Friends of the Cheng Library Sponsor Living Jazz Archives Event

The Cheng Library sponsors event introducing materials from the University's Living Jazz Archives.
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Prof. David Demsey reviews the work of Thad Jones, Clark Terry, and James Williams. Pictured behind Dr. Demsey is a photograph of Clark Terry, legendary trumpeter/educator and former Adjunct Professor in the Jazz Program.

Where would you expect to hear a performance by professional and student musicians of a composition by Clark Terry, and to see both his trumpet and original vinyl recordings? This performance and these historic materials were part of a program sponsored by the Friends of the Cheng Library. The event, “Thad Jones, Clark Terry and James Williams: The Living Jazz Archives in Word, Performance and Photographs,” took place on December 2, 2012 in the Auditorium of the Cheng Library.

In his opening remarks, Stephen Hahn, Associate Provost and Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Communication, commented that images of musicians often take one of two forms: one solitary and the other participatory. He contrasted the classical portrait of legendary musicians (similar to the photographs by JoAnn Kriven in Jazz Studies), and the photograph of a group of musicians getting together to play and perform. This event brought both of these elements to life. Photographs and other materials from the Living Jazz Archives were featured along with a quartet of musicians performing music by three famous composers of jazz.

The program showcased the individual contributions of three icons of jazz: Thad Jones, Clark Terry and James Williams. David Demsey, coordinator of the University’s Jazz Studies Program and curator of the Living Jazz Archives, focused a segment of the program on each composer and highlighted his remarks with reminisces and commentaries of his personal relationship with the composers.

In his address, Dr. Demsey also traced their association with the University and the jazz program. In addition to being great composers, all three of the musicians believed fervently in the need to instruct and inspire students. “The main challenge of teaching is to make the subject come alive,” said Prof. Demsey. Thad Jones, Clark Terry and James Williams were all faculty at the University where they shared their individual talents and their passion for jazz with aspiring musicians.

One of the photographs included during the program featured Thad Jones among a group of students instructing and practicing in Room 103 of the Music Department in Shea Center. The event combined Dr. Demsey’s narrative with articles from the Living Jazz Archives. Some of these materials include original vinyl recordings, photographs, original scores with notations, and in the case of Clark Terry, his trumpet. Together, the artifacts and the performances contributed to an understanding and appreciation of the considerable impact and continuing legacy of these great musicians and composers.

The musical portion of the program featured “Evol Deklaw Ni” by Thad Jones, “Argentia” by Clark Terry and “Take Time for Love” by James Williams. The quartet was comprised of David Demsey, saxophone, and three student musicians: David Zacs, piano, Charles Dougherty, bass and Joseph Spinelli, drums. The students are enrolled at the University and comprise the rhythm section of the William Paterson University Jazz Orchestra.

A book of photographs of jazz musicians, Jazz Studies by JoAnn Krivin, was available for a modest donation. Mrs. Kriven, wife of the first coordinator of the Jazz Program, Dr. Martin Krivin, captured many of her photographs during events at William Paterson University beginning in 1985. In a foreword to the book, Rufus Reid elaborated, “JoAnn’s striking photos transcend the moment and capture the intimate identity of the artist. All of her works stand among the best.”

December 06, 2012