Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

190

Jazz Expose: The New York Jazz Museum and the Power Struggle That Destroyed It

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Howard E. Fischer
Jazz Expose: The New York Jazz Museum and the Power Struggle That Destroyed It
Sundog Ltd.
ISBN: 1-932203-87-7
134 pages

In 2002 Congress provided one million dollars for the development of a jazz museum in Harlem. What many people may not recall is that there used to be a New York Jazz Museum in the seventies, a small, private enterprise organized by a few devoted fans. Jazz Expose: The New York Jazz Museum and the Power Struggle That Destroyed It is a chronicle of the project from its founder, Howard E. Fischer. The museum had a promising start; there were several concerts, rotating exhibits, and even a jazz puppet show for children, along with the participation of several jazz luminaries. However, a lack of funding and squabbling between Fischer and the Board of Directors led to its demise. This book is Fischer's last gasp attempt to show that the New York Jazz Museum was a good idea, and its failure was the fault of others who blackballed him out of the organization.

There's probably a good story here, but this isn't it. The whole tone of the book suggests that Fischer had no choice but to write the book himself, but unfortunately, he isn't a very good writer. Passages detailing the creation of the Hot Jazz Society read like meeting minutes; the chapters dealing with the legal battles are too much like court transcripts. There's an awful lot of passive voice as well, the agentless style suggesting that nobody did anything, it just got done.

Perhaps Fischer's background as an attorney is to blame, for his writing lacks emotional weight or any sort of ability to emphasize the important parts of the story. The "Reflections and Aftermathâ??? section, instead of presenting any final thoughts on the matter, is merely a laundry list of what Fischer has been doing since. But the most grievous error is the tedious artist biographies, filled with facts that even the most causal jazz fan would know. Would anybody other than a jazz fan be interested in this book? For that matter, does anyone not know that a reed is, in Fischer's words, "important for a musician's mouthing of the instrument while playing"?

Labors of love like the Jazz Museum are everywhere in the jazz community. People like Fischer are willing to risk everything to share their passions with the public, and jazz thrives largely because of dedicated fans like him. It's too bad that the museum failed, but it's also too bad that this book doesn't do its failure justice. Besides the photograph of the Benny Goodman Quartet puppets, there might be little here to hold your interest.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Listening For The Secret: The Grateful Dead And The Politics Of Improvisation Book Reviews Listening For The Secret: The Grateful Dead And The...
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 10, 2017
Read All That's Jazz Book Reviews All That's Jazz
by Phil Barnes
Published: December 6, 2017
Read Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine Book Reviews Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and...
by Doug Collette
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Claude Ranger: Canadian Jazz Legend Book Reviews Claude Ranger: Canadian Jazz Legend
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 15, 2017
Read Softly, With Feeling Book Reviews Softly, With Feeling
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: October 24, 2017
Read Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In And Out Of Jazz Book Reviews Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In And Out Of Jazz
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 13, 2017
Read "Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine" Book Reviews Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and...
by Doug Collette
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "The Art of Conduction" Book Reviews The Art of Conduction
by Riccardo Brazzale
Published: June 30, 2017
Read "Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In And Out Of Jazz" Book Reviews Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In And Out Of Jazz
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 13, 2017
Read "David Bowie: Behind the Curtain" Book Reviews David Bowie: Behind the Curtain
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 20, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!