|Sad to report the passing of Dr. Donald R. Hill who was a regular attendee of our annual Jazz Record Bash.
ONEONTA – Dr. Donald R. Hill, 79, passed away Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, with his family by his side at Albany Medical Center.
A full obituary will follow.
Dr. Donald R. Hill, Professor of Anthropology and Chair, Africana/Latino Studies at SUCO, received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Indiana University (1973). He has been a Curator of Education at the American Museum of Natural History (1973-1975) and an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at City University of New York – Hunter College (1975 – 1978). Dr. Hill has taught courses in cultural anthropology, folklore, and ethnomusicology for over 27 years.
Dr. Hill is an authority on the ethnography and ethnomusicology of the Caribbean and has published two books, and many scholarly articles, photographs, field records, notes for commercial recordings, reviews, encyclopedia entries and magazine articles. His most noted academic publications are Calypso Calaloo: Early Trinidadian Carnival Music (University Press of Florida, 1993, winner of the 1994 Chicago Folklore Prize from the University of Chicago); The Impact of Migration on the Metropolitan and Folk Society of Carriacou, Grenada (American Museum of Natural History, 1977); and "Peter Was A Fisherman: The 1939 Trinidad Field Recordings of Melville and Frances Herskovits, Vol. 1" (producer CD and co-author of booklet, Rounder Records 1114, Cambridge, MA, 1998). He is co-author of "'Play Mas' in Brooklyn" (Natural History, August 1979) and author of "Trinidad Pan" (Natural History, Feb. 1995). Dr. Hill has created an archive and computer data base of 18,000 commercial recordings and has deposited hundred of hours of his own ethnomusicological recordings at the Indiana University Archive of Traditional Music.
"When people ask me what I play, I tell them the tape recorder," Donald R. Hill says by way of explaining his musical ability. As an undergraduate at Pomona College in the late fifties, he sometimes spent less time in the classroom than on the road recording country music, blues, and jazz. After a year in Korea as an Army linguist, Hill went on to earn degrees in anthropology and folklore from San Francisco State and Indiana Universities. Since 1978, he has been a professor of anthropology and Africana and Latino Studies at the State University of New York College at Oneonta. Earlier, he did a three-year stint in the Education Department of the American Museum of Natural History, running its minority curatorial training program. "About twenty-five graduated before it folded, and many went on to become important in the museum world," he says proudly. When Hill isn't teaching, he dips into his collection of seventeen thousand 78-RPM records and works on such projects as making a CD of early steel band music and editing his great-grandmother's diaries.