Jazz Goes To College


On our recent post in honor of Jazz Appreciation Month, someone left a comment saying he was at college in the ’50s and that jazz was only for beatniks. Sure beatniks dug jazz, but so did the guys above, and they’re goatee and sandal-free.

The photo is from the 1960 yearbook of Lehigh University, and the album the students are listening to is this:


Of course some would say Brubeck ain’t jazz, but that’s another story.

You can see the rest of the yearbook here. I scoured the pages hoping to see a dapper young Bruce Boyer, but no luck. — CC

44 Comments on "Jazz Goes To College"

  1. I wasn’t the album cover that caught my eye.

  2. “It” wasn’t, sorry.

  3. What album cover?

    I believe the blond lady in the top right hand corner is the Playmate that went on the Ivy league date.

  4. I meant left hand corner. Sorry I was distracted.

  5. More jazz crap I see.

  6. Who exactly said Brubeck isn’t jazz?

  7. A. E. W. Mason | April 29, 2013 at 12:06 pm |

    Thank you for the Esquire article citation. It’s a subject that requires attention.

  8. @Mac-Janet Pilgrim-http://www.ivy-style.com/sex-education-a-playmate-at-dartmouth.html

  9. AEW,

    Had started a post on the topic of the Internet and those who have an unhealthy relationship with it (and presumably themselves), but in the end decided to just post the link. I’m sure the topic will eventually come up again, though.

  10. Mr. Wyllys | April 29, 2013 at 3:22 pm |

    …wait…there is a jazz album in that picture?

  11. A. E. W. Mason | April 29, 2013 at 4:31 pm |


    I’m certain it will come up again, as you say. If the Esquire article is right, it may be that in the not-to-distant future civility will be in some measure enforced by regulation.

  12. More belly-aching about not liking Jazz, I see.

  13. Orthodox Trad | April 29, 2013 at 6:42 pm |

    One can only hope and pray that the topic of Ivy and jazz has been exhausted and that we can be illuminated about sartorial matters, instead.

  14. When I was at college in the 60s, I don’t remember anybody at all listening to jazz. It was folk music that we listened to. The rightists listened to The Brothers Four, The Kingston Trio, and the like. The leftists listened to Woody Gurhrie, Baez, Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, the Weavers, and the like.

    Are LP album covers really proof that jazz was all that popular on campus, or simply evidence that the record companies were trying to sell jazz to college students?

  15. That dirty foot looks more typical of college students in 2013, than in the early 60s.
    We were squeaky-clean back then.

  16. “record companies were trying to sell jazz to college students?”

    Wow. That’s right up there with “the Ivy League Look was all about marketing.”

  17. Christian,

    Would you deny that in 2013 the Ivy League Look is all about marketing?

  18. So, again, who said Brubeck “ain’t jazz”?

    A deafening silence.

  19. Some people prefer silence to his music. I think he’s OK.

    A quick google search should inform you. Here’s a start:



    What does it even mean for Ivy to be “all about marketing,” now or then?

    And who markets the Ivy League Look in 2013? John Simons?

  20. Did they listen to it because it was Jazz, or because it was Pop?

  21. You begin with “Angry Man” Mingus? Wow. If you’re going to make the remark you made about Brubeck, maybe illuminate your point with a list of differences between Cool and the more underground Avante Garde stuff. Weird and offbeat is usually mistaken for genius, though–in any arena.

    By the way, you can google “critics” and add pretty much anything else, including Mingus, and the hits will keep on coming. But, okay, I asked.

    You probably know the two played together. As an account goes, it was Brubeck who was reluctant and Mingus who wanted to play with Brubeck. Brubeck relented, with conditions.

  22. “Some say…”
    “Some people say…”
    “Some prefer…”

  23. You obviously know something about jazz. You’ve never heard people say Brubeck can’t swing?

  24. Yes, of course. It’s beyond cliche. But the same was said of Monk. As Crouch and “others” (there, I did it too) have observed, Brubeck’s range was amazing.

    He improvised beautifully, but, above all else, he played WITH others–his bandmates. His genius was in his following.

    Post-Desmond DBQ? Another story, for sure. No comment.

    I’m not sure Cool is supposed to swing. Is it?

  25. Quote: “Yes, of course. It’s beyond cliche.”

    So “Who said Brubeck ain’t jazz?” was rhetorical, I see.

  26. If these guy hate jazz music,what they think about rock and roll?
    I know,i know,for they also the Platters are dangerous beatniks-commies folks!

  27. Perhaps the only genre more pretentious than jazz is rock n’ roll. Multitudes of prancing, preening self-absorbed idiots. I use pretentious in the true sense of pretending. Pretending to be music instead of sound. If you are going to make nonsense, no matter what the field, keep it to yourself.

    Now even rappers take themselves seriously and proclaim they are musicians. I blame jazz.

  28. Cheer up, Alex!

  29. Milt Trenier used to have a club here in downtown Chicago and we’d head over there
    to watch him do his old school thing. He swung! Hey Alex, should I get off your lawn?

  30. @Alex Reed

    Yours is the voice of reason.
    Rest assured that there are others out there who are able to distinguish between music and jazz.

  31. … and some non-music for Camford, in honor of Jack Lemmon:

  32. Thank you, Christian. I can now definitively date the beginning of the end to 1954.

    Bob, if I had a lawn you would be welcome to it. You could stand there all day. Just no jazz and no “swinging”.

  33. Christian,
    No need whatsoever for that improvisation.
    The original is so beautiful that one wonders why anybody would feel the need to tamper with it.
    If one didn’t already know the original version, he would hardly be able to reconstruct it after it had been meddled with.

  34. “The original is so beautiful that one wonders why anybody would feel the need to tamper with it.”

    At least he didn’t paint a mustache on the Mona Lisa.

  35. I know classically trained pianists (who tend toward Chopin) who, upon listening to Oscar Peterson, responded with a smile and a “Now, that’s good music” nod. I agree that some jazz is noise. But not all. I am willing to say of certain jazz “musicians” and pieces what Robert Coates allowed about the “art” of Jackson Pollock. But jazz, when disciplined by space and timing and pace, can be beautiful.

  36. And, CC, not all jazz is Swingin’.

  37. Then it don’t mean a thingin’.

  38. Christian,

    The Mona Lisa with a moustache is still recognizable as the Mona Lisa.
    That cannot be said for jazz that dıstorts the original beyond recognition.

  39. Ah, this grows more interesting. You prefer a defacing of the Mona Lisa, as long as it’s still recognizable, to an artistic interpretation of “The Days Of Wine and Roses” that is unrecognizable?

  40. I’m afraid that afficionados really don’t understand how disturbed some of us are by jazz.
    To each his own.
    No more comments from me on jazz, pink trousers, critter ties, embroidered belts, bit loafers, or extra-slim-cut shirts.

  41. Uncle Jack | May 1, 2013 at 8:33 am |

    The Real Thing:

    Lester Lanin Goes to College:

  42. That Lester Lanin medley is great! I especially liked the accordion.

  43. Digging the Lanin.

  44. Christian | May 1, 2013 at 5:32 pm |

    Lanin is not to be dug.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.