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10-10-2012

Clarkson University Faculty Research Results in Newly Released Jazz Recording

Research originated by Clarkson University Communication & Media faculty members Stephen Farina and Johndan Johnson-Eilola has resulted a second time in the release of music by a significant, independent jazz record label.

“Whispers from the Archive” by Juma Sultan’s Aboriginal Music SocietyPorter Records recently announced “Whispers from the Archive” by Juma Sultan’s Aboriginal Music Society.

Recorded in the 1970s in New York City by musician, producer, and artists’ rights advocate Juma Sultan, the original tapes were lost and forgotten for decades until Farina, Johnson-Eilola, and Sultan recovered them in 2005 from a barn outside of Woodstock, N.Y.

In 2006, the three received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to begin the process of developing that discovery into the Juma Sultan Archive, a collection of music, film, photos, and posters that document an era of New York City arts known now as the Loft Era.

The technical studio work to transfer the original reel-to-reel tapes to digital form was done by Grammy Award winning audio engineer, Warren Russell-Smith, who won Best Historical Album for his work on Woody Guthrie: The Live Wire in 2007.

The liner notes were written by ethnomusicologist Michael C. Heller of the University of Massachusetts-Boston.

At Clarkson, Stephen Farina is chair of the Communication & Media Department and teaches a variety of media and writing courses. He recently published the book Reel History: The Lost Archive of Juma Sultan and the Aboriginal Music Society (Wesleyan University Press, 2012).

Johndan Johnson-Eilola is a professor of communication & media and teaches courses such as audio production, information architecture, and typography.

This team, along with Juma Sultan, is continuing to work together on future releases from the collection.

In 2011, the first release from the Sultan Archive, Father of Origin (Eremite Records) was widely praised by reviewers (labeled “a cool, collected document” by the New York Times’ Ben Ratliff), made numerous jazz journalists’ “Best of 2011” lists, and  was chosen as an “Editor’s Pick” in the December 2011 issue of Downbeat magazine.

The new release is available as either a digital download or CD through http://www.porterrecords.com. An overview of the Juma Sultan Archive can be seen at http://www.jumasarchive.org.

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: Research originated by Clarkson University faculty members has resulted a second time in the release of music by a significant, independent jazz record label. Above, “Whispers from the Archive” by Juma Sultan’s Aboriginal Music Society.

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

[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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