Pat Patrick Collection Donated to Africana Studies Archive

  From the left: Bill Banfield, Krystal Banfield, and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick discuss photos of the governor's father in the Pat Patrick Collection
  Phil Farnsworth

In a recent donation to Berklee, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and his family honored the musical and cultural legacy of Laurdine Kenneth "Pat" Patrick, the governor's late father (1929-1991). A jazz saxophonist, composer, and arranger, Pat Patrick is best known for his 40-year association with jazz composer, band leader, musician, and philosopher Sun Ra. The Patrick family donated Pat Patrick's collection-comprising recordings, hundreds of scores, 2,000 photographs, personal correspondence, and more-to the Berklee Africana Studies Archive.

A dedication ceremony was held at the college's new Africana Studies Archive at 7 Haviland Street on March 24, and Governor Patrick, his sister Rhonda Sigh, and other family members were on hand for the event. Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Lawrence Simpson hosted the dedication and thanked the Patrick family for their gift. Krystal Banfield, director of the Berklee City Music Program, provided background on her early discussion with the Patrick family that culminated in bringing the collection to Berklee.

"When the boxes arrived, I knew right away that [the contents] would really benefit our students," Banfield said. "We are working to empower our young people to be informed 21st-century musicians . . . and look forward to building upon this."

President Roger H. Brown was also in attendance and praised the collection as a window for students into the real world. "The governor had a father who was really organized and saved everything, and this will be a resource for scholars for many generations to come," Brown noted, "The life and times of Pat Patrick, Sun Ra, and others Pat played with can give our students an opportunity to see behind the curtain. We sometimes get a sanitized view of the history of our music and culture. A study of the history of Pat Patrick will give a gritty, street-level view of what was really going on. Our students need that."

Professor Bill Banfield, the curator of the collection, also noted the potential for the collection to inspire Berklee students. "Pat Patrick is the kind of example of a musician that we want to continue to lift up, and we are so honored to have [his materials] here."

Governor Patrick thanked the Banfields and others at the college for their interest in the donation. "Never has the emptying of an attic been as appreciated as this," the governor said with a smile. "My father's first love was his music. As a child, candidly, I resented that. I didn't understand it, and I missed him as a father. As an adult, I have come to appreciate that his love of his music was the reason for the excellence of his music and that he sacrificed everything in pursuit of that first love. It means a lot to me that [his collection] is so appreciated here at Berklee."

Patrick accompanied the Sun Ra Arkestra on several international tours and appeared on many Sun Ra albums during his long association with the artist. For a time, Patrick lived in Ra's communal residences in New York's East Village and in Philadelphia. During the course of his career, Patrick also played with Mongo Santamaria, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk, among others. He was a founding member of the Baritone Saxophone Retinue and taught at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Old Westbury.

The Patrick Collection reveals the interaction of culture and history during a significant time in the development of jazz and race relations in America. The holdings include original scores, lead sheets, and arrangements by Patrick, Ellington, and Santamaria. An array of photographs and negatives reveals Patrick with his family, on tour, in the studio, and with Thelonious Monk, the Baritone Saxophone Retinue, and trumpeter Clark Terry. The personal materials include concert programs, royalty statements, family correspondence, and a notebook in which Patrick pondered sharing the realities of a jazzman's life with his SUNY students. The personal papers include a ledger book from El Saturn Records, Ra's label, in which Patrick tracked album sales between 1957 and 1959; a scrapbook chronicling his music jobs in Chicago during the 1950s; and an old recording of Patrick playing trumpet at age 10.

"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," Bill Banfield says. "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 collection will help deepen the educational experience of our students."