The IAJRC — the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors –is worth investigating. Record labels come and go; jazz magazines and clubs surface and vanish, but the IAJRC keeps rolling on.
I have to say that I’ve always found the IAJRC’s title a little misleading. “Jazz record collectors,” to some, are gentlemen of a certain age who prefer the great indoors; who can rattle off matrix numbers of obscure Argentinian Odeons — the objects of satire, puzzlement, even pity.
The IAJRC members I know don’t fit that stereotype. More than a few are women. Many are employed, have families and spouses; go out in daylight; can have conversations about subjects beyond the unissued LITTLE BY LITTLE. So if you are reading this post and feeling interested . . . but worried that you will become a swing-Stepford-wife . . . have no fear of collector-contagion.
Seriously, the IAJRC and its members do so much more for and about the music than just acquire these precious artifacts. Yes, they collect “records,” but that means everything from early ragtime to free jazz, from cylinders to film and video. And their aim is ultimately to shed light on the accomplishments of the artists they (and we) admire.
And (here I quote), the IAJRC aims “to advance the cause of jazz music by creating more recognition of the great jazz musicians, by creating an atmosphere favorable to increased public acceptance of jazz as a great American art form, and by attracting more young musicians, listeners and patrons of the art into the field of jazz music.”
They accomplish this in several ways — publishing the quarterly IAJRC JOURNAL and other monographs; encouraging various kinds of research; holding meetings where the members can exchange ideas, information, and hear live jazz.
By the way, the IAJRC has a lively new website: here
And they have a Facebook page: here.
The 2012 IAJRC Convention is being held in New Orleans — in a four-star hotel at the corner of Canal and Bourbon (a sufficiently atmospheric location for the jazz GPS). It will take place on September 6-8, and will be full of presentations (scholarly / swinging), good friendship and live music. (My friend Tom Hustad will be giving a presentation on Ruby Braff, complete with video from Ruby’s final recording session — something remarkable!)
The 2011 Convention, by the way, featured creative hot jazz from groups led by our own Mike Durham and the talented Digby Fairweather; the 2010 Convention had the West End Jazz Band with our young hero Andy Schumm.
I have the most recent issue of the JOURNAL — over a hundred large-format pages — and I’ve been reading and admiring it for the last week. There are serious extended research essays on Jimmy Joy’s Orchestra (complete with the band’s itinerary and rare photographs) and a study of “Black Europe” — early African-American musicians venturing beyond the United States — or the photographs of Camarillo State Mental Hospital, where Charlie Parker recuperated. More: pages of enthusiastic record reviews, spanning the whole spectrum of recorded jazz. A chapter of “life-on-the-road” fiction by the venerable Don Manning, and rare advertisements reproduced from old jazz magazines . . . the eye goes from one thing to another, and I found a splendidly balanced mix of information and pleasure. In the center of the issue I read four pages of (free) classified ads from IAJRC members — some offering to sell records, others looking for information. Late in the pages there is a large photograph of Frankie “Half-Pint” Jaxon, grinning, with baton raised at a serious angle: the caption is “FAN IT!” What more could anyone want?
For three dollars, you may have a sample issue sent to you — details here: journal/samples.
Dues for an individual living in the United States or Canada are $45 / year; $55 outside those areas — and one can pay through PayPal on the website. That’s the cost of three compact discs — and although it’s a paradox to encourage people to join an organization of record collectors by not buying three discs . . . a year’s membership in the IAJRC will give much more pleasure, and you will be part of an enterprise devoted to helping jazz flourish.
P.S. And if you feel CD-deprived in this transaction, know that the IAJRC has produced splendid discs of its own — previously unheard material featuring Al Cohn, Lucky Thompson, Joe Venuti, Joe Haymes, Buck Clayton, Horace Henderson, Bobby Hackett, Vic Dickenson, Ed Hall, Dick Wellstood . . . which are available to members at seriously discounted prices.