of tenor saxophonist Lester Young, the first so-called modernist instrumental stylist in jazz. His playing and hip, creative use of musician’s jargon is admired for breaking from the prevailing saxophone style of Coleman Hawkins. In his classic recordings with Count Basie’s Orchestra, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman and others, he demonstrated […]