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The new book Sittin’ In: Jazz Clubs of the 1940s and 1950s (Harper Design, 2020), by Grammy-winning historian, archivist, author, and record executive Jeff Gold offers a new look inside the jazz clubs from this era across the United States. Drawing on a trove of photos and memorabilia, Sittin’ In gives a glimpse at a world that was rich in culture, music, dining, fashion, and more.
In interviews, iconic musicians Sonny Rollins and Quincy Jones as well as preeminent jazz historian Dan Morgenstern give first-person accounts of the clubs that Rollins called “a paradisiacal place to be.” Jazz clubs were among the first places in Jim Crow America where Black and white people mixed in audiences and onstage.
Additional interviews include jazz pianist and composer, MacArthur Fellow, and Kennedy Center creative director Jason Moran, who explores the history and culture of the music during the era, when bebop evolved from and in response to the big band swing sound. Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion critic Robin Givhan discusses the abundant style of both clubgoers and musicians of the day in a social and sartorial context.
Separate sections consider the jazz histories and clubs of New York City, Atlantic City, Washington DC, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
The book’s 200 images include club souvenir photographs, some featuring fans posing with legendary musicians such as Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, and Marlon Brando. Also included is a wealth of colorful club graphics, from cards, menus, flyers, matchbooks, postcards, and posters as well as supplementary photographs of other top performers and venues of the day.
Revelatory and beautifully designed, Sittin’ In is a must-have for anybody interested in music, history, race relations, fashion, the music club scene, vintage photography, and little-known corners of American culture.
Jeff Gold is a Grammy Award winning music historian, archivist, author, and executive. Profiled by Rolling Stone as one of five “top collectors of high-end music memorabilia,” Gold is an internationally recognized expert who has consulted for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Museum of Pop Culture, and various record labels and cultural institutions. He’s also appeared as a music memorabilia expert on PBS’s History Detectives and VH1’s Rock Collectors.
As Executive Vice President/General Manager of Warner Bros. Records, and a Vice President at A&M Record, Gold has worked with many artists across genres including Prince, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, R.E.M., The Police, Janet Jackson, Iggy Pop, and Cat Stevens. A four-time Grammy-nominated art director, Gold won the Best Album Package Grammy for Suzanne Vega’s Days of Open Hand in 1991. More information can be found on his website.
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