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About Dan Morgenstern

Dan Morgenstern
Dan Morgenstern

Few are more beloved in the jazz community than Dan Morgenstern. Jazz advocate, producer, writer, scholar, he led the Institute for Jazz Studies at Rutgers University for over three decades, establishing it as the world’s preeminent archive for jazz. Along the way, he shaped the way we hear and think about this music, mentored generations of writers, educators, and musicians, and in turn, was embraced by artists from Louis Armstrong to Ornette Coleman to Alban Berg. 
      "Rather than a critic--though he is certainly evocative and convincing in his evaluation of music and musicians--he is a contemporary chronicler, a Boswell of jazz. He discovered jazz in his native Austria, and he says in the autobiographical introduction to his massive gathering of articles, reviews, album-liner notes, and other fugitive writings that jazz helped sustain him when, as a child and teenager, he and his mother fled the Nazi Anschluss and spent the war in Scandinavia before reunification with his father in the U.S. Sincerity and generosity of spirit illuminate his personal remarks and carry through to his description of and reflections on the great musicians he has known, worked with, and loved. While there is something good on every page, the pieces on jazz recording and discography constitute an especially valuable part of this lovable book."
Ray Olson Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Dan's Career

Jazz Review
1960 to 1961


New York Editor
Down Beat 
1964 to 1967

The Great Jazz Day

The Great Jazz Day
Da Capo Press 2002

Chicago Sun Times

Record Reviewer
Chicago Sun Times

England’s Jazz Journal

New York Correspondent and Columnist
England’s Jazz Journal

Contributor African-American Almanac

African-American Almanac

Library of Congress

Jazz Scholar
Library of Congress

Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies (IJS) at Rutgers University from 1976 to 2012, Dan Morgenstern is a jazz historian and archivist, author, editor, and educator who has been active in the jazz field since 1958.

He was chief editor of DownBeat from 1967 to 1973, and served as New York editor from 1964. Morgenstern was co-editor of the Annual Review Of Jazz Studies and the monograph series Studies In Jazz, published jointly by the IJS and Scarecrow Press. Dan has authored 3 books, Jazz People, Living With Jazz, and The Great Jazz Day. He has been a jazz critic for the New York Post, record reviewer for the Chicago Sun Times, and New York correspondent and columnist for England’s Jazz Journal and Japan’s Swing Journal. He’s contributed to reference works including the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Dictionary of American Music, African-American Almanac, and Encyclopedia Britannica Book of the Year; and to such anthologies as Reading Jazz, Setting The Tempo, The Louis Armstrong Companion, The Duke Ellington Reader, The Miles Davis Companion, and The Lester Young Reader.

Morgenstern taught jazz history at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, Brooklyn College, New York University, and the Schweitzer Institute of Music in Idaho. He served on the faculties of the Institutes in Jazz Criticism, jointly sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and the Music Critics Association, and on the faculty of the Masters Program in Jazz History and Research at Rutgers University.

Morgenstern is a former vice president and trustee of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences; was a co-founder of the Jazz Institute of Chicago; served on the boards of the New York Jazz Museum and the American Jazz Orchestra; and is a director of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation and the Mary Lou Williams Foundation. He has been a member of Denmark’s International JAZZPAR Prize Committee since its inception in 1989.

A prolific annotator of record albums, Morgenstern has won eight Grammy Awards for Best Album Notes (1973, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1991, 1995, and 2006). He received ASCAP’s Deems Taylor Award for Jazz People in 1977 and in 2005 for Living with Jazz.

Dan's Career has encompassed varieties of jobs and awards. Besides writing for and editing jazz journals, Morgenstern has promoted concerts, worked at record companies, and taught and managed jazz education programs. He is the reason the NEA established a NEA Jazz Master for Jazz Advocacy award.