Happy 95th Birthday to Max Roach

Max Roach with Count von Count on the set of Sesame Street, 1990. Max Roach Papers, Music Division.

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 of his autobiography co-written with Amiri Baraka, no one has yet written a definitive biography of this pioneering percussionist and activist. Researchers can view the finding aid to the Max Roach Papers here.

In 2014, we gathered members of the Roach family, including Roach’s wife Janus Adams, his children Daryl, Maxine, Raoul, Dara and Ayo and poet Sonia Sanchez to announce the acquisition and discuss the significance of the papers. Watch the webcast or view the transcript from that special announcement and conversation here on the Library’s website.

The Musical Life and Legacy of Artur Schnabel

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 […]

A Musical League of Nations: The 1918 Berkshire Festival of Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge

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 […]

Lester Young’s Birthday and News of a Rare Recording

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 […]

Announcing the 2018-2019 Season of Concerts from the Library of Congress

Concerts from the Library of Congress is pleased to announce the 2018-2019 season, filled with an astonishing roster of artists and speakers. Building on the world-class chamber music you love to hear in the Coolidge Auditorium—which this year includes the Emerson Quartet with David Finckel, the Brentano Quartet with Hsin-Yun Huang and the Tetzlaff-Tetzlaff-Vogt Trio, […]

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 […]

Discovering a “lost” clarinetist in the Stravinsky/Craft Collection

This is a guest post by Stephanie Akau, who just completed a 2018 Library of Congress Junior Fellowship. She is working towards a Master of Library and Information Science degree at San José State University and will graduate in May 2019. She is currently a library information specialist at the University of New Mexico. She […]