you ever heard of the New York
Jazz Museum? Most people have not. Yet between 1972 and 1977 it was the
most significant institution for jazz in the world!
It was situated in its own two-story building in mid-town Manhattan and had a small staff, an archive that eventually numbered about 25,000 items and extensive programs in New York City and beyond. Some of the programs won awards and most of them were received with widespread acclaim in the media and from jazz fans.
There were the Calvert Extra Sunday Concerts - 40 per year, the Jazz Puppet Show, the Jazz Film Festivals, the Jazz Panorama - an audio visual history of jazz, The Jazz Store, Information Center, the exhibits - Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Bird & Diz: The Bebop Era, Count Basie and His Bands, Billie Holiday Remembered, About John Coltrane and the Jazz Trumpet. Posters and booklets were produced in conjunction with the exhibits and there was so much more.
An extended power struggle ensued that eventually caused the Museum's demise. Entangled in the fatal conflagration was the “Jazz Fraternity,” which included the most prominent names in jazz - musicians, producers, writers, artists, et al.
There is a book that tells the whole story for the first time: Jazz Expos: The New York Jazz Museum And The Power Struggle That Destroyed It. It was written by Howard E. Fischer, founder of the Museum and its Executive Director.
Trumpeter Clark Terry shares his thoughts about the museum’s role in preserving jazz history.
Update: Clark Terry's death was announced on February 21, 2015. Here is his obituary from The Washington Post.