Stanford Libraries Acquires Large Collection of Black Music, Supporting New Department and Expanding Research Opportunities

Dijkstra’s Black Music Collection includes over 8,000 vinyl records spanning the history of jazz, blues, reggae and R&B

STANFORD, CA, January 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Brad Dijkstraprofessor emeritus at UC San Diego and noted literary agent Sandra Dijkstra have donated their nearly 65-year-old music collection of indispensable recordings of jazz, Jamaican music, blues, soul and other genres.

Bram Dijkstra stands in front of part of his collection before it is shipped to the Stanford Libraries, where it will be permanently housed as part of its Recorded Sound Archive in the Music Library. Photo by Sandy Dijkstra.

Stanford Libraries has accepted the generous donation of the Dijkstra Black Music Collection, a selection of approximately 8,000 commercial vinyl discs in near mint condition. “The collection is remarkable for its scope, depth and curatorial vision,” said Michael A. KellerUniversity Librarian Ida M. Greene c Stanford.

About half of the discs in Dijkstra’s collection document the work of important twentieth-century jazz artists, creating a major jazz library that Keller says “complements and dramatically enriches of Stanford existing holdings, including the Monterey Jazz Festival Collection and the Riverwalk Jazz Collection.” The unparalleled corpus of Jamaican popular music, which includes performances by instrumentalists, vocalists and DJs, creates a new research force for Stanford.

Once the collection is cataloged and available for use, Stanford will follow audio preservation best practices to protect the integrity of the discs and provide digital listening access to students, faculty, and researchers, while welcoming them to review the physical discs, sleeves, and liner notes by appointment at of Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound (ARS).

“ARS was founded in 1958 to preserve sound recordings as a core part of our cultural heritage,” said Tamar Barzelchief music librarian at Stanford. “The Dijkstra Black Music Collection will have a significant and profound effect on the ARS collections, which have historically been strongest in early jazz, classical music and opera.”

Bram Dijkstrass the zeal and passion for documenting the full sweep of the history of jazz and Jamaican popular music has been a lifelong pursuit. Dijkstra, who was born on a small Indonesian island and grew up in The Netherlandstraces its beginnings to the transformative experience of listening to a new recording by the New Miles Davis Quintet in 1955. “I admired Miles Davis clear, consistent trumpet, but I was shocked into incredible admiration by the raspy, abrasive but melodic solos of the young tenor saxophonist Miles features here for the first time, someone with the rather odd name of John Coltrane” Dijkstra said. He recalled that Coltrane’s playing, “rough and strangely jagged, daringly dancing on the edge of failure but driven by an inner rhythm that stabilized every part,” seemed to express what he felt—that “did almost physically tangible the music that was in my soul.”

That initial impression persisted, inspiring the move to United Statesimmersion in African-American music and dedication to creative work. John Coltranehe wrote, “taught me to listen to black music in all its many forms: Coltrane called me to America. He taught me that being creative means always looking for what’s better—and that looking for anything that can make us better is never neat.”

The original and early editions in the collection represent the finest examples in existence of many of Coltrane’s recordings. Rare individual discs incl Bob Marley’s original 12-inch 45rpm single of “Buffalo Soldiers,” Sun Ra original Saturn releases with blank or hand-made covers and early hip-hop LPs are also rich in research potential.

“The recordings are essential primary sources for modern musicology,” noted Prof. Stephen HintonChairman of of Stanford Music department. “As we expand our program offerings in jazz studies, popular music, and ethnomusicology, Dijkstra’s Black Music Collection will be an indispensable resource for research and teaching.”

Deep series and other exceptional rarities are found in Dijkstra’s Black Music Collection, including a complete set of the Blue Note 1500 series from the late 1950s; practically everyone John Coltrane trade publications; strong representation of avant-garde artists on US minor label releases, Europeand Japan; and a significant addition of private editions and artist limited editions. Exceeds the appraised value of the collection 2.3 million dollars reflects the multitude of one-of-a-kind and extremely rare objects that are both of enormous value in the collector’s market and priceless in their cultural heritage and research value.

The donated collection arrives at a fortuitous moment of Stanford history in tandem with the formation of the new Department of African and African American Studies. professor Ato Quayson, chair of the Department of English, also chairs the Framework Task Force subcommittee focused on Africana and African American Studies departments. “The Dijkstra Collection of Black Music will spur entirely new research programs in various areas of Black music studies,” Quaison said. “This will benefit the Stanford community and indeed for anyone beyond who wants to take jazz, popular music and ethnomusicology seriously.”

An event is planned to celebrate the collection February 13, 2023 from 5:30 p.m in the Cecil H. Green Library of of Stanford historic campus. The event is free and registration is required. The collection will remain unavailable while it is being processed; inquiries regarding the collection may be directed to the Sound Recording Archive at the Stanford Libraries.

Media contact: Gabriel Carampelasg[email protected]

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