Sittin’ In tells the little-known story of America’s jazz clubs of the 1940s and 1950s. In exclusive interviews, iconic musicians Sonny Rollins and Quincy Jones and preeminent jazz historian Dan Morgenstern give first-person accounts of the clubs Rollins called “a paradisiacal place to be.”
In additional interviews, musician, MacArthur Fellow and Kennedy Center creative director Jason Moran, and Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion critic Robin Givhan explore the music, history, culture and abundant style of the era.
Separate sections survey the jazz histories and clubs of New York City, Atlantic City, Washington D.C., Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Decades before Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier, jazz clubs were among the first places in Jim Crow America where Black and white people mixed, in audiences and onstage. Rollins noted, “Jazz was really where the racial barriers were broken down heavily,” and Jones explained “Back then, it wasn’t about color in the clubs, it was about how good you can play. Racism would’ve been over in the 1950s if they’d listened to the jazz guys.”
The book’s 200+ images include never-before-seen club souvenir photographs, some featuring fans posing with legendary musicians such as Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and Louis Armstrong – and even one photo showing clubgoer Marlon Brando with fans at New York’s Birdland.
About the Author ~ Jeff Gold is a Grammy Award-winning music historian, archivist, author and executive. Profiled by Rolling Stone as one of five “top collectors of high-end music memorabilia” he is an internationally recognized expert who has consulted for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Museum of Pop Culture (EMP), and various record labels and cultural institutions.
Gold’s 2016 book, Total Chaos: The Story of The Stooges/As Told by Iggy Pop was one of Rough Trade’s ‘Books of the Year’ and earned rave reviews in Rolling Stone, Mojo, Esquire and many other publications. His 2012 book 101 Essential Rock Records: The Golden Age of Vinyl, From The Beatles to the Sex Pistols was one of eight books selected that year by Rolling Stone as “The year’s best reading material.”
A former Executive Vice President/General Manager of Warner Bros. Records and Vice President at A&M Records, Gold worked with Prince, REM, Madonna, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Police, Cat Stevens, Soundgarden, and Janet Jackson.
A four-time Grammy nominated art director, Gold won a Grammy for Suzanne Vega’s album Days of Open Hand.
A music historian and researcher, Gold has discovered a number of previously unknown tapes later released by major labels, including Bob Dylan at Brandeis University 1963 and unreleased performances by the Velvet Underground and The Stooges. He was a producer of the album Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix (with Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck) and worked on archival projects for Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead and Gram Parsons. His discovery of 149 previously unknown Bob Dylan acetate records received extensive media attention including articles in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today.
In 2016, Gold and colleague Laura Woolley appraised The Bob Dylan Archive for Dylan’s management; he has also served as an archival consultant for former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman and the estate of Leonard Cohen.
Gold has helped curate museum exhibitions including the Experience Music Project’s Beatlemania! and the traveling exhibit Bob Dylan’s American Journey. He appeared as an expert authenticator/appraiser on PBS’s History Detectives and VH1’s television show Rock Collectors, and is profiled in the books “Vinyl Junkies” by Brett Milano and “Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction To Its Own Past” by Simon Reynolds.
Sittin’ In: Jazz Clubs of the 1940s and 50s by Jeff Gold will be available November 17, 2020 from Harper Collins (Pre-order on Amazon). With over 200 rare illustrations, Sittin’ In is 260 pages/Hardcover/9 x 7.75 inches. Check out Playlist Companion.