Jazz Goes To College


On our recent post on jazz albums from the Ivy heyday, someone commented 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 pictured below. Of course some would say Brubeck ain’t jazz, but that’s another story. You can see the rest of the yearbook here. We scoured the pages in vain hoping to see a dapper young Bruce Boyer.


36 Comments on "Jazz Goes To College"

  1. What album cover?

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

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

  3. More jazz crap I see.

  4. Who exactly said Brubeck isn’t jazz?

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

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

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

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

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

  11. Christian,

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

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

    A deafening silence.

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

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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?

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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?

  20. @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.

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


  22. 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”.

  23. 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.

  24. “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.

  25. 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.

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

  27. Then it don’t mean a thingin’.

  28. 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.

  29. 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?

  30. 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.

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

    The Real Thing:

    Lester Lanin Goes to College:


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

  33. Digging the Lanin.

  34. Phil Siffington | June 6, 2021 at 11:52 pm |

    Jazz again?
    I guess I’ll tune in again next Monday, when the topic changes.

  35. Charlottesville | June 7, 2021 at 10:01 am |

    For those who are interested, here is the entire “Lester Lanin Goes to College” LP from 1958 — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apg-tpzJ4so . Is it jazz? I don’t know, but it is fun music from one of the last of the “society” swing bands that was still performing in the 80s and 90s. You can see him playing himself in the 90s comedy Man of the Century, which is definitely worth a look on Amazon. He played at W&L on at least one occasion in the mid 1980s. Peter Duchin’s orchestra is another of the society band that kept performing long enough for my wife and I to enjoy them live. Seeing a real big band always makes for a most enjoyable evening, although they are harder to find these days.

  36. Get that scholar some stockings!

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