Blues Historian Paul Oliver has died at 90

PAUL OLIVER, 90, on August 15 in Oxfordshire, England. A British academician who wrote some of the first scholarly studies of the blues in the 1950s and ‘60s, which sparked a renewed interest in the music. He wrote or edited 10 books, including a biography of Bessie Smith (1959), Blues Feel this Morning: The Meaning of the Blues (1960), and The Story of the Blues (1969), considered the first comprehensive history of the genre.

He made several trips to the United States to interview and record blues musicians, and illustrated and wrote the liner notes for dozens of albums. He left a 1,400-page manuscript on the Texas blues, which is scheduled to be published in the fall of 2018. His principal occupation was as an architectural historian.

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Lew Shaw started writing about music as the publicist for the famous Berkshire Music Barn in the 1960s. He joined the West Coast Rag in 1989 and has been a guiding light to this paper through the two name changes since then as we grew to become The Syncopated Times.  47 of his profiles of today's top musicians are collected in Jazz Beat: Notes on Classic Jazz. Volume two, Jazz Beat Encore: More Notes on Classic Jazz contains 43 more! Lew taps his extensive network of connections and friends throughout the traditional jazz world to bring us his Jazz Jottings column every month.

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