‘Rhythm and Meaning: Jazz at KU’ opens Friday with live music, discussion

Prominent jazz collections of the Midwest will star in a new exhibit on the Kansas University campus.

“Rhythm and Meaning: Jazz at KU,” on display through April 19 in Watson Library, 1425 Jayhawk Blvd., will feature items from the KU Jazz Archive and images from the following area jazz collections: the American Jazz Museum, the Mid-America Black Archive, LaBudde Special Collections at University of Missouri-Kansas City, the Spencer Museum of Art and the Spencer Research Library.

The exhibition also will highlight recent KU faculty scholarship related to jazz, including that of Sherrie Tucker, American studies; Philip Barnard and William Harris, English; Chuck Berg, film and media studies; Clarence Lang and Tony Bolden, African and African-American studies; and Dan Gailey, music.

“This exhibition illustrates KU Libraries’ commitment to support scholarly research on campus and encourage collaboration between the libraries and area museums and archives,” Sarah Goodwin Thiel, KU Libraries’ exhibits committee chairwoman, said in a news release. “We are pleased to have this opportunity to showcase the prominent jazz expertise of KU’s faculty and to bring attention to the many invaluable materials related to jazz that are available at KU.”

“Rhythm and Meaning: Jazz at KU” opens with a free public reception at 5:30 p.m. Friday. The event will include refreshments and live music by the KU Jazz Combo, followed by a conversation with Berg, who will discuss his lifelong fascination with the genre and the role it has played in our social, political and cultural history. He also will speak about the collection of nearly 7,000 recordings he and his wife donated to the KU Jazz Archive, and join Gailey in playing a few pieces throughout the program.

The reception is free and open to the public. Attendees are asked to RSVP to Rachel Karwas at 864-8961 or rkarwas@ku.edu.