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11-29-2011

Clarkson University Professors' NEA Grant Leads To Historic Jazz Box Set

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

Eremite Records, a jazz record label known for its high-quality production of archival jazz recordings, has released music that was recovered thanks to the help of two Clarkson University faculty members.

Clarkson University Communication & Media Professors Stephen Farina (left) and Johndan Johnson-Eilola“Juma Sultan’s Aboriginal Music Society: Father of Origin” is a three-album box set that Ben Ratliff in the New York Times describes as "a lavish and thorough monument... With reproductions of hand-drawn flyers and black-and-white photographs snapped on the fly, the boxed set is a cool, collected document..."

This music was recorded 40 years ago but was never made public in any form. In fact, the music was lost and forgotten in a barn in the hills outside of Woodstock, N.Y. As a Dusted Magazine review of the box set notes, "it took the passage of several decades and the assistance of Clarkson University and an NEA Grant to begin to get this material into usable shape... It's thrilling stuff..."

The archive was developed by Juma Sultan, a man best known as percussionist for Jimi Hendrix’s band “Gypsy Suns and Rainbows.” From the 1960s through the 1980s, Sultan played bass and percussion behind numerous notable musicians in New York City and in Woodstock.

In 2005, Clarkson University Communication & Media Professors Stephen Farina and Johndan Johnson-Eilola began working with Sultan to unearth what has become known as the Juma Sultan Archive, a long-forgotten cache of music, film, photos, and documents that span the music scenes of New York City and Woodstock, N.Y., in the 1960s and 70s.

In 2006, the three were awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant to preserve and make known a portion of this collection.

Now, five years later, some of that work is finally being released commercially for the first time ever.

Another record company will release another recording from the archive in 2012.

With funds from the NEA grant, Johnson-Eilola led the creation of http://www.jumasarchive.org, which is the principal reason that independent record producers have found this material and are beginning to release it to the world.

Farina has written a book about the experience that will be published in the spring of 2012 by Wesleyan University Press.

Find out more about “Juma Sultan’s Aboriginal Music Society: Father of Origin” at http://eremite.com/album/mte-54-55-56 .

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Eremite Records, a jazz record label known for its high-quality production of archival jazz recordings, has released music that was recovered thanks to the help of Clarkson University Communication & Media Professors Stephen Farina (left) and Johndan Johnson-Eilola.

[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.]

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