About Us

Gallert and Bjorn have been friends for forty years. They give presentations on Detroit Jazz History. They are Jazz archeologists.



Lars Bjorn is a Professor Emeritus  of Sociology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the author of (with Jim Gallert) Before Motown: A History of Jazz in Detroit, 1920-60 (University of Michigan Press, 2001). He is also the Editor of the SEMJA Update, the monthly jazz newsletter of the Southeastern Michigan Jazz Association. SEMJA is dedicated to jazz education and organized jazz clinics at the Detroit Jazz Festival every year. In the late 1970s he was a board member of the Detroit Jazz Center and took part in publishing a “Detroit Jazz Who’s Who” with Herb Boyd and Leni Sinclair in 1984. He has also published articles on jazz in sociological research journals. At UM-D he taught courses on Detroit and on the auto industry. The team-taught Detroit course is called “Society and the Arts in Detroit” and takes a social-historical perspective on the changes in several art forms in the city.


Jim Gallert is a veteran jazz broadcaster, researcher and writer. He produced & hosted jazz programs for twenty-five years on WDET-FM (“Jazz Yesterday”, “Detroit Jazz Alive”) and WEMU-FM (“Swing City”). He co-hosted “Detroit JazzStage”, (www.jazzstage.us) a locally produced Podcast. Gallert has participated in all 41 Detroit Jazz Festivals as staff writer, emcee or host of “Meet The Artist” sessions which began in 1994 and evolved into the Jazz Talk Tent. He and Lars Bjorn produce and host presentations, panel discussions, interviews and music performances in the Talk Tent at the Detroit Jazz Festival every Labor Day in downtown Detroit. Jim has written numerous biographies of Detroit jazz musicians including Phil Lasley, Alma Smith, Todd Rhodes, George Benson and Willie Anderson. His features have appeared in “Detroit Metro Times,” national and international publications and have been used as CD liner notes. Much of his research, many photographs from his collection and some of his writing were included in Before Motown: A History of Jazz In Detroit, 1920– 1960 by Lars Bjorn with Jim Gallert.


3 thoughts on “About Us

  1. My Grandparents, Abe & Fannie Broad, owned The Club Zombie. Also, you have a photo of various musicians standing around a piano. The trumpet player is my uncle, Irv Lewis, who played with Woody Herman, Tommy Dorsey, Charlie Barnet, among others. Always looking for pics, stories, and anything else… Thanks!


  2. In your book, Before Motown, you mention that my grandfather, Creflo “Buffalo” Mims was very active in the club business. Ironically, I have picked up that bug and have owned and operated a few nightclubs in downtown Detroit. I never met my grandfather and I never knew that he was in the nightlife business until my father gave me a copy of your book. Thanks for capturing his contribution to the Detroit jazz scene.


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