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Blog Posts by Subject: Jazz

Music For Moderns at Town Hall, 1957

Anahid Ajemian and George Avakian put on an ambitious and eclectic concert series that blended the music and musicians of different worlds.Read More ›

George Avakian and Louis Armstrong

The working and personal friendship of George Avakian and Louis Armstrong.Read More ›

Live From the Reading Room: Ada "Bricktop" Smith to Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong

Today’s episode features a letter from jazz singer, dancer, and nightclub owner Ada Smith, jazz trumpeter, composer, singer, and "auto-archivist" Louis Armstrong.Read More ›

Live From the Reading Room: Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller to Phil Ponce

Live from the Reading Room: Correspondence is a podcast series that aims to share interesting and engaging letters written by or to key historical figures from the African Diaspora. Read More ›

George Avakian and Anahid Ajemian: An Introduction

Music For Moderns: The Partnership of George Avakian and Anahid Ajemian will explore the careers of these unique figures and their work with of some of the most important artists of the twentieth century. Read More ›

May Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan Library

Open source intelligence and counter terrorism; links between jazz and physics; the graphic design process; kosher food in our times; the rise of the political consultant... hear from authors about these topics and more this month.Read More ›

Women's History Month: Celebrating Black Women in Jazz at the Schomburg

This year, our series features performances from great artists such as Shelley Nicole, Mal Devisa, Alicia Hall Moran, Camille A. Brown, Bernice Reagon Johnson, and many others.Read More ›

Preserving the Visual Past: Panasonic MII

Back in 1986 Panasonic thought they had the competitive answer to Sony's Betacam SP format. Their product was smaller, lighter and poised to take over the electronic news gathering (ENG) market. The plan must have looked great on paper, but the MII format was a disaster.Read More ›

Great Albums You May Have Missed: Miles Davis Dark Magus (1997)

Every jazz fan has their favorite Miles period, I'm probably in the minority but I'll take his electric phase from '68-75 which expanded his amazing skills by importing the energy of rock and funk.Read More ›

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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