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Walter C. Allen Family Donates Extensive Reference & Research Library To Museum
(Published: June 13, 2007)

The Allen family of New Jersey has the complete library of materials of their father, Walter C, Allen to the Fletcher Henderson Museum. Walter C. Allen, the foremost authority on the career of Fletcher Henderson, was a jazz historian at the Smithsonian Institute. He was, also, one of the original members of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University. Mr. Allen's monograph Hendersonia: The Music of Fletcher Henderson & His Musicians is now the authoritative work on Henderson's career.

The Collection includes much on Henderson but, also, vintage sheet music, early recordings, many autographed first-edition books, recorded interviews, musical arrangements, rare photos, piano rolls, vintage magazines, correspondence, portraits of Henderson and Joe "King" Oliver and many one-of-a-kind items.

Fletcher Henderson, who survived discrimanation in the music industry as well as in portions of the general public is considered the Fatherof Big Band Jazz. Not only did he form the first jazz band, he developed "contrasting motions", call & response" in jazz and was the first jazz band the play written arrangements. Ellington said, When I form my band, I want it to sound like Fletcher's." Trumpeter Rex Stewart said, "Today's jazz listener is likely to be unaware of the huge debt that current music owes to Fletcher. Jazz would not exist in its present form were it not for his many innovations, creations and contributions."

Fletcher's band was a jazz hall of fame. It has been said that, it would be easier to list those who did not play in his band. At least the list would be shorter. Louis Armstrong, stated that he wasn't ready to leave the band he considered "the world's greatest," but it was either the band or his wife at home in Chicago.

The museum is scheduled to open in Fletcher's hometown of Cuthbert, Georgia in late 2007.

The boardof directors, which includes piano legend Ahmad Jamal & great Don Braden among others, hopes to make the museum a national destination for viewing rare memorabilia, for scholars and for those who love jazz & history.
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Submitted By: Bob Chaney

Email: chaney_gsu@yahoo.com


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