EventsAuthor Talk: Larry Tye - The Jazzmen: How Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie Transformed America

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Author Talk: Larry Tye - The Jazzmen: How Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie Transformed America

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Central Library in Copley Square


New York Times bestselling author Larry Tye discusses his 2024 nonfiction book, The Jazzmen: How Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie Transformed America.

As part of our "Revolutionary Music: Music for Social Change" programmatic theme, join us in-person or online for talk about a sweeping and spellbinding portrait of the longtime kings of jazz—Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie—who, born within a few years of one another, burst through racial barriers to become the most popular entertainers on the planet.

This program will happen in-person in the Rabb Lecture Hall and online over Zoom webinar. To attend in-person, please register via the "Registration Required" box on this event listing. We plan to open doors 15 minutes in advance of the program. If you register but are more than 10 minutes late, we unfortunately cannot guarantee a seat. To attend online over Zoom webinar, please register on this page.

There will be time for Q&A from both in-person and online audiences. After the main program ends at approximately 7 PM, there will be an author signing facilitated by local independent bookstore partner Trident Booksellers and Cafe. Online attendees will have a chance to order copies from another local independent bookstore partner (Porter Square Books) during the main program (6 - 7 PM).

About the book

The Jazzmen is the story of three revolutionary American musicians, the maestro jazzmen who orchestrated the chords that throb at the soul of twentieth-century America. Larry Tye paints a vivid and immersive portrait of the birth of jazz, highlighting the resilience of its trailblazers as they opened America’s ears and souls to the magnificence of their melodies. Each insisted he was a music maker first and last, when in reality all three were cultural and racial insurgents.

About the author

Larry Tye is the New York Times bestselling author of Bobby Kennedy and Satchel, as well as Demagogue, Superman, The Father of Spin, Home Lands, and Rising from the Rails, and coauthor, with Kitty Dukakis, of Shock. Previously an award-winning reporter at the Boston Globe and a Nieman fellow at Harvard University, he now runs the Boston-based Health Coverage Fellowship. He lives on Cape Cod.

This program is also part of the American Inspiration Series from American Ancestors/NEHGS and is produced in partnership with the GBH Forum Network.

Revolutionary Music: Music for Social Change” is a year-long overview of how music has spurred social change in the United States. It is the first in a series of three thematic years leading up to the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution. "Revolutionary Music" will use a combination of programs and examples from BPL's collections to celebrate music's rich history of catalyzing social change, acting as a powerful conduit for dissent, unity, awareness, and cultural influence. From spirituals to jazz, folk, reggae, punk, and hip-hop, various music genres have echoed societal shifts and served as a voice for some of the protests and movements that have changed the course of history. Through captivating performances and discussions, curated booklists and playlists, and thought-provoking displays, the BPL is set to explore and celebrate the transformative impact of music on social change throughout the year.

Accessibility Notice: We strive to make our events accessible. To request a disability accommodation and/or language services, please contact the Adult Programs Department at or 617-859-2129. Please allow at least two weeks to arrange for accommodations.

Programming like this is enabled through the generosity of a variety of public and private funding. To learn more and support our programming, visit the Boston Public Library Fund website.

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