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Welcome to the Home of The Boston Jazz Chronicles

Troy Street Publishing is an independent publisher developing print and online content about the social and regional history of Boston and Massachusetts in the middle years of the twentieth century. Visit About Us to see what’s doing on Troy Street.

Boston Jazz Chronicles front cover

Troy Street’s first book, The Boston Jazz Chronicles: Faces, Places, and Nightlife 1937–1962, is the first book to examine the lively story of Boston and its music at mid-century. It is the definitive source of information for jazz fans and students, researchers and librarians, and any reader interested in Boston’s social history. The cast of characters includes Sabby Lewis, Lawrence Berk, Jaki Byard, Nat Pierce, Charlie Mariano, Joe Gordon, George Wein, Herb Pomeroy, Sam Rivers, George Frazier, Symphony Sid Torin, Nat Hentoff, Frankie Newton, Father Norman O’Connor, and many others.

They’re all in the pages of this book. Look on the Jazz Chronicles page for more information, including an excerpt from Chapter 4 and an expanded table of contents.

Check out the reviews and testimonials from Arts Fuse, Library Journal, Nat Hentoff, Carol Sloane, George Wein, Eric Jackson, Bob Porter, Michael Steinman and more.

News from Richard Vacca and Troy Street

David Brent Johnson, the creator and host of the syndicated radio program Night Lights, celebrated George Wein’s birthday with a show titled Jazz From Storyville, originally broadcast in November 2015. David and I have a running conversation throughout the program, and he features music recorded at the club, including selections by Billie, Bechet and Brubeck. Go to Jazz at Storyville to listen to the hour-long program, or read a transcript of our conversation.

I have spent much of 2015 working with Fred Taylor, the entertainment director at Boston’s Scullers Jazz Club for the past 25 years, on his memoir, titled What, And Give Up Showbiz? Fred’s been on the scene a long time. He was owner and operator of the legendary nightclubs Paul’s Mall and the Jazz Workshop, artistic director of the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, and owner of the Harvard Square Theater. And there’s much more, with everybody from Miles Davis to Earth, Wind & Fire to Lily Tomlin to Grace Kelly in and out of the story. It’s quite a tale, and we are shopping the proposal to publishers now.

Another hobby: I am selling some of the mountain of jazz memorabilia that I’ve accumulated over the last decade on EBay. I’m selling jazz magazines from the 1950s to the 1970s, photos, concert programs, nightclub flyers and handbills, posters, CDs, and whatever else emerges from the attic. You never know what you’ll find. Recently I sold handbills from the Jazz Workshop and Paul’s Mall in Boston and Slugs in New York, an autographed photo of Jimmy Dorsey, and many back issues of Down Beat magazine. To view what’s on offer today, use the EBay advanced search option and under Sellers, search for my seller ID, rpv651.

New on the Boston Jazz Chronicles YouTube channel: I’ve just added “Come Back to Me,” recorded by Mamie Lee and the Swingmen in 1966 for MGM. This was the single taken from the LP, Once in a Lifetime. It was a good album, produced by Don Costa, but apparently sales did not meet MGM’s expectations. It was Lee’s only recording.

Upcoming Events

Lennie's adMay 21, 2016: Boston wasn’t the only place in the region where listeners and dancers could enjoy popular music. The Jazz Chronicles show goes on the road with North Shore Rhythm: The Jazz Map from Salem Willows to Lennie’s-on-the-Turnpike. That evening, I’ll be talking about Charlie Shribman, Lennie Sogoloff, Sandy Berman and other entertainment entrepreneurs who brought great music to destinations north of the city. That’s on May 10 at 7:00 at the Peabody Institute Library, 82 Main Street in Peabody, MA. Call 978-531-0100 for more info.

Interested in a Boston Jazz Chronicles slide presentation for your group meeting or event? How about a walking tour through one of Boston’s entertainment districts where jazz had a prominent place? Email for more information.