Trevor Tolley was a former Carleton University professor of English and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences from 1969 to 1974. He was also a serious jazz enthusiast and collector. Tolley graciously bequeathed his entire collection of jazz records to Carleton University for students to appreciate and enjoy. The recordings represent 75 years of collecting, spanning the earliest jazz recordings to albums released in the 1970s. Born in Birmingham, England in 1927, his love for jazz began at the age of fourteen and from the age of seventeen he was publishing in many leading periodicals on the subject, such as Discography, Pickup, Jazz Monthly, The IAJRC Journal and Canada’s popular jazz magazine Coda. As well as having written various books on British poetry, he has also written two books on jazz: Discographical Essays (2009) and Codas: To a Life with Jazz (2013). Tolley was also president of the Montreal Vintage Music Society which also included Jacques Emond, whose vinyl collection is also housed in the Audio-Visual Resource Centre.
The collection contains over 7,000 records and CDs, the bulk of which are 10” 78rpm records pre-1942. This extremely comprehensive collection represents the history of jazz in accordance to major developments in recording technologies and contains near complete collections of records from both American and British labels such as Brunswick, His Master’s Voice, and Parlophone. From Swing to Free-Jazz, Duke Ellington to Ornette Coleman, 78rpm to 33rpm, shellac to vinyl, and oddities in between, this collection is truly astounding. This exhibit is in three sections: 78rpms (1917-1946), changes in record formats (largely in the 1940s and 1950s), and LP vinyl records (1950s – 1970s).
This is an online companion to the physical exhibit, which can be viewed in the Audio-Visual Study Room (aka SSAC Lounge) on the 4th floor of St. Patrick's Building. For a fuller experience, users are encouraged to view the exhibit in conjunction with this online component in order to both see and hear the records on display.
Curated by Rachel Clothier
Online Design and Production: Krista Bellerby
Research Assistant: Melissa Burke