Archive of nine original oversize photographs taken at the Music Inn [Music Barn] of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in the 1950s

Mahalia Jackson, Max Roach (subjects)
Clemens Kalischer (photographer)

N.p. N.p., Circa 1950s. Collection of nine vintage oversize photographs taken at the Music Inn of Stockbridge, Massachusetts in the 1950s. Each photograph SIGNED by photographer Clemens Kalischer on the verso. Included are stunning photographs of Max Roach, Ornette Coleman, Mahalia Jackson, Count Basie, Gunther Schuller, Dave Brubeck, Chuck Israels, Mona Neves, and Ran Blake.

Founded in 1950 by Stephanie and Philip Barber, the venue was created as a center for the performance and study of jazz. While greeted with lukewarm enthusiasm by the local townspeople, the invitation-only space quickly gained popularity among both white and Black poets, musicians, and artists. Participants could watch jazz and blues performances, stay the night, and discuss the performances the next morning. Luminaries such as Langston Hughes, Mahalia Jackson, John Lee Hooker, Leon James, Al Minns, and John Mohegan were counted among the attendees of the venue's regular roundtable discussions.

The Barbers decided to open the concerts to the outside world in the mid-1950s, and converted a courtyard on the property into a formal performance space, known as the Berkshire Music Barn. The Barn hosted a concert series that featured a who's who of jazz and blues musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck, Thelonious Monk, the Modern Jazz Quartet, and Jimmy Giuffre. By 1957, the Barn's success prompted the Barbers to open a "jazz school," where professionals such as Gillespie and Giuffre trained a new generation of jazz musicians.

The venue changed ownership at the end of the 1950s, shifting focus from jazz to folk music, and changed hands for a third time in 1969. Under the third owner, the space hosted rock and roll performances, with additional buildings on the property set to use as bars, a movie theatre, an art gallery, head and music shops, and a hotel. Increasingly disruptive, raucous live performances would lead townspeople and neighbors to issue complaints, injunctions, and lawsuits, and the Inn would ultimately close in 1979.

German-American photojournalist and art photographer Clemens Kalischer was born in Lindau, Germany in 1921. He immigrated to France via Switzerland in 1933, and again to the United States via Morocco in 1942, studying art at the Cooper Union from 1944 to 1946. He settled in Stockbridge in 1951, working as a freelance photographer for "The New York Times," "Newsweek," "Life," "The Sun, and "Time," among many others. He is perhaps best remembered today for his 1947-1948 series of photographs of immigrants arriving in New York City from displaced persons camps in postwar Europe.

Photographs range in size from 9.5 x 7.5 inches to 8 x 13 inches, mounted on stiff board measuring 16 x 20 inches. Photographs Near Fine, boards Very Good plus, with occasional soil and wear on the edges.

[Book #159173]