News from the National Jazz Archive
Welcome to our December 2018 Newsletter


Women in Jazz exhibition – ‘an absolute delight’

The Archive’s exhibition ‘Women in Jazz – a Celebration of the Past, Present and Future’ runs at the Barbican Music Library in central London for just a few more weeks. This free exhibition presents a musical and social survey of the rich contribution women have made to jazz over the last 100 years and of the talented upcoming generation who herald an exciting new era. Here are some of the many comments in the visitors’ book:
  • “My sister and I travelled from Birmingham to see this exhibition, and it has been an absolute delight. My job occasionally brings me to London and I loved to have an excuse to visit the Barbican. This is a great venue with lots to see, and I’ll certainly return again. Once again, the Women in Jazz and the NJA shows are magnificent. Thank you!”
  • “Great collection and beautifully presented.”
  • “Wonderful. Beautifully presented.”
  • “Great exhibition. Much needed.”
  • “Very well laid out and tempting vinyl to select and play. Jolly good. Thank you.”
Barbican Music Library is at the Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS. The exhibition runs until 3 January and is open from 9.30am Monday to Saturday. It closes at 5.30pm on Monday and Wednesday, 7.30pm on Tuesday and Thursday, 2pm on Friday, and 4pm on Saturday. The Library is closed on bank holidays.

More details are here.

James Pearson Trio – 100 Years of Jazz Piano 

The James Pearson Trio will play a fundraising concert ‘100 Years of Jazz Piano’ for the Archive on Saturday 9 February, in Loughton, Essex.

Pianist James Pearson, with Sam Burgess on bass and Chris Higginbottom on drums, will present a history of jazz piano, featuring Oscar Peterson, Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton, Erroll Garner, Bill Evans and many, many more. James is a world-class pianist, composer and raconteur extraordinaire. He is the artistic director at Ronnie Scott’s Club where his trio are the house band. 
The James Pearson Trio play 'Falling in Love with Love', recorded at Ronnie Scott's Club.
The concert is at Loughton Methodist Church, close to the Archive’s home in Loughton Library, a kilometre away from Loughton Station on the Central Line, and served by numerous bus routes. The concert starts at 2.30pm and tickets cost £15.

The concert will include a tribute to the late Brian Browning, in thanks and recognition for the most generous legacy he left to the National Jazz Archive in his will. There will be a display of some of the photos he took at the East Side Jazz Club, Leytonstone over the years.

‘Say it With Music’ comes to Chelmsford

The Archive’s exhibition ‘Say it With Music’ will be at Chelmsford Library from Saturday 5 to Friday 25 January. The exhibition was developed during the Archive’s 18-month Intergenerational Jazz Reminiscence Project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It explores how different generations have promoted, performed, supported, and documented our jazz heritage. Visitors will be able to relate interviews and memories recorded throughout the project to their own experience of discovering music, which illustrates the investment that people of different ages and backgrounds have made to British musical heritage. Original photos, posters and magazines from the Archive will be on display.

The Library is at County Hall, Market Road, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1QH and is open Monday to Friday 9am–6.30pm, Saturday 9am–5.30pm, and Sunday 1–4pm. 


Check out our new website!

The National Jazz Archive website has been redesigned in conjunction with Townsweb Archiving. The new site is designed to work well on mobile devices and, importantly, the search function is now fully integrated so you can search across our catalogue, digitised collections and website content simultaneously. 

Listen to Archive trustee John Dale’s interview on London Jazz Live/Brooklands radio where he explains the main changes (starting at 1.31).

We’ve also taken the opportunity to update our logo, while keeping Humphrey Lyttelton’s iconic cartoon trumpeter. We look forward to your feedback and comments!

A great anniversary celebration at the 100 Club

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra Nonet gave a terrific concert at the 100 Club on 21 November as the climax of the Archive’s 30th anniversary year and as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. NJA chair Paul Kaufman opened the evening, and Digby Fairweather, the founder of the Archive in 1988, recalled the early years and introduced the NYJO Nonet.

The Nonet played a hugely varied programme, ranging from an arrangement of Duke Ellington’s ‘Creole Love Call’, featuring vocalist Ellie Bignall, trumpeter Harry Evans, and Lewis Borland on alto sax, through to ‘What it Would’ written by former NYJO player Tom Ridout, with lyrics by Ellie Bignall. Along the way they played rich arrangements of classic tunes, sometimes renaming them to reflect how far from the original they had travelled. So ‘I Remember Clifford’ became ‘He’ll Never Be Forgotten’, and ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ emerged as ‘Suckle as a Rose of Honey’! Other highlights were ‘Darn That Dream’, ‘But Not For Me’ and ‘My Romance’.

Former NYJO tenor saxophonist Josephine Davies joined the group for four fine solos in the second set, concluding with ‘Love Song from Apache’ and Sammy Nestico’s ‘Switch in Time’. The band brought a great evening to a close with a great encore performance of Quincy Jones’ ‘Blues in the Night’.

The Nonet featured Lewis Boreland (alto sax), Jonny Ford (tenor sax), Chris Whiter (baritone sax), Harry Evans (trumpet), Ed Parr (trombone), Joe Hill (piano), Nick Fitch (guitar), Jack Tustin (bass), Luke Tomlinson (drums) and Ellie Bignall (vocals).

Many thanks to NYJO and Josephine Davies for the music, to Jeff Horton and the team at the 100 Club, and to all who came to celebrate our anniversary.

Read author and journalist Chris Welch’s review here.

NJA satellite arrives in Birmingham 

Birmingham City University now hosts materials for the British Institute of Jazz Studies and from the National Jazz Archive, creating a satellite collection of the Archive. 

Professor Nick Gebhardt, Director of the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, said “The partnership between Birmingham City University and the National Jazz Archive is an important new initiative that seeks to stimulate debate about the history and significance of jazz in the UK and beyond. Through exhibitions, performances, talks and workshops, our aim is to create a vibrant, living archive known for innovative research and outreach programmes that are uniquely anchored in the wider community.”

The initial collections are foreign-language jazz and blues-related magazines from across the world, including: Australian Jazz Quarterly (Australia), Coda (Canada), Hot Jazz Club (Argentina), Jazz (Belgium), Jazz Bladet (Norway), Jazz Bulletin (Czech Republic), Jazz Forum (Poland), Jazz Live (Austria), Jazz Nu (Netherlands), Jazz ‘n’ More (Switzerland), Jazznytt (Sweden), Jazz Podium (Germany), Jazz Revy (Denmark), Melody Maker (UK), Musica Jazz (Italy), Quartica Jazz (Spain) and Rytmi (Finland).

These materials are available to all through appointment with the Keeper of the Archives, Dr Pedro Cravinho (who is also a trustee of the NJA) at

Conference registration now open 

Registration for Documenting Jazz, the first jazz studies conference in Ireland is now open, and the draft programme is available. The conference is at the Dublin Institute of Technology from 17 to 19 January 2019, and several trustees of the National Jazz Archive are involved in the event. Further information is here.

Gems from the Archive – The Denis Williams photographic collection 

The Archive holds the UK’s finest collection of written and printed material on jazz, blues and related music, from the 1920s to the present day. But it is the Archive’s collection of photographic images, either as physical media or digitised and displayed on our website, that many respond to as they invoke memories of bands and musicians and the music they created.  

“Photography, archive and memory are intimately connected. Memory and photography both involve the process of recording images that may be used to recall the past.” (Karen Cross and Julia Peck. Photographies, Vol. 3, No. 10) 

Within the Archive’s photographic collection are the hundreds of stunning images taken by jazz photographer Denis Williams. Denis’s photographs have been digitised and can be viewed on the Archive’s website here. In 2015, stalwart Archive volunteer Alan Quaife catalogued the Denis Williams collection before it was digitised.  

A number of other photographic image collections are held in the Archive awaiting digitisation, subject to obtaining adequate funding. These include the wonderful collections of British jazz writer and historian Jim Godbolt, and of Brian Foskett, recently donated to the Archive.   

The photos show, from the top: Don Rendell (soprano) and Steve Cook (bass guitar) at The Stables, Wavendon, Buckinghamshire; Bill Le Sage (vibes) and Tony Archer (bass) at The Fairway, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire in January 1993; and Ginger Baker with his band Energy at The Forum, Hatfield, Hertfordshire in January 1980.


The National Jazz Archive requires your support, financially and in kind. There are many ways in which you can help and contribute. For its continuing success, the Archive requires a great deal of skilled work to conserve, catalogue and digitise our collections, and make them accessible to researchers, writers, journalists, students and enthusiasts through our website. Expert staff are needed to manage and develop the Archive to professional standards.

Your support is vital for all these tasks, and to secure the future development of the Archive. In turn, your support will preserve the jazz heritage of the past and ensure its future.

You can make a regular or one-off donation using a credit or debit card securely through the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) or by cheque. If you are a UK taxpayer and are eligible to Gift Aid your donation, completing a Gift Aid declaration form enables the Archive to increase your gift by 25p for every £1 given (at current rate), at no extra cost to you or us.

If you wish to make a donation by sending us a cheque please download and complete a Gift Aid form and post it to us along with your cheque.


Recent news and features about jazz you may have missed
Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert – will be performed in St Albans Cathedral on 2 March 2019 by the Hertfordshire Chorus and the Blue Planet Orchestra, with Zoë Brookshaw soprano, conducted by David Temple.

Deep River – the story of the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project at Baylor University …

… and a marvellous recording of one of the discoveries made during the project: The Old Ship of Zion’ by the Mighty Wonders of Aquasco, Maryland.

The Louis Armstrong House Museum is opening up its digital archive.

Jazz-hitz – a new European jazz research journal has just been launched, with the aim of publishing jazz-related work by collaborators from different countries and diverse languages, and contributing to the visibility and knowledge of jazz research.
Jutta Hipp – the brief career and self-imposed exile of Europe’s ‘First Lady of Jazz’. – Alexander Ebert’s “musings on jazz and related topics, popular culture and jazz in the movies”.


… and from the National Jazz Archive trustees, staff and volunteers, to all our readers!

The cartoon is from Jazz News, 17 December 1960. You can read the whole issue here.

The National Jazz Archive was founded by trumpeter Digby Fairweather in 1988 and is supported by Essex County Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
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Copyright © 2018 National Jazz Archive, All rights reserved.

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