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John Bunch Papers

 Collection
Identifier: JC.2015.03

Scope and Contents

The John Bunch Papers includes original compositions by John Bunch, images that he took of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and other musicians, at clubs and during his world tours, and materials, such as his White House invitation, a full color poster advertising Tony Bennett at the London Palladium, newspaper and magazine interviews, and John’s own articles and published letters. Original name and title spellings on the slide labels were retained.

Dates

  • 1958 - 2002

Biographical / Historical

John Bunch was born in Tipton, Indiana on December 1, 1921, and began studying piano when he was eleven. By the age twelve he was already playing in local clubs, eager to be part of the jazz scene. Early influences include Fats Waller, Bud Powell and Teddy Wilson. During World War II he served in the United States Army Air Corps and wrote his first musical arrangement while playing in a band as a prisoner-of-war. Upon returning home, he enrolled in the University of Indiana, under the G. I. Bill, completing a degree in Speech in 1950. Music was a strong avocation during this decade, occupying weekend gigs with local players. His musical career truly began in the late 1950’s, as he played with the big bands of Georgie Auld, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, and Maynard Ferguson. As a member of these groups he remained an anonymous presence. These early associations would later lead to recognition, responsibility, and world travel. A move to New York City in the late 1950’s, caused him to broaden his talents. He focused on the intimate club scene, playing in trios and quartets with Urbie Green, Buddy Rich, Al Cohn, and Zoot Sims, and Wild Bill Davidson. He also began recording with various performers and with the Buddy Rich Orchestra. In 1962, Benny Goodman invited John to the USSR, as part of a diplomatic tour organized by the State Department. The famous clarinetist also asked Bunch to join his orchestra on tours of Mexico and Europe. Tony Bennett needed a music director in 1966. In this position Bunch played and directed at such notable venues as Carnegie Hall and the White House. Performances in Japan, Australia, England, and other parts of Europe were also part of this period. In the 1990’s Bunch formed his own trio, New York Swing, which included Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar and Jay Leonhart on bass. They played at many New York Clubs and on the S. S. Norway Cruise Line. He died on March 30, 2010 in New York City, survived by his wife, Cecily “Chips” Gemmell.

Extent

4.5 Linear Feet : 7 boxes, including 1 oversized

Language of Materials

English

Overview

The John Bunch Papers includes original compositions by John Bunch, images that he took of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and other musicians, at clubs and during his world tours, and materials, such as his White House invitation, a full color poster advertising Tony Bennett at the London Palladium, newspaper and magazine interviews, and John’s own articles and published letters.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into five series: papers, negatives, photographs, oversize, and slides. The papers, negatives, and photographs are arranged alphabetically by folder title. The oversize series is arranged alphabetically by song title, with the folder containing a flyer at the end.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts from John and Chips Bunch

Separated Materials

Commercial audio recordings (separate list of recordings is available) Music fake books and folios (separate list is available) Unique audio recordings separated and identified as John Bunch Audio Recordings, JC.2015.04
Title
John Bunch Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid written by ESU faculty and staff
Date
April 2015
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Al Cohn Memorial Jazz Collection Repository

Contact:
East Stroudsburg University
200 Prospect Street
Kemp Library
East Stroudsburg PA 18301
570-422-3594