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New book puts spotlight on jazz in Wilmington


A Wilmington jazz historian’s new book highlights the history of jazz in the state’s largest city.

Steven Leech started writing “Boysie’s Horn:  The History of Jazz in Wilmington in the 20th Century,” after his friend Scott Davidson died, expanding on Davidson’s unfinished book about Wilmington vibraphonist Lem Winchester, “It’s a book about jazz in Wilmington, the history of jazz in Wilmington - something that has only been dealt with in bits and pieces and a lot of it really not dealt with at all.”

Leech says the book examines the history of jazz in Wilmington over 100 years.

“The story of Wilmington jazz is basically the story of Wilmington, particularly in the post-war years,"said Leech. "The jazz scene was affected pretty deeply by the urban renewal that took place on the East Side where 22 blocks of the City were torn down and with them the entire Black community. And it led to an inner-City Black Diaspora.”     

Leech says that led to the demise of a lot of the clubs that catered to jazz musicians like Boysie Lowery.

It also puts the spotlight on Lowery, who moved to Wilmington in the 1940’s, as well as other major figures - like Clifford Brown.

Leech will be at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach from 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. Friday, April 15 for a book signing.

And Wilmington Brew Works will feature Jeff Knoettner and Jackie Brown in a jam session celebrating publication of the book Friday, May 6th with Leech on hand to sign copies of the book.

Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.