News from the National Jazz Archive
Newsletter 2021, No. 1, February

Coronavirus update

The Archive remains closed due to coronavirus, so we cannot respond in detail to your requests about our collections and resources. But remember that our website holds hundreds of digitised images, journals, posters, interviews and other resources for you to explore and enjoy.

Some of our wonderful team of volunteers are continuing to work on projects from home, but their regular weekly sessions of sorting, accessioning, cataloguing and digitising are on hold for the time being. Some meetings and discussions are carrying on with Zoom. 

In the meantime, stay safe and enjoy the links in the items that follow.

Jazz book sale continues

Thanks to all who have supported our book sales over the past few months – since June last year, over £3600 has been raised for the Archive. Special thanks to those who bought books, and made an additional donation along with your payment. 

Here is this month’s selection of over 65 books, grouped into Biographies and memoirs, Jazz history and reference, Jazz in Britain, Jazz places and stories, Jazz on record and CD, and Songwriters and popular song.

These are all from the wonderfully generous gifts and legacy donations made by Geoff Barton, Michael Brocking, Nick Cottis, Pam and Tony Elliott, Tony Farsky, Graham Langley, Jill Lince, Chris Lowe, Richard Pite and John Sturgess.

We have only one copy of many of them, so email quickly to check if the ones you are interested in are still available.

Website – help us to help you

2020 saw us make huge strides in developing the National Jazz Archive website

Our plans for developing the website in 2021 include adding more content to our online collections. This means making more of our journals, photographs, and interviews freely available to researchers and enthusiasts online.

We are preparing to make some technical changes to help visitors find information more easily when searching the internet using search engines, such as Google.

We’re working on making the site even more attractive and easier to use, but we also want to hear from you. We want to help you get more from our website, so tell us what you would like to see, what articles you would like to read, and any changes you would like us to consider.

As supporters of the Archive, your opinions about the website are valuable to us, so let us know your thoughts by emailing us at It’s your resource, so help us to help you.

Become a Trustee for the NJA

The National Jazz Archive is seeking two new trustees with expertise respectively in Archives and collection management, and Fundraising.

The successful applicants will be expected to share our ‘hands-on’ approach to support and take forward this dynamic and expanding organisation. 

More information about the roles is available here. The closing date for applications is 31 March. 

Thank you – recent donations to the Archive

We are most grateful for the many books, journals, photos and other materials that have been donated in recent months. Because the Archive is closed due to coronavirus it has not been possible to compile a full listing, but you can read about some of the donations and enquiries here. 

Social media – follow the crowd

We love sharing our images and stories of various well known (and not so well known) jazz artists and jazz on social media. It gives us a way of keeping in touch with jazz enthusiasts and researchers across the globe.

Our audience has grown significantly across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in 2020 and we have set ourselves the target of reaching 2000 followers on each channel this year. Recent themes have included a tribute to Tubby Hayes, just before his birthday and we were delighted to hear from Tubby’s son Richard, who had seen our posts of his father on Instagram.

During lockdown, working on social media is something we can do safely working from home. So we’ve been delighted to welcome Rob Dineen as a new volunteer to the Archive. Based at his home in Greater London, Rob has been working as part of the social media team since January and it’s great to have him on board.

If you haven’t yet joined, just click on our social media buttons at the bottom of this newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. It’s a great way to learn and share stories with fellow jazz fans.

If there’s a theme or artist you would like us to focus on across social media, we’d be happy to follow your lead. Just email us at or send us a direct message using social media.

Recent volunteer activity at the Archive

The work of our wonderful volunteers over the past year has been made much more difficult by the coronavirus pandemic, with Loughton Library either closed or with very restricted access. But here is a summary of what has been achieved by volunteers working in the Archive, when it has been possible, and at home.

The materials and equipment that our volunteers use to carry out their work is paid for by our recent fundraising appeal, sales of donated books and contributions from Rabbit Records and Heritage Images.

If you'd like to find out more about volunteering at the Archive, contact our volunteer coordinator, Angela Davies, on

(The photo of NJA volunteers, staff and trustees was taken at the Archive in July 2019, when normal working was possible.)

Rabbit Records – update on donations

Since 2007, Rabbit Records has been working with the National Jazz Archive to help people to donate or dispose of their collections of vinyl records and CDs. We are most grateful to Scott Nicol of Rabbit Records for his continuing help and support, and to everyone who has donated records and CDs. In the last six months, over £2500 has been received by the Archive from sales of records and CDs. 

Are you down-sizing your jazz collection during lock-down?

Are your beloved vinyl records and CDs collecting dust? Have you replaced all those treasured tracks with MP3 downloads? Has a loved one passed on so you’re looking for a home for their collection? Would you like to support your Archive with a financial gift or just convert the collection into hard cash?

As a charity, the Archive needs funds so our books, magazines, photos and personal collections are available to students, researchers and fans now and in the future. One way of doing this is helping jazz fans and their families dispose of precious vinyl and CD collections. 

Rabbit Records works with the National Jazz Archive to help people donate or dispose of their vinyl and CDs. Their main area of interest is jazz and blues, but they cover all genres of music, including rock, pop, 60s, classical, soul and R&B. 

Rabbit has built up a customer base across Europe, North America and Asia. So if you donate or sell your collection it will go to people who share your enjoyment and love of the music.

If you’d like to donate your collection then Rabbit Records can facilitate the sale, with a proportion of the proceeds benefitting the work and development of the Archive. Alternatively, Rabbit Records will purchase collections directly and then make a donation to the Archive to acknowledge the referral, so the Archive still benefits.

Rabbit Records is happy to handle collections of any size, from a couple of boxes up to major collections. Collections can be arranged from your home or office. To discuss your requirements simply contact Scott Nicol at Rabbit Records on 07710 794896 or e-mail

Jazzy jigsaws and other things

According to reports, UK sales of jigsaw puzzles have ballooned since Covid and topped £100 million in 2020! 

So if you are a dissectologist seeking an extra special puzzle, or are just looking for a unique themed present for a jazz lover, why not try our partner, Heritage Images.  

Their website showcases over a thousand exceptional quality National Jazz Archive images of bands and artists. First make a selection. This can then be customised in a variety of ways when placing your order. These include framed prints of different sizes, cards, cushions, mugs, and of course jigsaw puzzles. The joy from your purchase will be shared by the Archive which receives much needed income from each sale.

Louis Lince

Louis Lince was a banjo and guitar player who worked with many traditional jazz bands for more than 50 years. He died early in 2020, and his widow Jill has generously donated materials covering his long career, his involvement with traditional jazz, and visits to New Orleans, along with a large number of jazz books. Some of the books are being added to our collections at Loughton and Birmingham City University, while others are being offered for sale through our regular book sales.

Louis was a semi-pro musician with Mac’s New Orleans Band, the Dave Bailey Trio and Barry Palser’s Savoy Jazzmen. He also played and recorded with Ken Colyer’s All Stars in the 1970s and ’80s. Louis became a full-time musician in 1988, having formed Louis Lince’s New Orleans Band. He went on to work with Annie Hawkins’ New Orleans Legacy, Monty Sunshine’s Band and The Savannah Jazz Band. He was a regular visitor to New Orleans where he played on many recordings. Louis was also a jazz historian and lecturer.

A tribute to Louis by John Petters can be read here, and the Louis Lince Big 4 can be heard playing ‘Bouncing Around’ in 2018 here

Looking for Billy Butterfield

American trumpet player Billy Butterfield came to prominence with Bob Crosby in the late 1930s and later played with Artie Shaw, Les Brown and Benny Goodman.

With Crosby, Billy soloed on 'I’m Free', a tune by bassist Bob Haggart, which became 'What's New?' when lyrics were added. Crosby’s version, featuring Billy’s performance, is one of the finest recordings of the big band era. From the late 1960s Billy was a member of the World’s Greatest Jazz Band until his death in 1988.

During the 1980s Billy made several trips to Europe and in 1986, he was in the UK with clarinettist ‘Peanuts’ Hucko. During their visit, they played an extremely well received gig in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire with Terry Lightfoot’s band. 

In recent months, the Archive’s team has been developing our profile on social media. This has proved very successful, not least as our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter postings are being responded to by jazz lovers across the world, in particular the US. 

Recently, we received an enquiry from Billy’s daughter and family in the US via Facebook about his UK visits. Receiving this kind of query is an everyday occurrence for our knowledgeable research archivist, David Nathan. However, for this one, the task was passed to one of our volunteers to search the website and share the information with Billy’s family.

This brought up three photos from the 1986 Potters Bar gig by Denis Williams and an interview with journalist Les Tomkins during an earlier visit to the UK, published in Crescendo in 1974.

The information was shared with Billy’s family who thanked the Archive for their efforts. Additional details were provided about our partner organisation, Heritage Images, who can supply a range of prints and other products of the images from the Archive, including those of Billy here.   

At this point, it was felt that the Archive had fulfilled its purpose of making our jazz heritage freely available. But, as in the best detective novels, it wasn’t the end of the story. On reading the email to Billy’s family, an Archive trustee contacted the volunteer who carried out the research. Not only was her husband Terry Lightfoot’s trumpeter, but she’d attended the Potters Bar gig back in 1986 and had photographs of Billy and the Lightfoot band taken on the night. It is hoped that post-pandemic the photographs can be scanned and shared with Billy’s family. 

Just another working day for the NJA research team!

(The photo of Terry Lightfoot (left), ‘Peanuts’ Hucko and Billy Butterfield in Potters Bar in 1986 is by Denis Williams.)

That's the Noise!

NJA trustee Roger Cotterrell remembers poet, trumpeter and flugelhorn player Shake Keane, as the first biography is published about this ground-breaking jazz musician.

How many jazz listeners know Shake Keane’s music now? How many even know his name? There is a loyal minority (and not just jazz people but also lovers of Caribbean music traditions, as well as of poetry), but there should be many more.

There are those of us who fondly remember the music of altoist Joe Harriott’s brilliant quintet, in which Shake was an absolutely essential part. Continue reading...


‘Rhapsody in Blue – a jazz portrait of George Gershwin’ 

In this live stream performance from Ronnie Scott’s Club, James Pearson performs Gershwin’s music, concluding with ‘Rhapsody in Blue’. It’s free to view, but donations can be made here to support the venue and the musicians.

NYJO play ‘A Night in Tunisia’

This National Youth Jazz Orchestra version of the bebop classic ‘A Night in Tunisia’ was recorded during lockdown in summer 2020. This video links to the blog post about Dizzy Gillespie, released on 6 January to coincide with the date of his death in 1993.

Jazz on BBC Radio

The BBC Genome Project is a website that lists all the programme details published in the Radio Times between 1923 and 2009. A simple search for ‘jazz’ identifies 1266 programmes broadcast during that period, but clicking ‘Advanced’ on the home page enables you to tailor your search. For example, changing the search to ‘Programme available’ shows that 37 radio broadcasts can be listened to now. These include such delights as Desert Island Discs with Ronnie Scott, Dizzy Gillespie, John Dankworth and Dave Brubeck, who appeared on the programme twice, first in 1959 and then in 1999. 

Spread the word!

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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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