Rutgers University Acquires the Archives of Jazz Legend Count Basie



The Institute of Jazz Studies on the Newark campus of Rutgers University in New Jersey has announced that is has acquired the archives of legendary jazz musician and big band leader Count Basie. The Count Basie Collection includes his pianos, Hammond organ, photos, correspondence, concert programs, business records, housewares and press clippings. Nearly 1,000 artifacts are included in the collection.

Wayne Winborne, executive director of the Institute of Jazz Studies notes that “although the materials cover the entire years of Basie’s lifetime, the collection represents the latter years of Basie’s life and career particularly well, including a large number of accolades, Grammy awards, honorary degrees, and proclamations.”

Count Basie enjoyed a career that spanned more than 60 years and helped to elevate jazz as a serious art form. Count Basie established swing as one of jazz’s predominant styles and solidified the link between jazz and the blues. In 1958, he was the first African American to win a Grammy Award. He went on to earn eight additional Grammys. He died in 1984.

The collection will be available to researchers and the general public in the near future.


One thought on “Rutgers University Acquires the Archives of Jazz Legend Count Basie”

  1. It’s good that Count Basie’s stellar work is being acknowledged and housed. However, I always wonder – so many institutions that may have one time not even allowed Count Basie or other famous Black people to set foot on their property – how do they wind up getting entire collections of work? Is it really that tied up to the dollar? Have any Black institutions even thought about pooling their resources to purchase and house the work of some famous person, rotating the collection among those who helped to pay for it? Just wondering.

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