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Media Memo: Presentation on the history of New York City's famous 52nd Street

March 7, 2012

TO: News/Assignment Editors and Directors

FROM: Judy Berthiaume

DATE: March 7, 2012

SUBJECT: Presentation on the history of New York City's famous 52nd Street

Dr. Ryan Jones, an assistant professor of music and theatre arts at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, will give two presentations this month on the history of New York City's historically famous 52nd Street jazz joints.

Jones will present "The Street — Stylistic Intersections on Jazz's 52nd Street, 1920-1945" at 7 p.m. March 8 and March 15 in the Eau Claire Room of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire. Jones teaches music history and theory at UW-Eau Claire.

The lectures, which are free and open to the public, will focus on the renowned swing, bebop and Dixieland musicians who first made their mark in the clubs along "The Street" in its heyday. The programs will include audio and video clips, as well as a discussion.

During the Eau Claire Jazz Festival later this month, Barstow Street in downtown Eau Claire will become New York City's famous 52nd Street, with UW-Eau Claire students, faculty and alumni, along with community members, performing jazz at many participating locales. Many jazz legends during the 1920s, '30s and '40s honed their talents and learned their craft in jazz clubs along New York City's 52nd Street. Typically a house band would play the first set and then other musicians were invited to join in and jam, sharing their music. The Eau Claire "52nd Street" venues — large and small — will replicate those jazz clubs from long ago, showcasing the diverse forms of jazz music, from ragtime to blues to acoustic to jazz standards and more.

The Eau Claire Jazz Festival — which began on the UW-Eau Claire campus 45 years ago — is one of the oldest jazz festivals in the country and one of the largest in the Midwest. The festival has its roots in UW-Eau Claire's jazz studies area, which is celebrating its 50th year. The nonprofit organization Eau Claire Jazz continues to partner with UW-Eau Claire to host the jazz festival annually.

To discuss Ryan Jones's March 8 and March 15 lectures, contact Jones at 715-836-4947 or

For information about Eau Claire Jazz events, contact Patty Horecki, Eau Claire Jazz executive director, at or 715-836-4092.

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