Visit the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive at the 10th Annual Archives Bazaar.
Established in 1961, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is a world-renowned research archive dedicated to the study of musical traditions from around the globe. The Archive has a substantial collection of audiovisual materials relating to African American music in Los Angeles. Many of these recordings are now online as part of the California Audiovisual Preservation Project. https://archive.org/details/uclaethnomusicologyarchive We wanted to feature one example, here.
About the performers:
William Marcel “Buddy” Collette (1921-2010), tenor saxophonist, flautist and clarinetist, interviewed by Bette Yarbrough Cox. This interview is part of Cox's Black Experience as Expressed through Music (BEEM) series, Musical Heroes and Heroines in the Black Community of Southern California.
Bette Yarbrough Cox was a music educator in Los Angeles for more than 30 years, the founder of the BEEM (Black Experience as Expressed through Music) Foundation for the Advancement of Music, a Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for the City of Los Angeles, and a longtime friend of former Mayor Tom Bradley. Her publications include “Central Avenue--its rise and fall, 1890-c. 1955: including the musical renaissance of Black Los Angeles.”
Buddy Collette was a Grammy-nominated jazz saxophonist, flautist, bandleader and educator who played important roles in Los Angeles jazz as a musician and an advocate for the rights of African American musicians. He was one of the activists instrumental in the 1953 merging of the then all-African American musicians union Local 767 and the all-white Local 47. Collette had already crossed the color bar before that in 1949 and 1950 by performing as the only African American musician in the orchestra for Groucho Marx's “You Bet Your Life” radio and television shows. And as he said, “We integrated the Academy Awards too. It was 1963, when Sidney Poitier won. We were going to picket that thing. But I was in the band, with saxophonist Bill Green and harpist Toni Robinson-Bogart.” Collette's many non-performing activities included urging the development of the UCLA Oral History project, “Central Avenue Sounds” and the co-founding of JazzAmerica, a nonprofit organization working to provide education to gifted high school musicians. In 1998, Mayor Richard J. Riordan designated Collette “A Living Los Angeles Cultural Treasure.” As an educator, Collette served on the faculties of Loyola Marymount University, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Long Beach and Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Image:UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive's Aaron M. Bittel, Archivist-Librarian and Head of Digital Projects and Maureen Russell, Archivist-Librarian and Head of Cataloging. Photo taken at the 2005 Archives Bazaar.