In early 2014, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music announced a major partnership with the estate of legendary jazz bassist Milt Hinton, whose seven-decade career intersected with the greatest jazz musicians of the 20th century and whose camera lens captured the joy and inconceivable pain of life as an African American musician traversing the segregated southern United States.
This fall, Oberlin's relationship with the Hinton estate continues with a series of free public exhibitions, musical performances, lectures, and more dedicated to the late musician and taking place on the campus of Oberlin College and Conservatory.
The lineup of fall events is as follows:
An Insider’s Lens: The Jazz Photography of Milt Hinton, featuring 99 photographs taken by Hinton and on loan from the Milton J. Hinton Photographic Collection, are on display in the Allen Memorial Art Museum (87 N. Main St.) through December 23, with additional images by the prolific photographer exhibited in the conservatory lounge across campus.
Another exhibition, Milt Hinton: On the Road, consists of artifacts from the Hinton collection focusing on the musician’s early life and experiences on the road with Cab Calloway and Louis Armstrong. It can be viewed in the main library (Mudd Center, at 148 W. College St.) through November 26.
A third exhibition, Selections from the Milton J. and Mona C. Hinton Papers, includes instruments, recordings, and other artifacts from throughout Hinton’s career. It can be viewed on the lower level of the Bertram and Judith Kohl Building (77 W. College St.) through December 12.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 5, the documentary Keeping Time: The Life, Music & Photographs of Milt Hinton will be screened in Hallock Auditorium in the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies (122 Elm St.). Combining rare footage, photographs, and compelling interviews, it follows Hinton throughout his remarkable career on stage, on the road, and in the studio.
Keeping Time will be followed by a Q&A with David G. Berger and Holly Maxson, who co-created the film and serve as executors of the Hinton estate.
The Milton J. and Mona C. Hinton Collection will be formally dedicated in Clonick Hall (Bertram and Judith Kohl Building, 77 W. College St.) at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, November 6.
A DAY OF HINTON
Saturday, November 8, consists of a pair of activities dedicated to the music and legacy of Hinton. It starts with a 10:30 a.m. recital in Kulas Hall (77 W. College St.), with the Oberlin Bass Ensemble featuring faculty and students performing on Hinton's basses. The afternoon continues with a 1-3 p.m. lecture and guided tour of Hinton exhibits across campus, led by Jeremy Smith, Oberlin's special collections librarian.
“FIRST THURSDAYS” AT THE ALLEN MEMORIAL ART MUSEUM
In November and December, the Allen Memorial Art Museum’s monthly “First Thursdays” series will take on a special Hinton focus. On Thursday, November 6, Berger and Maxson will speak about their many years with Hinton. Their talk, The Hinton Photo Collection: Nothing Beats a Trial but a Failure, will be followed by a Q&A and reception featuring a performance by Oberlin jazz faculty member Peter Dominguez, playing the bass Hinton adored throughout his career.
The evening of December 4 will be highlighted by a performance by bassist Dominguez with fellow faculty member Bobby Ferrazza on guitar.
Both First Thursday events take place from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Allen Museum complex.
On Thursday, November 20, renowned jazz critic, author, and director Gary Giddins will deliver Oberlin’s fall 2014 Harold Jantz Memorial Lecture, titled "Picturing Jazz," about the convergence of jazz and photography. The talk will begin at 4:30 p.m. in King Hall (10 N. Professor St.).
ABOUT OBERLIN AND MILT HINTON: In early 2014, the Oberlin Conservatory acquired four of Hinton’s prized basses and countless artifacts—known collectively as the Milton J. and Mona C. Hinton Papers—which were amassed throughout the late musician’s extraordinary career.
In June, the conservatory hosted the inaugural Milt Hinton Institute for Studio Bass, a biennial event geared toward young bass players and featuring a who’s-who of top bassists from across the musical map. Returning in summer 2016, the institute is supported through a $250,000 scholarship fund donated to Oberlin by the Hinton estate.
For more information about Milt Hinton and Oberlin, please visit oberlin.edu.