August 16, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
Tim Wilkins contributed to this post.
WBGO's dear friend Annie Kuebler died on Monday, August 13, in Atlantic City. Annie had been an Archivist at the Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University, Newark, from 2000 until February of this year, when she resigned because of declining health. Before she came to the IJS, Annie worked with the Duke Ellington collection at the Smithsonian Institution.
Annie had countless friends, and was “one of the best jazz archivists out there,” says Tad Hershorn, a colleague at the IJS. Annie was an excellent project manager, she read music, trained students and volunteers and – as we all sensed or knew – became very important to the day-to-day atmosphere at the Institute. “Brassy, funny, irreverent,” is how Tad describes her. Other words immediately spring to mind: generous, thoughtful and kind.
To read Annie's story as written for the Institute of Jazz Studies by Hershorn, click here.
Farewell, Annie, we will miss you! If you have memories of Annie you would like to share, please add them to our comments section, and we will be adding to this online tribute in coming days, so come back and visit us again.
Annie's position at Rutgers-Newark was first funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. She was so good that when the grant ran out, the Institute kept finding ways to keep her.
Annie’s major project at the IJS was the Mary Lou Williams archive. Those of us who have seen it appreciate the scale. Williams saved everything for decades -- dresses and purses, albums, scores, countless penciled lists and notes to herself, even a hand-written letter to her from me in 1980.
With Mary Lou's collection, as well as the James P. Johnson archive, Annie always turned "countless" into "catalogued" and knew the value, location, the story of each item. She did this with the help of devoted students and interns.
People loved working with her. Her young colleague Joe Peterson says he is taking some "comfort in the fact that if Annie had any questions about Duke or Mary, she now has the answers from the source[s].”
How she went from being a single mother of four and a part-time bartender to all of the above, I don’t know. She encountered a near fatal fire along the way, and it scarred her for life but did not seem to scar her spirit. She was upbeat and animated, smart.
She is survived by her mother in Baltimore, four children (three sons and a daughter) and her Institute of Jazz Studies family, plus many admirers and friends.
A Mass will be given to honor her memory at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, 200 Ware Avenue, Towson, Maryland at 10 a.m. Tuesday, August 28, with another to be held at St. Bartholomew of the Apostle Church, 2032 Westfield Avenue, Scotch Plains, New Jersey at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 15.
© 2012 WBGO
April 12, 2012. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
Author Tad Hershorn talks with Gary Walker about his new book, Norman Granz: The Man Who Used Jazz For Justice (University of California, 2011), and Granz's legacy in music and civil rights.
Granz, who died in 2001, was the founder of Clef, Verve and Pablo Records, and the organizer of the Jazz at the Philharmonic concert tours and albums. A staunch supporter of racial equality, Granz made sure that his artists were well-paid and well-treated when they traveled and worked with him.
Hershorn interviewed Granz and his close associates extensively over a decade while he was writing the book. Hershorn, an archivist at Rutgers University-Newark's Institute for Jazz Studies, has organized an exhibit of Granz memorabilia which will be on display until April 25 at the Institute.
© 2012 WBGO
April 9, 2012. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
In recent years someone gave Phoebe Jacobs one of those hi tech mini recording devices and said “Phoebe, just speak your stories. We’ll make the book”. She responded a short time later, “I can’t get this damn thing to work”.
As a result, we’ll not read the book about a lady we lost this week at 93; a lady who hat checked as a young girl in her uncle’s jazz joint on 52nd Street while Billie Holiday sang or Artie Shaw played. She worked with Norman Granz, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. It was Phoebe who was instrumental in carrying on Armstrong’s legacy in her role as vice-president of The Louis Armstrong Educational foundation.
Although there was no book, on occasion Phoebe Jacobs would sit still long enough to share some of her wonderful life. Below is a chat I had with Phoebe a few weeks before The 2007 JVC Festival would present a musical tribute “Phoebe Jacobs, A Life Well-Lived: A Work Still In Progress." - Gary Walker
© 2012 WBGO