Jason Moran, member of NEC’s Jazz Piano Faculty, has made a wonderful donation to the NEC Archives of unique piano manuscripts, exercises, and lessons – complete with creative cover illustrations – from his studies with longtime faculty member Jaki Byard. This year, NEC celebrated the centennial of the Worcester, Massachusetts native’s birth, and the institution continues to reflect on Byard's often under-appreciated influence on jazz and avant-garde music.
Adding his manuscripts to the NEC Archives will further appreciation and studies of his contributions, while continuing to cement his legacy, and we deeply appreciate Moran sharing these materials with NEC for future generations of students and researchers.
See photos from Moran’s donation to the Archives, featuring NEC President Andrea Kalyn and NEC Provost and Dean Ben Sosland, and read statements from Moran, Jazz Studies Chair Ken Schaphorst ‘84 MM, and NEC Archivist / Records Manager Maryalice Perrin-Mohr, on Byard’s unique legacy and these exciting materials.
I have made the important decision to donate all of my Jaki Byard music to the NEC library. I teach at NEC because Jaki taught here. Boston is close to Jaki’s hometown of Worcester. And NEC has continued to imbue the legacy of Jaki Byard into their students. There are maybe 100 pieces of handwritten music and illustrations that need cataloging. Jaki’s beautiful piano exercises also are in the batch. I have protected this music for a while, holding it as a treasure. Every once in a while I would share it with students. But I know, Jaki left a map on the piano and I need to share the map. Cheers.
Ken Schaphorst ‘84 MM, Jazz Studies Chair:
Over the last 20 years, one of my goals at NEC has been to collect as much of Jaki Byard’s music as possible, through connecting with NEC alums, as well as Jaki’s colleagues and family. Not only does this allow Jaki Byard’s music to be heard, but generations of NEC students are now learning from his unique and masterful compositions and arrangements. Jason’s gift gives future generations an equally critical glimpse into Jaki’s pedagogy. It is my hope that this will inspire more of Jaki Byard’s students to contribute their own materials, so that his legacy will continue to live on at NEC.
Maryalice Perrin-Mohr, NEC Archivist / Records Manager:
The NEC Archives is thrilled to have Jason Moran’s donation of Jaki Byard’s music and illustrations. Byard was one of the pioneers of NEC’s Jazz program, having taught here from 1969-1985. These materials will be rehoused, described, and made available for study. In doing so, we hope to continue Byard’s legacy at NEC by inspiring current and future generations of jazz students, as well as researchers interested in exploring the history of jazz at NEC.
Photography by Andrew Hurlbut, NEC