The Institute of Jazz Studies (IJS) has announced this year’s recipients of the Morroe Berger – Benny Carter Jazz Research Fund grants. Each year the Institute awards up to ten grants of $1,000 each. Half of the awards are designated for students in the Rutgers-Newark Master’s Program in Jazz History and Research and half are awarded to scholars from other institutions or unaffiliated researchers for the purpose of visiting IJS in order to further their research.
The Master’s Program in Jazz History and Research at Rutgers-Newark, founded and directed by Professor Lewis Porter, is the only program of its kind. Program students receiving grants this year and their research topics are:
- Alexander Ariff: Jazz poetry, 1956-1966
- Sheila Pigford: Evolution of jazz and its connections with the church
- Radam Schwartz: History of organ in jazz
- Alan Simon: Music of pianist/composer Herbie Hancock
This year’s outside scholar-awardees are:
- Patricia Bonnie Brett (York University, Toronto): Ella Fitzgerald Songbook recordings
- Ryan Bruce (York University, Toronto): Thelonious Monk’s aesthetic in the work of Charlie Rouse and Steve Lacy
- Jan Evensmo (Independent scholar, Norway): Research for his jazz solography series
- Martin Guerpin (Independent scholar/teacher, Paris): Aesthetic influence of jazz on French art music, 1908-1927
- Michael Kahr (University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz, Austria): Music of Clare Fischer
- Jeffery S. McMillan (Metropolitan Opera Archives): Biography of Billy Eckstine
The endowment was established in 1987 with a gift by composer/arranger/instrumentalist Benny Carter (1907-2003) in memory of Morroe Berger. Berger, a close friend and Carter’s biographer, was a professor of sociology at Princeton University until his death in 1981. Carter’s initial gift was matched by the Berger family, who asked that Carter’s name be added to the Fund’s title. Carter, his wife Hilma, and other donors have regularly added to the endowment over the years. To date, over 70 awards have been given to scholars and students worldwide working in a variety of disciplines, including jazz history, musicology, bibliography, and discography.
Benny Carter first came to prominence in the late 1920s and 1930s when his alto saxophone improvisations helped set the standard for the instrument and his arrangements helped chart the course for the Swing Era. His career continued into the new Millennium. In the 1940s, he became a noted film and television composer–one of the first African Americans to penetrate the Hollywood studios. He led a parallel career as a jazz bandleader and soloist on both alto sax and trumpet, touring worldwide well into his nineties. Carter received many awards, including the National Medal of Arts, the Kennedy Center Honors, several Grammys, and honorary doctorates from Princeton, Harvard, and Rutgers.
He enjoyed a close relationship with Rutgers and the Institute of Jazz Studies. In addition to creating the Berger-Carter endowment, he led a fundraising campaign for IJS and served as artist-in-residence for the Jazz Program at Rutgers’ Mason Gross School, where he delivered the commencement address in 1991.
The Institute of Jazz Studies, the world’s foremost jazz archive, is a unit of the John Cotton Dana Library on the Rutgers University campus in Newark. More information about the Berger-Carter awards, as well as a complete list of previous award recipients, may be found on the IJS website: http://newarkwww.rutgers.edu/IJS/berger-carter-fund/index.html