Thursday, May 10, 2012

Benjamin Cawthra, author of book on jazz and photography, to speak Sunday, June 3 at the Missouri History Museum

Author, jazz historian and former St. Louisan Benjamin Cawthra is coming back to his old hometown for an event promoting his book Blue Notes in Black and White: Photography and Jazz.

Cawthra will speak and sign copies of the book (pictured) starting at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, June 3 in the Des Lee Auditorium at the Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell. The event is free and open to the public.

He'll discuss "the development of jazz photography from the swing era of the 1930s to the rise of black nationalism in the 1960s." Saxophonist Kelvin Evans will play a short set of standards before the lecture.

Cawthra lived in St. Louis for 16 years, earning a Ph.D in history from Washington University and working for the History Museum, where in 2001 he curated the exhibit "Miles: A Miles Davis Retrospective." Cawthra, who also helped coordinate the Sheldon Art Galleries' 2008 exhibit of the jazz photos of Herb Snitzer, now is an associate professor of history and associate director of the Center for Oral and Public History at California State University, Fullerton.

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