Massachusetts Governor Donates Musician Father's Archive

By 
Allen Bush
March 8, 2010
The historic collection of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's father, jazz musician Laurdine Kenneth “Pat" Patrick, will reside in the Africana Studies Archive after a ceremony in March.
Photo courtesy of the Pat Patrick Archive

Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick is honoring his late father's musical and cultural legacy by donating the vast collection of jazz musician, composer, and arranger Laurdine Kenneth "Pat" Patrick to Berklee College of Music's Africana Studies archive. The historical Pat Patrick Collection comprises hundreds of scores, photographs, personal materials, and recordings.

A dedication ceremony and celebration of Pat Patrick’s life and work will be held on March 24 at the college’s Africana Studies archive. Governor Patrick; Berklee president Roger H. Brown; Bill Banfield, director of Africana Studies; Krystal Banfield, director of Berklee City Music; and poet Amiri Baraka, Pat’s closest friend, will make remarks. Berklee students and faculty will perform music written or recorded by Patrick.

Pat Patrick (November 23, 1929–December 31, 1991) was best known for his 40-year association with jazz composer, bandleader, musician, and philosopher Sun Ra. He accompanied the Sun Ra Arkestra on several overseas tours, and appeared on a number of albums. For a time, he lived in Ra's communal residences in New York's East Village and in Philadelphia. Patrick also played with Mongo Santamaria, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk, among others. He was a founding member of Baritone Saxophone Retinue. An educator, he taught at State University of New York—Old Westbury.

The Patrick Collection is like a time capsule showing the interaction of culture and history during a significant time in jazz. The insights it offers are enormous. There are original scores, lead sheets, and arrangements by Patrick, Ellington, and Santamaria. Hundreds of photographs and negatives show Patrick on tour, in the studio, with his family, and with associates like Monk, the Baritone Saxophone Retinue, and Clark Terry. Personal material consists of concert programs, royalty statements, family correspondence, and a notebook in which he ponders sharing the realities of a jazz man's life with his SUNY students.

The collection has immense historic and research significance for scholars, music theorists, educators, and artists. Performers will be able to play the scores. Many of the personal papers tell the stories of both jazz and Patrick. Included is ledger book from El Saturn Records, Ra's label, in which Patrick tracked album sales from 1957–59; a scrapbook of his music jobs in Chicago during the 1950s; and a recording of Patrick playing trumpet at the age of 10. Original articles display his militant opinions and give insight into his ideas and philosophies.

"In Africana Studies we teach our students to focus on many aspects and layers of cultural criticism, and to read deeply into history and art" said director Bill Banfield. "We want to fill the archive with resources that reflect the richness and value of great works, be they music, art, texts, or visuals. The Pat Patrick archives help deepen this kind of educational experience for our students."