Recently Consuella Askew and Wayne Winborne sent around a note announcing that our colleague Ed Berger passed away suddenly and quite unexpectedly in January. Ed was a wonderful photographer and spent many hours documenting the spaces and faces of Dana Library and the Institute of Jazz Studies. Many of his photographs are posted on his Flickr site. Here, we take a moment to turn the camera back toward the photographer and offer a glimpse into his time and the people who he called colleagues and friends at the Institute of Jazz Studies.
Ed played a vital role in the growth and development of the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies where he filled a number of positions for nearly four decades. He was also an award-winning jazz writer and accomplished photographer, teacher, producer, and road manager.
A graduate of Indiana University with an M.L.S. from Rutgers, his most recent book was Softly, With Feeling: Joe Wilder and the Breaking of Barriers in American Music (Temple University Press, 2014), which received the Association for Recorded Sound Collections’ Award for Best Historical Research in Recorded Jazz in 2015. He was a frequent contributor to Jazz Times as writer and photographer and for many years served as co-editor of the Journal of Jazz Studies.
Berger taught at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Swing University, and from 1979 to 2014 was co-host of Jazz from the Archives on WBGO-FM. He enjoyed a long association with jazz master Benny Carter, serving as Carter’s road manager for nearly two decades, as well as producing two Grammy-winning recordings for the saxophonist. Berger’s other publications include Free Verse and Photos in the Key of Jazz (2015, with Gloria Krolak); Benny Carter: A Life in American Music (2002, with Morroe Berger and James Patrick); Basically Speaking: An Oral History of George Duvivier (1993); and Reminiscing in Tempo: The Life and Times of a Jazz Hustler (1990, with Teddy Reig).
He was a beloved friend, colleague, mentor, raconteur, and a true lover of jazz and jazz musicians. His loss is devastating to all of us at the IJS and to the broader jazz community across the globe.
A public celebration of Ed’s life is being planned and will be announced at a later date.