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Isham Jones Lecture



April 6
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Markay Theatre
269 E. Main Street
Jackson, OH 45640 United States
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David Sager is one of the leading experts on early jazz history in the world. A native of the Washington D.C. area, he comes from a musical family; his grand uncle, violinist Nat Brusiloff was a popular radio conductor. In fact, he was popular singer Kate Smith’s very first radio

Mr. Sager studied at Ithaca College and Towson State Universities, ultimately receiving a master’s degree in Jazz History and Research from Rutgers University. In 1995, Mr. Sager took a job in the Library of Congress’ Recorded Sound Section, where he continues to work to this day. He contributed to the Library’s massive vintage recording access project, The National Jukebox. In 2007, Mr. Sager received a Grammy nomination for his notes for the compact disc “King Oliver, off the record: the complete 1923 jazz band recordings”.

Mr. Sager continues to research and write about early jazz and American vernacular music. As an active lecturer, he has presented at such venues as Satchmo SummerFest, Historic Brass Society Conference, Cornell University, and the annual ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collections) Conference.

Mr. Sager has made an extensive study of Isham Jones, compiling photos and research from numerous sources. He drew on this research to write the Grammy Award nominated liner notes for the 2014 CD “Happy: The 1920 Rainbo Orchestra Sides — Isham Jones Rainbo Orchestra.” produced by Archeophone Records.

Although chiefly remembered as one of America’s top song writers, Isham Jones was one of the chief architects of the American Dance Orchestra. Along with Paul Whiteman and Art Hickman, Jones created the modern dance band, molding a fairly random format into one that became emblematic. This presentation will briefly chronicle Jones’ life, from his humble beginnings in Coalton, Ohio, through his monumental successes during the 1930’s. Particular attention will be paid to his early years as a bandleader and instrumentalist, working towards a new style.

This lecture is made possible, in part, by the Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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