Image of the Summergarden: New Music for New York event Jazz Concert I: Marquis Hill Project, July 16, 2017. Photo: Amitai Halberstam. Digital image © 2024 The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Discover how a uniquely modern American art form found a home at a uniquely modern American museum. Through original recordings, archival audio, and new interviews with jazz legends like Sonny Rollins, Ron Carter, and many more, the three-episode Jazz in the Garden podcast tells the story of more than 60 years of jazz at MoMA—from the towering figures of the 1960s and early ’70s, to one magical summer in 1985, to the arrival of new generations in the 1990s and 2000s. Listen to episodes one and two below, or wherever you get podcasts.

Master tenor saxophonist Theodore Walter “Sonny” Rollins performs solo in the Sculpture Garden of The Museum of Modern Art as part of Summergarden, July 19, 1985

Master tenor saxophonist Theodore Walter “Sonny” Rollins performs solo in the Sculpture Garden of The Museum of Modern Art as part of Summergarden, July 19, 1985

Episode Two: “One Magic Summer”

After a golden age of big names and big crowds throughout the 1960s, by the mid 1970s live jazz at MoMA had become something of an afterthought. But a magical summer of performances in 1985—including landmark concerts by the Art Ensemble of Chicago, “Butch” Morris, and the “saxophone colossus” himself, Sonny Rollins—put the music back at center stage. Join us for our second episode, and hear the story from Rollins and others who were there.

Episode One: “In the Beginning”

Our story begins on June 16, 1960, when George Wein and the Storyville Sextet played the first jazz concert in MoMA’s Sculpture Garden—and launched more than a decade of legendary performances and recordings from some of the leading lights of jazz, including Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, and Sonny Rollins. In this episode, you’ll hear about the first era of jazz at MoMA from some of the musicians who were there.

The Joe Newman Quintet plays a Jazz in the Garden concert, July 13, 1961

The Joe Newman Quintet plays a Jazz in the Garden concert, July 13, 1961

Want to hear more? Listen to a selection of legendary jazz albums that were recorded live at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Writer/producers: Naeem Douglas, Alex Halberstadt, Jason Persse
Host: Naeem Douglas
Additional readings: Karen Chilton
Engineer, mixer, original music: Zubin Hensler
Special thanks: Prudence Peiffer, Arlette Hernandez, Ellen Levitt, Kelsey Head, Dore Murphy, Allison Knoll, Tina James, Michelle Harvey, Molly Lieberman, Ana Marie, Marc-Auguste Desert II, Omer Leibovitz, Peter Oleksik

Music:
Episode One: “That’s a Plenty” (Live) (2014 remaster). Written by Lew Pollack. Performed by George Wein and the Storyville Sextet. Courtesy of Bethlehem Records. By arrangement with BMG Rights Management; “Soloscope.” Written and performed by Sonny Rollins. Courtesy of Concord Records. By arrangement with Kobalt obo Son Rol Music Company; “Namesake.” Written and performed by Milt Jackson. Courtesy of Universal Music Group. By arrangement with Reecie Music; “September in the Rain.” Written by Al Dubin, Harry Warren. Performed by George Wein and the Storyville Sextet. Courtesy of BMG. By arrangement with WC Music Corp. (ASCAP); “Undecided.” Written by Charles Shavers. Performed by George Wein and the Storyville Sextet. Courtesy of BMG. By arrangement with Universal Music Publishing; “Novamo.” Written and performed by Milt Jackson. Courtesy of Universal Music Group. By arrangement with Hall Leonard; “Take the ‘A’ Train.” Written by Billy Strayhorn. Performed by Clark Terry. Courtesy of The Orchard. By arrangement with Reservoir Media and WISE; “Take Three Parts Jazz.” Written by Teddy Charles. Performed by the Teddy Charles New Directions Quartet. Courtesy of 43 North Broadway LLC. By arrangement with Raybird Music; “A Night in Tunisia.” Written by John Gillespie, Frank Paparelli. Performed by the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet. Courtesy of Universal Music Group; “On Green Dolphin Street.” Written by Kaper Bronislaw, Ned Washington. Performed by Sonny Rollins. Courtesy of Universal Music Group. By arrangement with Reservoir Media, BRTS, and BMG; “The Quota.” Written by Jimmy Heath. Performed by Milt Jackson. Courtesy of Universal Music Group. By arrangement with Hall Leonard; “Now’s the Time.” Written by Charlie Parker. Performed by Clark Terry. Courtesy of The Orchard. By arrangement with Universal Music Publishing and Sony Music Publishing

Episode Two: “Now’s the Time.” Written by Charlie Parker. Performed by Clark Terry. Courtesy of The Orchard. By arrangement with Universal Music Publishing and Sony Music Publishing; “Uncle.” Written and performed by the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Used by permission; courtesy credits pending; “Soloscope, Part 1.” Written and performed by Sonny Rollins. Courtesy of Concord Records. By arrangement with Kobalt obo Son Rol Music Company; “Namesake.” Written and performed by Milt Jackson. Courtesy of Universal Music Group. By arrangement with Reecie Music; “On Green Dolphin Street.” Written by Kaper Bronislaw, Ned Washington. Performed by Sonny Rollins. Courtesy of Universal Music Group. By arrangement with Reservoir Media, BRTS, and BMG