Audio interviews clips by the Black Artists of Boston Jazz Exhibit Co-Creation and Co-Curation Team

Boston Jazz History: Audio

Jazz Foundations


"There's actually 50 years, "Celebrating 50 Years of Charlie Brown. Here's to you, Charlie Brown". And that was David Benoit, who released, and he had a bunch of different artists record with him. And they play all these great songs. I mean, it's a really good album- Christian McBride. He stands out for me, he's a bassist, who's very prominent in the jazz world right now. And he's on that album. And, oh the other thing that I know, I'm discovering is, you know, jazz has its foundation in the African drum. I mean, you know, and so, you know, the parts of the world in the US black American music in New Orleans, and these different areas where jazz became prominent. There is a reference to the African drum."

"How do you define Jazz?"


"Leonard Brown, you know. And his connection to jazz, he's, he was a musician, saxophonist himself. And he had a really profound impact on this community and Boston and the wider jazz community in the world. Really, right? And Eric, same thing. You know, there are so many people who relate jazz to that one individual, like, he is the, he was the epitome of jazz. When you say jazz people automatically think of Eric, I actually was unaware of him until I came into, into jazz. And then a friend of mine said, oh, I listen to Eric in the evening, and I had never heard of it, I had never heard of it. You know, so I always, you know, I know people definitely look at me as sort of an expert. You know, the reality is it truly has been a full-on stepping into it and a full journey into this world into the community. Getting to, and just my willingness, like you said, what drives me and my willingness to like, just be out there. Just showing up. I don't know, I'm just like, interested. You know what I mean? you know, what, how do you define jazz? And I said it's freedom. And for me, it's freeing my creativity. Like it really is sort of bringing out of me something that's inside that I have been full-on unaware of, you know what I mean? It just is coming to life."


Jazz Community


Paul Goodnight on Community


"So, all of this had to do with you know, the kind of music the kind of uplifting place this area was. And it was really, it was jumping. And a little- even a little before my time, but I knew about it. You know, you couldn't go down the street, everybody was poppin, this is where it was."

Paul Goodnight on Jazz


"In Boston, we used to have jazz all over the place, you know. The Hi-Hat, we were at Wally’s, they had a couple of others, the Jazz Workshop, Paul's Mall, so forth and so on. So it went on. And this [Boston] is where a lot of the old jazz greats came to play."

"It is a mosaic"


"It is a mosaic, it is an international art form of music, which means it lives on, which is even better, right? So in this next generation, there are more voices than the African American, black American, musicians who performed and are seen more as performers. Right, so and so I understand that when I sit in an audience for a jazz concert, I don't see a lot of people who look like me, brown faces are not in the audience, in a big way. And people always say, ‘How come, how come people don't come out?’ But honestly, it is, from my perspective, and I've heard this from others. I'm not making it up like new information, but just the idea that at a time when, like a Billie Holiday, the Cotton Club, Duke Ellington, when they were performers, black people were not allowed in those houses to watch them perform. They were not part of the audience. So generation after generation, the understanding was-you are not the audience. So then why would my generation see themselves sitting in the room? They wouldn't. Because it was never served. My mother always brought us to theater as kids. Like my, I have a strong recollection of one of my first Broadway shows was the ‘Ain't Misbehaving’, a jazz driven Broadway show. And, um, but she loved the theater, and she took us along with her. I just picked up the bug, you know what I mean? And then I brought that to my daughter, right? So you have, it really is about accessibility. And that's the biggest thing for me, like with youth, kids, especially at very much city or urban settings rural, where they don't have access, they need to be taken into the spaces to witness it or they will never even imagine ever imagine themselves in that space. And that is super, super important to me."

"It is in my subconscious"


"Yeah, it’s just grown on me like that. And it definitely is the music, the music, the music. Yeah, there's like, you know, just like pulling it together introducing new music, discovering old music. Every week is new, every week is fresh, you know, and, you know, then we saved by playlists over the years, and my recall for some of the music played is, I'm always sort of amazed that I can remember some of the stuff but yeah, the drive. It really is internal. And it is in my subconscious."

Boston Club Hours

New York City Jazz Scene

Kings and Queens


"I've written a song called “Kings and Queens,” about my parents and your parents and all of our parents. And the lyric says, “all my life, I've maintained my integrity and it's cost me a job, some friends and scars you'll never see. But the sacrifice was worth it, I've got the victory. Each of us must really believe we're a part of a legacy. We come from a line of kings and queens. Nothing is worth your dignity. We come from a powerful breed, people died so we'd be free. How can you buck dance and cheese? The saints are looking at you, stop playing the buffoon. There's a generation with incentive, looking at you for direction. We're all a part of this great legacy. We come from a line of kings and queens. Nothing is worth your dignity."

"Music is a balm"


" is a balm, b-a-l-m, and that's been the tradition of black music from its very inception."

"The first integrated night club"


At that time, um, you know, the club experience for music lovers, and um, you know, so if you were Black, there were certain clubs you couldn’t go to. And um, so my grandfather’s idea was to make a place for his people, and um, what he did was um, he reached out to the college kids. He’d go and promote at different colleges and you know, get an integrated night club experience, you know, so um, those were one of the things, you know, one of the special things, you know, one of the special things he did you know, to integrate the clubs in the city of Boston.

His was the first integrated night club in the city of Boston in that time period.