When people talk about jazz history in New York City, they usually talk about Harlem and Greenwich Village. Indeed, Harlem was full of jazz clubs in the 1920s, like the Apollo and the Cotton Club. But if you were going to trace jazz back to its true home, you’d have to go to Queens, where many of the musicians who performed in Manhattan’s clubs lived. The Queens Jazz Trail Map by Ephemera Press was commissioned by Flushing Town Hall to show the homes of jazz legends and places of interest for jazz fans.
There are portraits of famous jazz musicians, like Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday and Scott Joplin. You can see where they lived, including the Louis Armstrong House Museum, and where they played. As Marc H. Miller, a jazz historian and the man behind Ephemera Press, told the Associated Press, the composer Clarence Williams moved to Queens in the 1920s with the intention of creating “a colony of black artists,” and he did just that.
Flushing Town Hall is hosting an exhibition of Louis Armstrong’s collages, many of which he created on the boxes of his audio tapes, until December 31.