Realizing that they had amassed a huge collection of important artifacts of the jazz revival, and hoping to ensure their preservation, The San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation (SFTJF) transferred 750 linear feet of materials to Stanford’s music library in 2009. Fundraising to digitize the SFTJF’s most historically significant recordings, photographs and documents began in 2014, and digitization was begun in 2016. The process of organizing and digitizing them is finally complete and we are delighted to share with you the result of their efforts.
An exhibit titled “The Great Jazz Revival” has been added to the digital collections of the Stanford University Libraries and is now available to the online public for research and enjoyment. The material amassed by the San Francisco Traditional Jazz Society includes photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, audio, videos, personal papers, scrapbooks, and sheet music belonging to Turk Murphy, Lu Watters, and first generation jazz pioneers like Bunk Johnson, Pops Foster, Eubie Blake, Darnell Howard, Earl Hines, Bob Helm, Sid LeProtti and
New Documentary Films And Original Articles
Bay Area filmmakers Anna Newman and Laura Batistich created more than three hours of original documentary films for the exhibit. They tell the larger story of a revival that began in, roughly, 1939 and spread from San Francisco to the world. Curators Hal Smith and Clint Baker meticulously researched each photograph to provide detailed information about the subjects and circumstances and Hal Smith created illustrated historical biographies of first generation jazzmen who took part in the Revival.
The online exhibit can be viewed at https://exhibits.stanford.edu/sftjf
Highlights of the collection include:
• Scrapbooks: A complete compilation of two scrapbooks assembled by Turk Murphy during
the 1930s, 40s and early 1950s, including photos of musicians and ephemera related to the
earliest performances and formation of Lu Watters’ Yerba Buena Jazz Band.
• Audio: Hundreds of hours of never-before-heard streaming audio, including broadcasts, jam sessions, and interviews digitized from paper tapes, reel-to-reel tapes, and cassette tapes.
• Music Scores: Hundreds of unpublished manuscripts composed or arranged by Turk Murphy and the complete Lu Watters songbook are available for study. Many jazz band arrangements are available for download and printing.
• Video: 11 new videos have been created to accompany the exhibit, as well as archival footage from live concerts, television appearances, and even home movies.
• Photographs: Hundreds of photos of musicians, music industry notables, and historic clubs are available for research and enjoyment. In addition to San Francisco locations and musicians, visitors will find photographs documenting early band tours by Turk Murphy and Lu Watters, and photos of visiting jazz greats like Louis Armstrong, Eubie Blake, Clancy
Hayes, Kid Ory, Earl Hines, and Pops Foster.
Stanford is well known for its Archive of Recorded Sound which houses everything from wax cylinders to piano rolls. In 2005 they began a project to digitize resources of enduring value so they would be available without risk to the originals. In addition to the new West Coast Revival archive, The Stanford Digital Repository now houses almost 500 TB of content available to the music researcher.
The Syncopated Times will be diving into this archive frequently to support and find ideas for future stories.