Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jazz and Ex Libris -- An Introduction I

Jazz and Exlibris - An Introduction


Thomas I. Roman

This summer of 2002 there is a unique exhibition taking place in the town of Sori in Italy. It is a first of its kind, and its subject is Jazz and Exlibris. This is a topic that many may already be familiar with, but perhaps not thought much about in terms of relationship between the two artforms.

There are certain parallels and once perceived, can enhance the pleasure and wonder each has to offer. Jazz is known and appreciated by many all over the World. The use of ex libris, or bookplates is less so. It is the intention of this introductory article to describe the relevance of both.

Jazz had its beginnings in the United States and ex libris has its roots in Europe. Many Jazz artists had difficulty in starting their musical careers at home. They went to Europe, where they pleased crowds of folks, who really appreciated their artistic creativity and ways of expression. After their reception in Europe, many jazz musicians returned to the United States, where they were finally accepted and admired.

There is a similar history and development for Ex Musicis, which is a bookplate applied to music libraries and more relevant to this article, regarding books about Jazz, its history, or biographies of Jazz artists and composers.

The Jazz Ex Libris or Ex Musicis is a personal expression of the owner. It is a reflection of how he feels about Jazz, what the music means to him, whether it is a glorification of individual instruments like the bass, sax - or the admiration for Jazz artists. Greats like "Ella," "Satchmo," "The Duke," "The Count,"or Dave Brubeck, Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis or many others. It can also be a memory of the places, the clubs, the Strips where Jazz was happening, as represented by historical photos, stills from documentaries or vintage posters that can be shown on the design.

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