The Archive of Recorded Sound is pleased to announce the acquisition and recently completed processing of the Art Vincent Jazz Collection. The collection features over 800 hours of interviews, broadcasts, and call-in segments primarily created for the radio program Art of Jazz, produced and presented by Art Vincent (1926-1993), Jazz DJ and concert producer. The show aired on radio stations in the New York Metropolitan area between 1961 and the mid 1980s, including WFHA, WJLK, WRLB, and WGBO. In addition to some live concert recordings, the show notably featured interviews with major figures in the jazz world, such as Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Buddy DeFranco, Woody Herman, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Lou Rawls, Roy Eldridge, Skitch Henderson, Art Farmer, Duke Ellington, Teddy Wilson, Stan Getz, Louis Armstrong, Gerry Mulligan, Dave Brubeck, Benny Goodman, Stephane Grappelli, Dizzy Gillespie, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Vera Auer, Ruth Brown, Betty Carter, Etta Jones, Sheila Jordan, Nellie Lutcher, Anita O'Day, Shirley Scott, Maxine Sullivan, Nancy Wilson, and many others.
Art of Jazz spanned Vincent's almost thirty year career in Jazz. Vincent's intention was that the show should present, discuss, and celebrate Jazz as an art form equal in importance to western classical music.
As a radio DJ, Vincent often refused to follow the conventions imposed by commercial radio stations. He would allow for silence at the start and end of any track he played, not speaking over either end; he would play multiple tracks in sequence without commercial or vocal interruption; and would compose his own playlists based on his preference and feedback from listeners and musicians, thereby rejecting the radio station's officially endorsed playlists.
In addition to his radio work, Vincent served as master of ceremonies, producer, and promoter for jazz concerts in New Jersey and elsewhere throughout his career. This allowed Vincent to not only further existing close relationships with musicians in the area, but to also build new ones. This network of relationships, along with Vincent's prominence within the New York Metropolitan area jazz scene, resulted in unique in-depth interviews with many of the jazz greats of the era. These interviews were either captured in the studio, or on-location, at various concert venues or elsewhere.
A point of interest for library fans...in 1972 Vincent helped to launch what would become a highly successful jazz performance series at the Monmouth County Library in New Jersey. Vincent proposed the idea, and worked with library staff to plan the first jazz concerts ever held in a U.S. public library reading room.
The Art Vincent Jazz Collection was generously donated to Stanford by Art Vincent's daughters, Lezlie and June Vincent. Thanks go to Michael Owen, a recent intern at the Archive of Recorded Sound, for his work processing the collection, and to Stanford Media Preservation Lab, who recently digitized over 150 recordings from the collection, chosen as highlights by Lezlie and June Vincent.
* A short biography of Art Vincent on Wikipedia was used as a source when creating this blog post.