The Weeksville Lost Jazz Shrines of Brooklyn Collection (WLJSB) Finding Aid

Item

Title

The Weeksville Lost Jazz Shrines of Brooklyn Collection (WLJSB) Finding Aid

Description

Historical Note:

The Weeksville Lost Jazz Shrines of Brooklyn (WLJSB) project emerged out of a series of questions developed by the WHC research staff in an October 2008 proposal concerning the cultural legacy of jazz history in Central Brooklyn. Between the 1930s and 1960s, Central Brooklyn was home to a unique
and rich jazz culture; one very similar to that of the well-known jazz scene of Harlem, between 1940-1960. The birthplace of dynamic jazz musicians such as Max Roach, and Randy Weston, Central Brooklyn housed some of the most important and prominent jazz venues during the time period. These venues included: Blue Coronet, Kingston Lounge, Club La Marchal, and Putnam Central. Within these infamous venues, a myriad of jazz artists performed namely Miles Davis, Jitu Weusi, JoAnn Cheatham, Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, and Randy Weston.

This project takes a deeper look at the key musicians, institutions, organizations, venues, and supporters of this jazz scene, and how each of them played a significant role in this cultural flourishing. As stated in the WLJSB Project Overview, "WHC's objective is to create a Brooklyn jazz history and culture archive at Weeksville by documenting "lost" jazz music venues in the local area. Some of these are still standing, although have ceased to operate as performance spaces, and others no longer physically exist. The collection maps out not only the physical locations of these "lost shrines" but also their cultural histories -What happened at these places? Who performed there? Who frequented them? What did they mean to people? How did Brooklyn residents experience them? What do they remember most about them? Who did these places bring together? What was their relationship with other local (e.g., Harlem), regional and national jazz scenes and various jazz communities? How did these communities interact? How did they differ? How was the Central Brooklyn area referenced in the jazz music created in New York? What was the impact of jazz in Brooklyn on the area, New York City, and beyond? How is Brooklyn remembered through jazz? To what extent were women involved in this history? How did Brooklyn jazz build and sustain the local community?" (Scott 2008).

In addition to the oral histories, research was conducted to find key documents; including advertisement and flyers for shows; reviews of performances; common nightlife in Brooklyn during the 1930s-1960s, and other ephemeral productions related to jazz in Central Brooklyn. This research (including interviews and primary source documents) was conducted by Jennifer Scott, Willard Jenkins, and Kaitlyn Greenidge between 2007 and 2011 at institutions such as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Rutgers Jazz Archive, and the Smithsonian.
Scope and Content Note:

The Weeksville Lost Jazz Shrines of Brooklyn Collection (1895-2001) documents the birthplace of dynamic jazz musicians such as Max Roach, and Randy Weston, Central Brooklyn housed some of the most important and prominent jazz venues during the time period. These venues included: Blue Coronet, Kingston Lounge, Club La Marchal, The Continental, Sista’s Place, The East, and Turbo Village. Within these infamous venues, a host of jazz artists performed and recorded, including but not limited to Miles Davis, Jitu Weusi, JoAnn Cheatham, Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, and Randy Weston. The collection contains oral histories, jazz vinyl records, clippings, broadsides, and photographs, including the “Jazz Drive Around” video recording. The photographs include historic and modern-day impressions of various jazz facilities façades.

The bulk of the collection is inclusive of secondary resource materials: copies of primary resource newspaper clippings from New York City newspapers from years 1930 to the mid-90s. The Jazz Amsterdam News Bibliography Subject Index lists well-known jazz musicians. The bibliography includes artist & club owners and articles on various jazz sites.

The collection is organized into four series: Research, Oral History, Photographs, and Media. The research series encompasses primary sources, jazz ephemera, the Helen & Lee Morgan documents, publications, and biographies. The photo series includes video stills from 'The Jazz Drive Around' (2008), Alex Korah, and the Leonard Gaskin (secondary resource) Collection; and the media series includes the oral history interviews, and recordings of various jazz musicians, a bulk of which belong to Randy Weston.

Creator

Weeksville Heritage Center
Alexsandra Mitchell
Deidre Dinniga
Ardra Whitney
Joyce LeeAnn Joseph
Megan Goins-Diouf
Jennifer Scott

Date

2015

Language

English

Publisher

Weeksville Heritage Center

Rights

Weeksville Heritage Center

Item sets