College of Music

University of Colorado Boulder

CU’s Glenn Miller Archive acquires one of world’s best Big Band Era collections

March 1, 2011

The Glenn Miller Archive at the University of Colorado Boulder American Music Research Center has acquired one of the world’s most significant collections of Big Band Era recordings and memorabilia.

The Ed Burke Collection – named for its shepherd and founder – contains approximately 1,400 reel-to-reel tapes containing hundreds of hours of live radio programs featuring virtually every musician of major importance during the Big Band Era.

“This collection is especially extraordinary as the material is in a live radio context,” said Professor Tom Riis, director of the American Music Research Center in the College of Music. “We have the announcer’s voice, the advertising, everything. It is also in remarkably good condition, as the tapes were made directly from the transcription discs loaned to Ed by the radio stations.”

The vast collection includes performances by almost every Big Band musician and entertainer who appeared on records or radio between 1930 and 1960, including broadcasts by Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. The collection has been transferred in its entirety to the Glenn Miller Archive for permanent preservation.

In addition to the historically valuable collection of live recordings – which includes original material never distributed commercially – the collection also includes photographs, magazines, documents and other memorabilia from the unique era in American popular music. An avid fan and collector, Ed Burke founded and operated the independent record and compact discs labels Fanfare, Jazz Hour and Soundcraft.

“The Glenn Miller Archive honors and preserves the legacy of our distinguished alumnus, Glenn Miller,” said archive curator Alan Cass, “and we are grateful to Ed Burke for his lifelong dedication to preserving an important segment of American popular music.”

Story by CU Office of New Services Staff

Development, Ensembles, Jazz, Library, Musicology, Brass and Percussion, American Music Research Center