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Slam Stewart Papers

 Collection
Call Number: MSS 59

Scope and Contents

The Papers document the latter part of Slam Stewart’s career, during his appointment at SUNY Binghamton. Stewart gave many concerts and lectures during this time – locally, nationally and internationally. He also played in many jazz festivals. The collection includes photographs, music, correspondence, and sound recordings from this time, and highlights the collegial nature of Stewart’s career. Fellow musicians such as Peter Appleyard, Jack Martin (a.k.a., “Ludwig Sigmund von Christ”), Bucky Pizzarelli, Benny Goodman, Slim Gaillard, Major “Mule” Holley, Carrie Smith and Dick Hyman (among many others) appear in several series in the collection.

The Music series contains jazz band and combo arrangements – many of which are jazz standards. The 200 sound recordings are mostly dubs of commercial recordings (some of which may be rare), but also contain some unique material. Photographs include portraits of Slam Stewart, as well as Stewart with friends and family. Programs, clippings and publicity document Stewart’s appearances at festivals and various concert series in the U.S. and abroad.

The Playlists (set lists) indicate the order of songs played at live shows in which Slam Stewart played, and the tour schedules outline Stewart’s performances in the later part of his life. Correspondence includes letters from colleagues, friends and fans. The collection also includes some contracts and awards.

Dates

  • 1938 - 1988
  • Majority of material found within 1960 - 1988

Creator

Language of Materials

In English.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Leroy Elliot ("Slam") and Claire Stewart.

Arrangement

The Slam Stewart Papers contain 11 series: I. Music; II. Sound Recordings; III. Photographs; IV. Programs; V. Clippings, publicity, and posters; VI. Playlists; VII. Tour schedules; VIII. Writings and correspondence; IX. Contracts and financial materials; X. Awards; and XI. Miscellaneous.

Related Materials

Researchers may wish to consult the Stanley Dance Papers (MSS 62), the Benny Goodman Papers (MSS 53), and the Red Norvo Papers (MSS 48), all held by the Gilmore Music Library.

Extent

12.0 Linear Feet (19 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/music.mss.0059

Overview

The Papers document the latter part of Slam Stewart’s career, during his appointment at SUNY Binghamton. Stewart gave many concerts and lectures during this time – locally, nationally and internationally. He also played in many jazz festivals. The collection includes photographs, music, correspondence, and sound recordings from this time, and highlights the collegial nature of Stewart’s career. Fellow musicians such as Peter Appleyard, Jack Martin (a.k.a., “Ludwig Sigmund von Christ”), Bucky Pizzarelli, Benny Goodman, Slim Gaillard, Major “Mule” Holley, Carrie Smith and Dick Hyman (among many others) appear in several series in the collection.

Biographical / Historical

Leroy Elliott “Slam” Stewart was one of the pre-eminent double-bass players in American jazz. Born in Englewood, New Jersey on 21 September 1914, Stewart originally studied the violin but soon switched over to the bass. During his years at the Boston Conservatory of Music, he developed his signature technique of bowing and humming a melody simultaneously at the interval of an octave. In 1935, he began a successful partnership with the guitarist Slim Gaillard – the duo called themselves “Slim and Slam.” Their song, “Flat Foot Floogie,” became very popular. In 1941, Stewart joined Art Tatum’s trio, with which he appeared intermittently until Tatum’s death in 1956. He also formed his own ensembles on 52nd or “Swing” Street, with the pianists Billy Taylor, Erroll Garner, and Johnny Guarnieri. Stewart appeared in several Hollywood films, including “Hellzapoppin” (1941) and “Stormy Weather” (1943). He also played with Benny Goodman’s Sextet and Big Band, from 1945 to 1947. During the 1950s, Stewart performed with Roy Eldridge’s Quartet and the pianist and singer Rose Murphy. Stewart also played with some of the leading Bop musicians, notably Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.

In 1971, SUNY Binghamton invited Stewart to join the music faculty. During this time, Stewart toured extensively, appearing with the Goodman Sextet, Bucky Pizzarelli, and the Newport Jazz Festival All-Stars, among others. Stewart also turned his attention to Baroque and Classical repertoires, assisted by the Lincoln and Lenox Quartets and the harpsichordists Christine Lindsay and Frances Cole. Stewart received many awards, as well as a Grammy nomination. In 1984, SUNY Binghamton awarded him an honorary doctorate. Stewart died in Binghamton on 10 December 1987.

Separated Materials

Music Library files indicate that photographs from this collection may have been moved into the Stanley Dance Papers (MSS 62).
Title
Guide to the Slam Stewart Papers
Author
compiled by Emily DiLeo, Mary Jones and David Metzer
Date
1993
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Yale University Music Library Repository

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