Tue July 24, 2012
$200K Rare Jazz Collection Purchased by UW-Eau Claire
A one of a kind collection of jazz sheet music and recordings worth $200,000 has settled into its new home at UW-Eau Claire. The collection will be digitized for generations of jazz enthusiasts to come.
As far as rare jazz collections go, the recent find by emeritus UW-Eau Claire music professor Ron Keezer is about as good as it gets. Keezer says the collection is comprised of 42 boxes, containing around 1,000 pieces of music and 1,000 records. “It’s just like finding King Tut’s tomb here. It’s really something. Original Woody Herman, some things that were never published and nobody else has and we now have. Stuff that was big many years ago but was lost, well: We’ve got it now.”
The collection was purchased from Texan Pete Peterson, who led a big band for 60 years. Keezer says it was valued at more than $200,000, but after learning about UW-Eau Claire’s award winning jazz program Peterson offered the music for $75,000. “So, in nine weeks I raised the $75,000 and sent Pete Peterson some CDs of Bob Bacha and his band at UW-Eau Claire and that clinched the deal, because Pete said, ‘You’ve got the horses that can handle my music. I’ll send it to you.’”
After a non-stop 20-hour drive, the moving truck filled with rare jazz made it to the UW-Eau Claire campus. The material is now in the hands of archivists who are sorting it. They plan to scan the sheet music and digitize the records into MP3s. Keezer says then it can be shared worldwide: “It’s just going to be a treasure trove for researchers and musicians for years to come.”
The collection has been named the John L. Bucholz Jazz Library in honor of retired UW-Eau Claire English Professor and long time jazz supporter John Bucholz.