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Blog Posts by Subject: Jazz

Song and Dance: The Power Of Black Music

American music is largely influenced by African American music, so concluded eminent musicologists just before the 20th century.Read More ›

NLS Quick Pick: Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism by Thomas David Brothers

New biography available from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.Read More ›

In Praise of Hoots

At "Somebody Come and Play" you can see Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie, the Count, Snuffy, and Oscar up close. And, by my special request, Hoots.Read More ›

Vixen: A Review

Gloria Carmody thought she had everything she could want: the big diamond, the handsome fiance, the promise of a secure, respectable life among Chicago’s high society. But as her wedding looms ever nearer all Gloria can think of is a notorious speakeasy and the piano player who intrigues her more than her fiance ever has. Or will.

Lorraine Dyer doesn’t understand the sudden change in her best friend, but if Gloria wants to release her inner flapper, why not? After all Lorraine is known for innovating the flapper style among their circle of friends. 

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Where Is St. Marks? Investigating Place Names in the East Village

It is 8th Street, but from Third Avenue to Avenue A it is called St. Marks Place and is named for St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, which is not even on 8th Street, or St. Marks Place, but at the intersection of 10th Street, Second Avenue, and Stuyvesant Street. The land there has been a site of Christian worship since 1660. The history of St. Marks Place doesn’t go back that far, but a surprising amount of history has happened on these four 

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Django Reinhardt Centennial Celebration - Sweet and Lowdown

January 23, 2010 marks the centennial of the birth of Django Reinhardt. Reinhardt grew up in gypsy camps outside Paris and began playing violin, banjo, and guitar at a young age. A fire destroyed his caravan when he was 18 and he was badly burned. The third and forth fingers of his left hand were partially paralyzed but he amazingly relearned how to play and by the early 1930s he was recording with his Hot Club of France Quintet. All of those solos were 

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East Village Landmarks – 96 and 98 St Marks Place

After a number of years in an historic Greenwich Village library I’ve spent the past few weeks in an equally historic East Village library. The Ottendorfer Branch of The New York Public Library is surrounded by literary, political, and musical history. From Leon Trotsky and

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FINAL Duke Jazz Concert Featuring Peter Apfelbaum and the New York Hieroglyphics - Friday, November 13th at 7:30p.m. FREE!

I recently had the pleasure of sitting in on Peter Apfelbaum’s oral history, conducted by long-time friend and jazz writer, Dan Ouellette. I was most pleased to hear about the origins of The Hieroglyphics – a band Peter formed in his teens. I am fascinated by how the band has successfully shifted and transformed alongside him - growing as he did throughout the years. There is a touch of sadness about this being my last opportunity to hear a Duke Jazz artist tell his story like this – laughing with a friend while articulating the first musical 

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Brian Lynch and Spheres of Influence at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Photo credit: Nick Ruechel We're slowly approaching the end of the Duke Jazz Series performances, and we would love to have you join us on Wednesday, September 23, 2009, to welcome Brian Lynch and Spheres of Influence. The performance will take place in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, 111 Amsterdam Avenue @ 65th Street. The program is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. For more information, please call 212.870.1793 or visit

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Movies at Jefferson Market & My Never-Ending Jazz Checklist

Film noir is the theme for Jefferson Market’s Monday night films this month. We’ll start the series with Fritz Lang’s Hangmen Also Die. Please take a look at The New York Public Library’s online calendar for our other upcoming films.

We’ll also have a special non-noir Saturday film screening of Blithe Spirit on March 21, 2009 at 2pm. Based on the play by

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Fun facts about Jane Ira Bloom!

Did you know that jazz musician Jane Ira Bloom...

...prodded by her friend, the actor Brian Dennehy, wrote a letter to NASA to ask what they thought about the future of the arts in space and ended up as the first musician ever commissioned by the NASA space program and with an asteriod (6083janeirabloom) named in her honor?

...had to relearn the saxophone while studying as a girl with Joe Viola at Berklee College? ("My embouchure was all wrong!")

...while walking around the dicey neighborhoods 

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Duke Jazz Talk with Bucky and John Pizzarelli. Wednesday, Feburary 11, 8pm

Please join us for our next Duke Jazz Talk featuring father/son artists Bucky and John Pizzarelli on Wednesday, February 11 at 8:00 p.m. Duke Jazz Talks put the spotlight on four GRAMMY® -nominated and -award winning jazz artists. Bucky and John will discuss their lives and work with Bob Santelli, Executive Director of The GRAMMY MuseumSM; following the dialogue will be a brief performance.

Duke Jazz Talks are part of the two-year Library for the Performing Arts’ project funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation 

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Donny McCaslin at The Performing Arts Library!!!

Beginning in late September 2008, The Performing Arts Library (LPA) hosted two Duke Jazz Series concerts with Dafnis Prieto Sextet and Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto. The members of those groups were wonderful individuals with extraordinary talent. Every musician expressed their love for the music; we witnessed that excitement and burst of energy when they performed. My favorite musician was Jeff Busch from Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto who is the percussionist for that group. The piece that he stood out the most was “Feira Livre,” 

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Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto performing in NYPL Duke Jazz Series, November 21, FREE

The Duke Project team -- consisting of Sarah Ziebell (middle), Flordalisa "Lisa" Lopez (right), and myself (left) -- are gearing up for the second concert in the Duke Jazz Series.

For those of you who missed September's show, the wonderfully talented Dafnis Prieto Sextet were featured, filling the Bruno Auditorium with Cuban-infused jazz. We had an excellent turn out for the event -- despite having to compete with presidential debates and pouring rain -- and hope to match the turn out next week with the sounds of Brazilian 

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McCoy Tyner at The Library for the Performing Arts!

Through the exceptional generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Library for the Performing ArtsMusic and Dance Divisions and the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive have been awarded two years of funding to present, document, and preserve jazz, contemporary dance, and theater performances and related oral histories. Those of us on the Doris Duke 

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All That Jazz

In the exhibition, “A Rakish History of Men’s Wear,” I tackled the issue of music as a key factor in the development of street fashion. Twentieth century casual sportswear took many cues from hip hop. If you walk the short round through “Art Deco Design: Rhythm and Verve,” you’ll find you don’t want to escape from the twelve-minute tape loop of music in the gallery.

Therein lies a genuine clue. The toe-tapping quality of 1920s syncopation filtered right into the realm of fashion. Jazz 

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