20 years of jazz concerts, conducted by Harlem

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem has received a vast new archive of concert and interview footage spanning 20 of jazz’s most under-explored years.

The Box Art Jazz and Blues includes 230 concerts and 96 interviews, all filmed at Bern International Jazz Festival in Switzerland from 1983 to 2002. It contains performances by many of the biggest jazz stars of the time, including Sonny Rollins, Sarah Vaughan, Wynton Marsalis and Dizzy Gillespie. Each of the concerts was originally broadcast on Swiss television and is reproduced here in its entirety.

The DVD collection, which comes in a nearly four-foot-tall black cabinet, was donated by jazz impresario George Wein, who served as an advisor on the art box project.

At the Schomburg Center, a branch of the New York Public Library, the collection enters a newly renovated building Dividing motion picture and recorded sound, where visitors can watch videos on a desktop screen or wall projector.

“We have a rich collection of jazz but it’s all in the ‘classical’ period,” said Shola Lynch, the division’s curator. “Here is this wonderful artifact that shows us that between 1983 and 2002 there was a lot of good jazz.”

The Jazz and Blues art box is carefully rated, with separate liner notes dedicated to each performer. The box also includes a 344 page coffee table book.

At a retail price of $ 8,500, the box is not designed for the casual collector. Hans Zurbrügg, director of the Bern festival and executive producer of the box, donated it to the New School in New York. Ed Arrendell, who directs Mr. Marsalis, donated a copy to the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, a high school in Washington.

Willie J. Johnson

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