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Here’s To The Future

By SFTJF Board of Directors

The San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation Online

“It is an historical irony that the city that put ‘jazz’ in jazz doesn’t rate a mention in most history books. “ Tom Stoddard in Jazz on the Barbary Coast. Though New York, Chicago and Kansas City are far better known today for their contributions to jazz history than San Francisco, the ‘City by the Bay’ has held its own in the evolution of jazz from the earliest days of jazz on the Barbary Coast in the 1900s. Working to right this oversight in jazz history has long been the mission of the San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation (SFTJF). The Foundation has its roots in a unique trove of materials collected over decades by many individuals, beginning with boxes amassed by Jim Goggin, containing items from Lu Watters, Turk Murphy, Bob Scobey and musicians associated with their bands. Along the way, members have devoted great energy and enthusiasm in presenting concerts, publishing commercial recordings and continuing to expand the extensive archive into a unique collection of never-before published recordings, photographs, posters, musical arrangements and instruments and scrapbooks.

Now a major, new step has been undertaken to secure the legacy of the Foundation for generations to come. Speaking at this summer’s Board of Directors meeting, Chairman Bill Carter presented a thoughtful retrospective, captured here in a brief excerpt from the meeting minutes:

…Music has been the magic that has brought us all together, and has infused us with passion and a willingness to donate our time to enjoy and preserve Traditional Jazz. Mr. Carter mentioned that Pete Clute, John Matthews, Bill Tooley and he were at Stanford at the same time in the early to mid-1950s, although they had no idea then that the music they had championed would come full circle at Stanford again…

Beginning in 2014, the Board launched a significant fundraising campaign to underwrite an online media project to house the SFTJF archive collection. In light of his outstanding service, the Board of Directors moved to recognize Chuck Huggins by naming the online presence, The Charles N. Huggins San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation Collection.

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The purpose of the project is to bring to life the story of Traditional Jazz in San Francisco for a wide audience through an extensive online presence. A new world-class website, created in partnership with Stanford University, will paint a vibrant picture of Traditional Jazz scenes at Bay Area venues through the decades. The new website will offer a comprehensive portrait of this seldom explored and uniquely San Francisco facet of the city’s history, utilizing….

  • Rare streaming audio of first person accounts by jazz artists on the scene in 20th century San Francisco, such as Barbary Coast bandleader Sid LeProtti and master of the slap bass Pops Foster, among many others.
  • Streaming audio of radio ‘airshots’ with performances by jazz greats, such as: Turk Murphy, Lu Watters, Kid Ory, Eubie Blake, Jack Teagarden and more captured at the Club Hangover, Hambone Kelly’s, Earthquake McGoons, The Dawn Club and more….
  • Historical film clips, and slide shows incorporating photographs, posters and programs from the Foundation’s remarkable collection of San Francisco jazz ephemera.

We are pleased to announce that sufficient funds have been secured to begin the hands-on work of the project. An academic archivist has been hired by Stanford University to catalogue materials in the collection, and former Foundation archivists Clint Baker and Hal Smith will work with the university archivist to identify and select materials for the website.

Jerry McBride, head of the renowned Music Library and Archive of Recorded Sound at Stanford University commented on the Huggins Project:

“From the Foundation’s valuable collection, the most important materials will be digitized and made available on the Internet. Digitized items will include unique recordings from lacquer discs, videos, innumerable recordings from reel-to-reel tape and cassettes, hundreds of newsletters and booklets, thousands of photographs, hundreds of documents, posters, blueprints, show bills, and more. Imagine perusing the writings of your favorite musicians, letters, music manuscripts, business and legal documents, contracts, awards, certificates, concert programs, promotional materials (flyers, pamphlets, and posters), booking records, appointment and address books, news clippings, fan buttons, memorabilia, and photographs right in your own home. This will be the most comprehensive website found anywhere for information about traditional jazz as it evolved in the Bay Area.”

The Board of Directors has moved to wind down the Foundation’s usual activities as it raises the final funds needed to support work to catalogue the archive and produce the new website. In this transition, there will be a final ‘farewell’ edition of the Frisco Cricket newsletter published in December 2016/January 2017. Cricket editor Scott Anthony promises a rich retrospective of music and photographs with highlights of the ‘best of’ previous Cricket issues. Also, look for a letter from Chairman Bill Carter. The existing San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation website (www.sftradjazz.org) will stay live at least through 2017.

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Young Lu Watters (left) and Turk Murphy (right), one of the many previously unpublished photos that will be digitized and become part of the online archive.

This makes us all a bit wistful for days gone by…. and, excited about a future, in which our children, grandchildren and great-great grandchildren may continue to enjoy and learn about Traditional Jazz in San Francisco.

To that end, we invite all current and past members —and Traditional Jazz fans everywhere— to join us in supporting this permanent online venue to preserve and promote San Francisco Traditional Jazz for all generations, anytime and anywhere in the world.

After so many years of supporting the Foundation, we are sure you will want to continue your support and see the fruit of the Foundation’s work memorialized
in this unique and lasting way.

Donations of all amounts are welcome—and much needed to earn a $100,000 matching grant now pending from a generous anonymous donor.
Be a part of he final $25,000 match!

Make checks payable to: San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation and include Huggins Project in the Memo line.

Please send your donation to:

San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation
3130 Alpine Road, #288 PMB 187
Portola Valley, CA 94028

Or click on the button below to donate online

(All donations are 100% tax deductible in the US)

We are deeply grateful to our long-time, loyal Foundation members and encourage you all to support this momentous project to preserve and promote San Francisco’s own Traditional Jazz—our legacy for generations to come, around the world.