Background Image

News & Events

06-21-2006

Clarkson University Receives Grant from NEA to Preserve a Slice of American Jazz Music History

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/juma.jpg]

Two Clarkson University Communication and Media professors Stephen Doheny-Farina and Johndan Johnson-Eilola have been awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to preserve an archive of tapes, films and photos developed in the 1960s and 70s by musician and social activist Juma Sultan, a man most known as percussionist for Jimi Hendrix's band "Gypsy Suns and Rainbows." Juma

The objective of this project is to preserve and digitize an aging and unprotected archive of reel-to-reel recordings, film and photos that document a period of American cultural heritage commonly referred to as the Black Avant Garde. In addition, the grant will fund the development of a documentary film and an interactive Web site dedicated to communicating this important history to the public.

Sultan's archive includes recordings of many well-known artists of the era, including Pharoah Sanders, Albert Ayler, Sam Rivers, Sunny Murray, Sonny Simmons, Rashied Ali, James Blood Ulmer, and hundreds more.

Sultan was "probably the most schooled musician Jimi Hendrix ever played with on any sort of regular basis," say Harry Shapiro and Caesar Glebbeek in their book Electric Gypsy. He was schooled in "piano, sousaphone and baritone saxophone, as well as sang in a church quartet and took lessons from an African drummer."

Doheny-Farina met Sultan while doing research during an earlier book project. During interviews he was conducting with Sultan, Doheny-Farina learned of this large cache of tapes, films and photos that Sultan had stored away for years in an old barn. Over the past two years, along with the help of Johnson-Eilola, he began the process of unearthing the archive and seeking funding to support its preservation. The Web site and a documentary film are scheduled to be finished by the summer of 2007.

Doheny-Farina and Johnson-Eilola are the first Clarkson researchers to ever receive funding from the NEA. This research reflects the fact that Clarkson University continues to expand its expertise beyond its traditional concentrations in engineering. Today, Clarkson University is equally recognized for the quality of its research and academics within each of the Arts & Sciences, Business and Engineering schools.

Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, New York, is a private, nationally ranked university with a reputation for developing innovative leaders in engineering, business, the sciences, health sciences and the humanities. At Clarkson, 3,000 high-ability students excel in an environment where learning is not only positive, friendly and supportive but spans the boundaries of traditional disciplines and knowledge. Faculty achieves international recognition for their research and scholarship and connects students to their leadership potential in the marketplace through dynamic, real-world problem solving.

PHOTO CAPTION: Jimi Hendrix�fs former percussionist Juma Sultan performed at the 1969 Woodstock Music & Arts Festival. Clarkson University has recently been given its first ever National Endowment for the Arts grant dedicated to preserving an archive of jazz recordings, films and photos developed in the 1960s and 70s by musician and social activist Juma Sultan.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

Calendar View the full calendar >>

Full Calendar RSS Feed