Boston's Jazz History
The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Paul's Mall, 1970
More than a few of the greats appearing in town were homegrown: Roy Haynes, Johnny Hodges, Serge Chaloff, Paul Gonsalves, and, in later years, Chick Corea and Tony Williams.
But nurturing the growth of jazz by hosting live music is only part of the city's legacy. When Lawrence Berk founded the Schillinger House in 1945 based on a system of music inspired by composer and teacher Dr. Joseph Schillinger, he was laying the groundwork for one of the world's great musical institutions: Berklee College of Music. In the years since, that school has not only built a faculty that reads like a Who's Who of jazz, it has educated some of the music's most influential artists. Quincy Jones, Diana Krall, Joe Lovano, Branford Marsalis, Pat Metheny, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and Joe Zawinul all hold degrees from Berklee.
Down the street on Huntington Avenue, New England Conservatory has also played a critical role in developing both the music and its talent. With important artists including Gunther Schuller, George Russell, and Ran Blake leading the way, NEC's jazz departments have educated an impressive list of musicians who continue to influence the contemporary scene, from Cecil Taylor and John Medeski to Luciana Souza and Don Byron.
A Starting Point…
|The John Coltrane Quartet with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones, Jazz Workshop, 1964|
The New England Jazz Alliance has done tremendous work documenting both the region's and the city's jazz history.
Boston native Nat Hentoff takes a look back at the city’s jazz past in this October 2001 Boston Magazine article:
Boston-based author Richard Vacca, who contributed the pieces below, is the author of The Boston Jazz Chronicles: Faces, Places, and Nightlife: 1937-1962, published by Troy Street Publishing in 2012.
Emerson College’s “[Boston] City in Transition” series includes several articles, below, written by Drake Lucas about Boston’s jazz history.
South End jazz: An invisible tradition
Boston’s Place in Jazz History
The Disappearance of South End Jazz
Map of Favorite South End Jazz Clubs