Audiotapes, CDs and digital files: an ongoing project to interview and preserve the memories of people important in the jazz world, including jazz musicians, singers, dancers, producers, arrangers, and others. A list of interviewees and interviewers follows.
The following is a list of the individuals who conducted the interviews.
1. Brown, Anthony
2. Baker, Lida
3. Burstein, Julie
2. Bluiett, Hamiet
This collection is arranged into six series.
Series 1, DAT and CD Original Interview Recordings, 1992-2012
Series 2, Cassette Reference and Master Interview Tapes, 1992-2012
Series 3, Audio CD Reference Copies, 2000-2012
Series 4, Video/CD, 1994-2012
Series 5, Transcripts and Abstracts, 1992-2014
Series 6, Supplemental Documentation, 1992-2012
Biographical / Historical:
The Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program, a project of "America's Jazz Heritage, A Partnership of the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and the Smithsonian Institution" initiative was created in 1992. More than 150 in-depth oral history interviews were conducted from 1992 through 2002. The collection was transferred to the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History in 2000. Now part of the National Museum of American History's American Music History Initiatives, the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program continues to conduct interviews as funding is available.
The Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program was established to document significant jazz musicians, performers, producers, and business associates in their own words and voices. Program staff contacted and worked with potential interviewees to arrange for interviews. Each interview was conducted by a jazz authority and was recorded on digital audiotape by a professional audio engineer. The interviews averaged 6 hours in length and covered a wide range of topics including early years, initial involvement in music, generally, and jazz specifically, as well as experiences in the jazz music world, including relationships to musicians. The original DAT interview tapes were then dubbed to audiocassettes and CD to create protection and access copies. More recent interviews have been recorded using fully digital technology and the interviews are preserved and made availbel as digital files.
A number of the interviews were conducted as part of the Ella Fitzgerald Oral History Project of the Jazz Oral History Program. Funded by the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, these interviews focus on the life and work of Ella Fitzgerald. The National Endowments for the Arts Jazz Masters Oral Histories Program continues to support new interviews with NEA Jazz Masters.
For more information about jazz concerts, education, collections, Jazz Appreciation Month, and the Jazz Master orchestra, visit Smithsonian Jazz.
The interviews were made for the Smithsonian Institution under the auspices of the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program supported by America's Jazz Heritage, funded by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Oral Histories Program. Additional interviews were conducted with support from the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.
Collection is open for research. Researchers must use reference copies.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions. Release forms exist for most interviews.
[Interviewee name] Interview, Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program Collection, 1992-2014, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
The interviews were made for the Smithsonian Institution under the auspices of the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program and supported by America's Jazz Heritage, funded by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Oral Histories Program. Additional interviews were conducted with support from the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.
Floyd Levin was a Los Angeles textile manufacturer who turned his passion for jazz into a second career as an influential jazz journalist and historian. The collection consists of research materials including biographical files. In addition, there are numerous photographs that were taken and collected by Levin.
Scope and Contents:
Research materials on jazz, jazz artists, jazz festivals and jazz organizations compiled by Levin over several decades. The richest portion is the series of biographical files on jazz artists, with emphasis on lesser known but influential artists, and includes such things as obituaries, memorial programs, press releases, concert programs, and newsletters. Photographs are also widely found in this series, many of them inscribed to, or taken with Levin and his wife Lucille, as well as posters, recordings, letters and other correspondence, awards and plaques, Levin's writings, business cards, newspaper articles, advertisements, and miscellaneous ephemeral items. Artists who are strongly represented include one-time Ellington Orchestra clarinetist "Barney" (Albany Leon) Bigard, who was a close personal friend of the Levins and whose personal papers are in the collection; Louis Armstrong; "Jelly Roll" (Ferdinand Lemott) Morton; "Wild" Bill Davison; "Duke" (Edward Kennedy) Ellington; Joe Darensbourg; Edward Bertram "Montudie" Garland; "Kid" (Edward) Ory; "Eubie" (James Herbert) Blake; and "Rosy" (James) McHargue.
The collection is divided into ten series.
Series 1, Personal Papers, 1920-2010, undated
Series 2, Correspondence, 1948-2006, undated
Series 3, Research Materials, 1914-2006, undated
Series 4, Writings, 1949-2006, undated
Series 5, Artists Files, 1880-2010, undated
Subseries 5.1, General Materials, 1880-2010, undated
Subseries 5.2, Obituaries, 1941-2004
Subseries 5.3, Interviews, 1969-2001
Series 6, Subject Files, 1916-2004, undated
Series 7, General Materials, 1908-2006, undated
Series 8, Jazz Organizations and Publications, 1943-2010, undated
Series 9, Photographs, 1939-2001, undated
Series 10, Audiovisual Materials, 1964-1997, undated
Floyd Levin (1922 - 2007) was a Los Angeles textile manufacturer who turned his passion for jazz into a second, contemporaneous, career as an influential jazz journalist and historian. His numerous reviews, profiles, and articles were published in magazines such as Down Beat, Jazz Journal International, Metronome, and American Rag. He also authored Classic Jazz: A Personal View of the Music and the Musicians (University of California Press, 2000), which –like his articles – chronicled his first-hand encounters with countless jazz musicians. In 1949, he co-founded the Southern California Hot Jazz Society, the second-oldest jazz appreciation club in the country. Levin led the drive to create the Louis Armstrong Park and statue in New Orleans in the 1970s. During his career, he conducted scores of oral history interviews with jazz musicians, which he donated to NMAH and to Tulane University's jazz archive. He received several awards for his work, including the Leonard Feather Communicator Award, given annually by the Los Angeles Jazz Society. Levin died in 2007.
Donated to the Archives Center in 2011 by Floyd Levin's widow, Lucille Levin.
The collection is open for research. Only reference copies of audiovisual materials may be used.
Reproduction restricted due to copyright or trademark. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.