Here are some clips from the afternoon session at the museum with Doc Severinsen and Alan Baylock.
A few of us decided to have a small jazz festival in Sherman this year-2018. We brought in the UNT One O’Clock Lab Band, and their director (Alan Baylock) suggested bringing in Doc Severinsen as the guest artist. The concert was on April 12, 2018. I have attached some Youtubes of the concert, and later I post Youtube of the Q&A session at the Sherman Jazz Museum that afternoon with Doc and Alan. A film crew also arrived who were filming a documentary on Doc’s life, along with Doc’s daughter, Nancy. I was honored to give Nancy and Doc a tour of the third floor of the museum, but unfortunately they didn’t have time to see the other half of the museum on the second floor.
It was a great start to what I hope to be an annual event in Sherman, which can showcase the museum, and a guest artist.
We had to figure out something to cover the seven foot high windows in the jazz museum, and curtains didn’t seem like the right approach. We decided on pictures, or paintings of some of the major players in the jazz trumpet world up to 1989. Finding a local artist we could afford and who was good was our dilemma, but where would we find him, or her?
I just happened to see a great portrait of Buddy Tate one day in Sherman in a frame shop while having some posters framed. Buddy Tate had been a great saxophone player from Sherman who had played in the Count Basie Orchestra. I asked the owner of the frame shop who did the painting because I knew I had found our artist to do our jazz paintings for us. The artist was a local woman who was well known and taught art lessons from her home named Pat Pierce. She was in her 70s, short, but I didn’t know if she wanted to take on a project such as ours. We would be needing 13 large paintings, just for starters. Plus, we needed them fairly fast, not in two years.
When Pat arrived at the museum to meet with us the first time, she immediately noticed a portrait of my great grandfather hanging in the lobby of the museum. To our surprise she recognized the artist’s work who had done the portrait of my great-grandfather. She told us she had been a young art student of the woman who had done the portrait! I thought that was impossible since my great grandfather died in 1919 and the portrait must have been done before that sometime. However, Pat had been a young woman when she took the lessons, while the artist who had painted my grandfather’s portrait was an older woman by the time she taught Pat.
It was this lineage of artists that made us sure we had found the right artist. If my great grandfather liked this woman’s style and she had taught Pat, then she was good enough for me. Pat and her husband, Jack, have felt like family to us since the day we met. I don’t know how we were lucky enough to find her, but it all fell into place like magic. She was the artist I had wanted to find, and her price was what I could afford while we were waiting to hear back from the IRS about my dad’s estate tax. The first 13 paintings she did for us was just the start, however. We still had two rooms downstairs which would require another 10, or 11 large paintings.
Along with the 2,200 albums Mark Taylor donated to our museum, there were two other major donations. His dad had been personal friends with Stan Kenton over the years, and had acquired the band crate and Stan’s personal music folder. These are great pieces of jazz history, and we are very happy to have them.
Our mission is not just jazz education, it’s jazz preservation. These are two good examples of jazz artifacts that belong in a museum. It’s things like this early on that got my attention that we could be something in addition to being a record album museum. Why not have Stan Kenton’s albums and also something from the band? In the Taylor collection we had all of the Kenton albums, both on Capital, and on the Creative World publications. On one wall of the museum we put together as many of Stan’s albums as we had room for, plus his crate off to the side. His music folder is nearby on a wall near the albums.
It is very impressive to me to see how many albums a Stan Kenton, or a Wood Herman, or others produced during their careers. It basically shows the lives of these men who lived their lives on the road. Many people, or libraries, have these albums but they are not likely on display as we have them. On the TV above the Kenton albums we can show Kenton YouTube videos, just to pull it all together. We couldn’t have done this without the Mark Taylor donation.
When I started working on the museum in October of 2005, I only had a few records of my own to put in the museum. Soon, however, we acquired 3,400 records in two donations from two of my friends.
Leonard Belota donated his entire record collection of about 1,200 albums to us as soon as he found out what we had in mind. He had collected mostly small group albums during his life, and it is a marvelous collection. He had no kids to leave the albums to, plus he could always come see his collection anytime. Because I had been collecting mostly big band albums during my life, his donation was a perfect fit.
Mark Taylor’s dad had been a jazz DJ in Ohio for ten years before he died and after he died, Mark offered his dad’s 2,200 albums to us. Mark and I had been students together at North Texas years before, and had remained friends through the years. His gift was beyond belief to me. All of a sudden we had a serious record album museum with some fantastic albums for people to see and examine. I was starting to see that the museum was taking shape on it’s own, as I stood by and watched how the universe worked.
I started to set up the museum in sections based on what we had. I decided to select several of the most important trumpet players, and showcase their albums. Each section had room for a different number of records, so the positioning of the players was based primarily on how many records I had of each player. However, I wanted Al Hirt next to Wynton because Al gave Wynton his first trumpet. I also wanted to mix the races as much as possible so people wouldn’t see any bias from me in any way. To musicians it’s all about the music and how you play, and that’s the attitude I wanted the museum to promote. It is the music I am trying to expose people to and any other agenda would not be accepted. If someone walked in as a fan of Maynard Ferguson, I wanted them to walk out with an interest in someone else, such as Miles Davis or Chet Baker. I wanted to show how many great players and jazz styles the jazz world possessed, just in the area of trumpet. I also wanted to show how the players are all connected in an evolutionary process. In the more modern players, you can hear many of the players who came before them. The early players influenced everyone who came along later, and, as you see the players on the walls, you can see that connection.
My thinking is that someone can spend an hour at the museum looking and listening to the many jazz players on display, and in that short time link a sound with a face. If they like a certain sound they hadn’t heard before, it will open up a new world of listening for them. That’s my idea for the museum, and it’s jazz education in a fun, easy approach. Maybe my two music education degrees will be of more use than I originally thought. My playing experience and my college experience finally started to make sense to me. The years of playing was not a dead end and the college education was not a waste of time and money. Having said that, most of my time running the museum is spent in the business world. Working for my dad part time for 28 years helping to manage his properties and investments also made sense. It is how the museum can survive long term, I hope.
When we decided to have a jazz museum, all we had was a building, a large room full of antiques, and about 400 records I had bought over the years. The antiques would have to be sold off to make room. This was the top floor of the building, and we already had another floor below that was full of antiques. A record album museum was exciting to me because I had recently learned from our daughter that album covers were going to be a thing of the past.
Our daughter was beginning to download songs and albums onto her iPod. I was horrified to think that she would have no hard copy album covers and more importantly, no liner notes. The liner notes tell you who composed the music, who did the arrangements, who played on the tracks, when it was recorded and where, not to mention the tunes and the time for each tune. In addition there might be photos and information about the band, or the recording session. Part of my love of getting a new album was reading the liner notes as I listened to the record. The history of jazz is written on the backs of record albums, not just in books. The cover art was also interesting because each album was different, and a photo of the band might be there, also. Liner notes and cover art were about to be history going forward!
We decided to have a record album museum, but no CDs because we had no room for them. That meant the museum would only contain music up to about 1989, when CDs took over for good.
The museum needed a curator to design the look for the walls, paint, albums, etc. We chose our daughter, not knowing what a talent she had for that type of thing. We couldn’t have found a better curator. It is interesting to me that my path in life was to put together a museum, and I was given just the right kids to help me do that. She has done a fantastic job, as you can see in the photos. Our son’s story will come later in the process. The early photos are from early 2008.
At the same concert Doc played Concerto Barrocco, he played Malagueña, also. I edited the 15 minute piece down a bit, so we could hear just Doc. Doc hired a local rhythm section of professional players from the Dallas area, one being Ernie Chapman, who hired me three times years later to play Doc’s show in the DFW area. This is the best I ever heard Doc play this cadenza.
In 1966 the Paschal High School stage band went to the National Championship contest in Pampa, Tx. where Doc Severinsen was one of the judges. Doc was so impressed with the playing of lead trumpet, 15 year old John Thomas, he decided to give John his trumpet. Doc was a Getzen clinician at the time.
in 2011, John donated this trumpet to our jazz museum in Sherman during John’s trumpet clinic at the museum. It’s a great example of what Doc was playing in 1966. Thanks to John for the donation and for being such a good friend through the years.
The museum of American Victorian walnut furniture opened around 1992. There was no grand opening, it just evolved. It contained what was possibly the largest collection of American Victorian walnut furniture in America. It was a project of the Collins-Binkley Foundation, a foundation my parents started in 1982.
By 1992 my parent’s antique collection had appreciated quit a bit. My parents had it appraised by a professional appraiser, donated the collection to their foundation, and moved everything into an old 1924 three story Masonic Temple they had bought in 1985. The appreciated antiques and donation proved to be such a good tax savings, that my parents saved more in taxes than they paid for the antiques originally! Hopefully, now the antiques would be a good investment for their foundation, as well as providing an educational look at how people used to live 100 years ago.
This video I took in 1995 shows briefly the 4 large rooms and lobby areas where the antiques called home for around 15 years. Rows and rows of massive antique beds, dressers, wash stands, tables, and other items filled the large building in Sherman. My parents would open the museum most Sundays from 2-5 P.M. and give visitors a tour, educating them on what they were seeing. Antique lovers came to see the collection, although nothing was for sale. It was all about having an investment for the foundation.
A year before my father died, we had begun to work on having the top floor be a jazz museum, and the lower floors be the antique museum. My dad had worked his way through college playing in dance bands, and had a love for jazz. He was also the first full time band director of Sherman High School in 1939, so a music museum in Sherman made sense. Our plan was to sell off some of the antiques and have fewer, but more expensive antiques that wouldn’t take up so much space.
My dad died in 2008, and that was the end of the antique museum. My sister had no desire to keep the museum going, which I understood since none of us lived in Sherman, so we split the assets in half, with me keeping the building and jazz artifacts we had acquired up to that time. The jazz section all of a sudden had the whole building to itself.
The antique museum had served its purpose and it was time to move on. Someday the jazz museum will cease to exist, but in the meantime it will preserve some of our American musical history and educate the public about our American art form we gave to the world. It is a music museum, but it is also an American history museum. Our history can be found in our music, and our American musical history is still very young.