National Jazz Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The National Jazz Archive holds:

  • A comprehensive collection of books and journals relating to jazz and blues
  • The archives of musicians including: Kenny Ball, Ken Colyer, Terry Cryer, Sydney Hieger, Cy Laurie, Kenneth Pitt, George Webb, Mike Westbrook
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs
  • Programmers, Posters and Flyers

The archive has built up a collection of around 2,500 books on jazz, blues, popular music and dance. Books date from 1914 through to recent publications on the subject of jazz, making the collection a valuable bibliographic resource. Rarities include two early books on jazz: R.W.S. Mendl's 'The Appeal of Jazz' (1927) and Stanley R. Nelson's 'All About Jazz' (1934). All books are available for visitors to browse.

The archive holds more than 600 journals dating from 1927 through to the present day. They reflect historical, cultural, social and aesthetic developments in jazz. Although the archive holds an extensive collection of rare British journals, it also holds publications from around the world including important titles from the USA and Europe. These are a vital resource for those interested in knowing more about jazz and related popular music.

The archive also holds a poster collection documenting a wide range of promotional material. These include posters from major and small-scale British jazz festivals and concerts, international jazz events and posters promoting album releases.

Administrative / Biographical History

The National Jazz Archive is the specialist repository for the history of Jazz in the UK, in addition to the USA and Europe.

Holdings include books, periodicals and journals, photographs, personal papers, ephemera and a small number of objects.

Access Information

The archive reading room is open to researchers 10.00 am to 13.00 pm Monday to Wednesday and Friday.

Other Finding Aids

The NJA catalogue is available for searching

Archivist's Note

Description created by Jane Stevenson, 21 November 2013, on behalf of the NJA