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Sunday, May 9, 2021

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Images courtesy: Bram and Sandra Dijkstra Images courtesy: Bram and Sandra Dijkstra
 


Bram and Sandra Dijkstra Provide Transformational Legacy Gift to SDSU Library

The John Coltrane Memorial Black Music Archive represents nearly 65 years of collection and curation efforts.
By SDSU News Team
 

One of the largest curated collections of Jazz music by Black artists, to include rarities dating back to the 1920s — it includes works by John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Johnny Hodges and Dizzy Gillespie — is being gifted to San Diego State University. 

Abraham “Bram” Dijkstra, a distinguished cultural historian and University of California San Diego professor Emeritus of American and Comparative Literature, and Sandra Dijkstra, a renowned literary agent, entrusted SDSU in the care of the John Coltrane Memorial Black Music Archive. The collection will come to SDSU as part of a planned gift.

The John Coltrane Memorial Black Music Archive, representing nearly 65 years of collection and curation efforts, consists of thousands of vinyl recordings and CDs of some of the most well-known Jazz musicians spanning the early 1920s through the start of the 21st century. 

Notably included in the collection, and carrying its namesake, is nearly every known recording of the late and iconic Jazz musician John Coltrane, a Library of Congress-recognized artist and Grammy Hall of Fame inductee. Much of Coltrane’s work is required for study by musical students nationally. 

“John Coltrane was one of the towering giants of American music. His creative fervor and innovative brilliance became one of the central inspirations for my own intellectual development as I search for forms of creative expression,” Bram Dijkstra said. “It is my hope that this archive in his honor will also become a source of creativity for many generations of students still to come.” 
  
The one-of-a-kind collection is truly transformative, as it allows SDSU to amass an extensive sound archive virtually overnight.

The collection includes extreme rarities as the original pressings of albums, like “Hard Driving Jazz,” the singular collaboration between Cecil Taylor and “Blue Train” on United Artists records. It includes the first pressing, on the “Coltrane Records” label, of John Coltrane’s Cosmic Music. It also contains numerous European and Japanese Coltrane concert recordings. Some of Coltrane’s earliest appearances on record, such as those on albums by Johnny Hodges and Dizzy Gillespie, are also included.  

Designed to be a catalyst for educational and programmatic collaboration across the SDSU campus, the archive will serve as a rich source for learning and interdisciplinary research. 

“The archive will distinguish SDSU with a rich source of materials for research, teaching, and community engagement and will rapidly become a nationally known collection of the American experience as reflected in recorded sound,” said Interim Library Dean Patrick McCarthy.” It will also be an integral part of our development of an unrivaled Social Justice collection and advances the university’s strategic goal to be a global leader in promoting and supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

For information regarding ways to support the SDSU Library, including this collection, please contact Michelle LaGrandeur at MLaGrandeur@SDSU.edu