PEP (Person of Exceptional Prominence) Spot Light:
John Coltrane (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967)
Legendary jazz performer and inductee to the Jazz Hall of Fame, John Coltrane is one of the most dominant figures that has influenced generations of jazz musicians. Prior to his association with musical greats like Dizzy Gillespie, Johnny Hodges, and Earl Bostic, John Coltrane entered military service in 1945 and played in the Navy jazz band while stationed in Hawaii.
When Coltrane entered military service, all personnel were required to have a chest x-ray as part of their induction requirements. Within John Coltrane’s record, one such x-ray exists. As the reformatting staff of the Preservation Programs at St. Louis scanned his military record for public use, his x-ray was scanned also. There are several preservation reasons why x-rays are scanned. First, the x-ray is part of Coltrane’s file, and thus an integral part of his historical record which is available to the public. Secondly, providing a scanned image eliminates the need for a user to wear clean gloves so no oils from their hands would transfer onto the silver emulsion of the x-ray. Secondly, the base that the x-ray film is on is acetate film (a.k.a Safety Film) which decomposes over time letting off gases that smell like vinegar hence, the commonly used term “vinegar syndrome”. Vinegar Syndrome occurs when acetic acid is released from the acetate based film leading to the vinegar smell. This deterioration makes the plastic film base brittle, buckle, shrink, and liquefy. Keeping the film in a controlled environment helps reduce the continuation of the base’s degradation. Lastly, the x-ray can be scratched easily if not handled appropriately.
On occasion, the x-rays are digitally enhanced so the image is clearer, and in doing so, helping the researcher and improving public access. These documents and x-rays are placed on DVDs so researchers can access exact replicas and prevent damage to the original document.
Jazz in the USA: On the 60th Anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival
For the 60th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival, journalist Soledad O’Brien moderates a panel discussion with George Wein, founder of the Newport Jazz Festival; Dan Morgenstern, author, archivist, and NEA Jazz Master; and jazz musicians Jonathan Batisteand Christian McBride. Film clips of the 1960 festival (from the holdings of the National Archives) will complement the discussion.
Join us on Thursday, June 19 at 7 p.m. in the William McGowan Theater. Watch live online ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5yVVsGFuaA) or join us in person (enter the National Archives Building through the Special Events entrance at Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue).
Jazz at the National Archives is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives through the generous support of Natixis Global Asset Management.
Image: 1970 Newport Jazz Festival (The personal collection of George Wein).
Can’t make it tonight? Watch it live:
Join us June 19 as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival with a panel discussion on “Jazz in the USA" at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC.
Journalist Soledad O’Brien will moderate the discussion with George Wein, founder of the Newport Jazz Festival; Dan Morgenstern, author, archivist, and NEA Jazz Master; and jazz musicians Jon Batiste and Christian McBride. Film clips of the 1960 festival (from the holdings of the National Archives) will complement the discussion.
The discussion will also be livestreamed.
“Jazz at the National Archives" is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives through the generous support of Natixis Global Asset Management.
Image: “Newport, R.I. During a performance at the Jazz Festival, Louis Armstrong (right) shares a bit of comedy with trombonist Trummy Young. In the background, concentrating on the drums, is Barrett Deems,” 1956, from the Records of the US Information Agency
Happy 115th Birthday, Duke Ellington!
Jazz pioneer Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, 4/29/1899 - 5/24/1974.
Beginning in the 1950s, the U.S. Government used jazz as a diplomatic tool during the Cold War. John Edward Hasse—author, curator, biographer of Duke Ellington and founder of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra—leads a discussion focusing on efforts by the United States Information Agency, the Voice of America, and the U.S. Department of State. Panelists include Former Ambassador David T. Killion, who organized International Jazz Day for UNESCO; David Ensor, current Director of the Voice of America; and historian Penny Von Eschen, author of Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War.
Join us on Thursday, April 24, at 7 p.m. in the William McGowan Theater. Watch live online (http://www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives) or join us in person (enter the National Archives Building through the Special Events entrance at Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue).
This is the first in a series of programs, Jazz at the National Archives, made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives through the generous support of Natixis Global Asset Management.
“Washington, D.C.: American jazz notables perform during a recent charity concert sponsored by Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower, wife of the President of the U.S. and the Congressional Wives Circle of Friendship House, a children’s neighborhood recreation center in Southwest Washington. Left to right: Harvey Phillips tuba; Bob Wilbur, clarinet; Lou McGarity, trombone; Dick Carey, trumpet, and Charlie Byrd, guitar." Circa 1960.
From the Records of the United States Information Agency (RG 306.PS.397.59.20856)
Louis Armstrong Registers for the Draft
Future jazz great Louis Armstrong of New Orleans was among nearly 24 million men aged 18–45 who registered for the draft during 1917–18, a requirement of the new Selective Service System. Notice that his first name is recorded incorrectly as Lewis. And while his date of birth was recorded as July 4, 1900, Armstrong was actually born on August 4, 1901.
World War I Draft Registration Card for Louis Armstrong, 09/12/1918; from the series: Draft Registration Cards 1917-1918
For International Jazz Day and in observance of jazz pioneer Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington’s birthday (4/29/1899 - 5/24/1974):
Dave Brubeck and the Moscow Summit
We were sad to learn of the passing of Dave Brubeck, who died yesterday. He would have celebrated his 92nd birthday today.
In honor of the jazz maverick, and his efforts as an ambassador of music for the U.S. State Department, here’s a photo of Brubeck performing for Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev during the Moscow Summit of 1988.
“During ‘Take Five,’ observers noticed that Gorbachev was tapping his fingers along with the music.
“’I can’t understand Russian,’” Mr. Brubeck said at the time, “’but I can understand body language.’”
The Moscow Summit marked a thaw in the Cold War, and the day after Brubeck’s performance, President Reagan and Secretary Gorbachev would sign the INF treaty ratification at the Grand Kremlin.
Photo: Dave Brubeck performing for President Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev and Raisa Gorbachev at Spaso House, Moscow. 5/31/88.
Jazz legend Duke Ellington died on this day, May 24, 1974
On April 24, 1969, Ellington celebrated his 70th birthday at the White House where he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The medal was presented by President Richard Nixon, who himself had played the piano since childhood. From the President’s remarks:
“When we think of freedom, we think of many things. But Duke Ellington is one who has carried the message of freedom to all the nations of the world through music, through understanding, understanding that reaches over all national boundaries and over all boundaries of prejudice and over all boundaries of language..
In the royalty of American music, no man swings more or stands higher than the Duke.”
Afterwards, the President played “Happy Birthday” on the piano for the Duke while guests at the White House sang along.
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington
April 29, 1899 - May 24, 1974
Bandleader Glenn Miller's US Army airplane disappeared over the English Channel on December 15, 1944.
Missing Air Crew Report for Lieutenant Colonel John R.S. Morgan, Major Glenn Miller, and Flight Officer Norman F. Baessell, 01/08/1945
John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie
October 21, 1917 - January 6, 1993
It’s the birthday of jazz giant Dizzy Gillespie. What better occasion to put on some bebop and look at a very cool picture of Dizzy blowing his horn at the White House. June 8, 1979, Jazz Concert on the South Lawn with President Jimmy Carter.