What is Jazz?

Selections from the Jazz Archive at Duke University


The Jazz Archive at Duke has set out to collect and explore jazz's material resonances in order to grapple with the history and impact this cultural phenomenon has had over the past century.  In this exhibit, photographs, posters, analytic prose, music manuscripts, and recorded audio, join with playing cards, album covers, and literary fiction to demonstrate a part of the process of documenting jazz's social and cultural history.  By exploring some of the traces of jazz's past, and implicitly challenging viewers to consider the possibilities of jazz's future, this exhibit provides one response to the ever-present question, "What is jazz?"