Irving S. Gilmore Music Library

Willie Ruff exhibition and talk

Willie Ruff. Photo by Harold Shapiro
January 18, 2017

With the recent completion of its renovations, the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library is delighted to announce the inaugural exhibit, on view in its brand-new exhibition space in the corridor outside the Music Library from January 27-April 25. The exhibit, entitled A Riff on Ruff: Yale’s Jazz Ambassador to the Worldwill honor the 85th birthday of Professor Willie Ruff of the Yale School of Music. Ruff is a world-class musician on two instruments (horn and bass), a multifaceted researcher, a well-connected impresario, and a polyglot world traveler. A Yale alumnus and professor, he is a long-time friend of the library, and is truly one of a kind. The exhibit features a variety of items including photographs, video interviews, sound recordings, manuscripts, and awards. Many are drawn from the library’s archival collections, while others are borrowed from Ruff's personal collection. The exhibit will notably feature audio and video content for the first time, thanks to new technology that has been installed in the Music Library's new exhibit space. On online version of the exhibit is also available

In conjunction with this exhibition, Ruff will also present a talk on February 16th entitled And This is What They Said, in which he will discuss a seminal series of interviews he conducted with the last of the living pioneers of jazz in 1974. These artists, including Dizzy Gillespie, Eubie Blake, Ethyl Waters, John Hammond, and others, vividly recalled their output of classic phonograph records. Ruff recently donated the interviews to Yale’s Oral History of American Music. To celebrate, Ruff will present excerpts from the interviews along with clips from legendary jazz performances.