Lost for 50 years, rare “Just Jazz” performances rediscovered

Research & Innovation

Jayme Blaschke | February 11, 2020

Texas State University's Hank Hehmsoth, associate professor in the School of Music, has discovered rare performances from the 1970 TV broadcasts of “Just Jazz” presumed lost for 50 years.

Hehmsoth discovered the video footage among 60 boxes of uncatalogued Dan Morgenstern memorabilia at the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University.  Hehmsoth was researching the Morgenstern materials in his role as the 2019 Morroe Berger-Benny Carter-Edward Berger Jazz Research Research Fellow by the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University.

I was there for 10 days in January. They gave me access to NEA Jazz Master Dan Morgenstern’s uncatalogued memorabilia,” Hehmsoth said. “These are all major jazz figures, and legends to jazz lovers and historians. There are also more performances of famous jazz artists including Billie Eckstine and Erroll Garner.”

Morgenstern produced the PBS series “Just Jazz” for Chicago station WTTW in 1970. Included in the rediscovered broadcast tapes were:

  • the only known TV appearance of jazz tenor saxophonist Gene Ammons
  • the last televised appearance of jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon
  • the only U.S. TV appearance of expatriate jazz tenorist Don Byas

The digitizing performances are available for viewing at media.music.txstate.edu/morgenstern/Morgenstern-Editor-Author/Morgenstern-JustJazz.html

Hehmsoth’s website, "Dan Morgenstern Collection," is the complete archive of Morgenstern's 70 years as a jazz advocate, scholar, author and educator. Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University from 1976 to 2013, Morgenstern was chief editor of DownBeat Magazine from 1967 to 1973 and served as New York editor in 1964.

dexter gordon just jazz screenshot
Screenshot of previously “lost” video content from a 1970 TV broadcast of “Just Jazz” from WTTW/Chicago. This broadcast was produced by NEA Jazz Master Dan Morgenstern. This is the last televised appearance of Dexter Gordon.
hahmsoth headshot
Hank Hehmsoth

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922