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Research Guides

History Day at Special Collections: Topic: Jazz

Special Collections is a great resource for all your Pacific Northwest primary source needs!

Background Information

Jazz artists from the Pacific Northwest include Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Bill Frisell and Kenny G. The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra is noted for its renditions of big band jazz music. The Seattle Jazz scene rose following World War II, based in Chinatown at clubs like the Black and Tan Club. Musician's unions play an important role in Seattle Jazz history. Seattle's first musicians' union, AFM Local 76, dated back to the 1890s, but the union largely excluded black musicians, who went on to form Local 493, which grew to be at the center of the jazz community and supported musicians throughout the 20th century, including through civil rights issues in the city.

Special Collections has some published materials on influential members of the Seattle Jazz Community, including Quincy Jones, as well as the disputes between the two unions in Seattle. We also have manuscript materials related to Jazz being taught at UW and the Jazz community at UW

Digital Collections

Primary Sources

There aren't a lot of published materials that could be used as primary sources related to jazz, but there have been quite a few histories with interviews and references to documents related to Jazz in Seattle that Special Collections staff can help you find.