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Rare Jazz Concert and Movie Posters on Display in NYC Exhibit

Caldonia, at the SALON94 Gallery through March 26, presents highlights from the collection of Ralph DeLuca and roams from swing to bop and beyond

A triple bill at Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom featuring Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, and Macbeth the Great with his Creole Rhythm Boys. The only movie that features Billie Holiday and Count Basie together. The first piece of printed promotional material to mention the name Ella Fitzgerald. From Friday, March 11 to Saturday, March 26, the SALON94 gallery in New York City will present an extraordinary exhibit that takes in all of the above and much more. Titled Caldonia: Concert and Film Posters from the Collection of Ralph DeLuca, it contains an array of posters from the 1920s through the 1960s, all of them related to various styles of Black American music, including jazz, and most of them printed for use on the vaunted “Chitlin’ Circuit” of those decades.

The great majority of the items on display are exceedingly rare; in some cases—like that of a 1948 poster advertising the film Killer Diller, starring the King Cole Trio—they are the only known extant copies. In a statement for the exhibit catalog, their owner writes, “Building this collection has taken over 20 years, and was a true labor of love; sifting through thousands of in-person and online auctions, flea markets, placing ads throughout the country, and in the case of the music posters tracking down the old printers who pressed the posters, and finally the concert promoters and their families from town to town. There is no other collection in private hands that focuses on the rare and important Black music and film posters pre-1970.”

Below are 10 outstanding examples of what Caldonia has on offer. SALON94 is located at 3 East 89th Street on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For further information, visit the gallery’s website.

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