The Jazz Archive at Duke University acquires, preserves, and makes available unique materials that document jazz's historical and ongoing significance. The archive exists to facilitate research and performance at the local, national, and international levels. It thus targets three specific areas for comprehensive collecting: (1) unique manuscript scores of musical arrangements for jazz big bands and other large jazz ensembles from any era of jazz's history, (2) materials related to female jazz musicians or women in jazz more broadly, and (3) materials related to jazz musicians with a significant connection to North Carolina and the southeast U.S. more broadly. This can include musicians born or employed in the region who achieved international fame (e.g., John Coltrane, Paul Jeffrey), and musicians who contributed more locally to the jazz scene in and around the Raleigh-Durham area (e.g., Pee Wee Moore, Yusuf Salim).
The archive collects in a variety of formats. In addition to musical scores, the archive accepts other paper-based documents such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, advertisements, and concert playbills. It also collects photography, moving image materials, and original audio recordings in both analog and digital formats, from noncommercial musical recordings to researcher-generated interviews and oral histories.
Duke University has a long tradition of campus-based jazz performance, and several of the Jazz Archive’s collections document aspects of that history. These include the Les Brown Scores, the Sonny Burke Papers, the Linda Dahl Collection on Mary Lou Williams, and the Paul Jeffrey Papers. More information on the history of jazz at Duke University is available in a brief video found here.
The Jazz Archive looks forward to working with interested performers and scholars to assist in meeting a variety of research needs. For more information about the Jazz Archive at Duke University, please contact our Research Services staff.
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