In 2004, I had the privilege of interviewing Neil Lanctot, whose history of baseball’s Negro Leagues entitled Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution had just been published.
While preparing for the interview, the work of the noted Pittsburgh Courier photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris came to my attention. Among his many contributions to America’s archives are his photographs of the Negro Leagues, taken during the League’s pre-war and wartime era, mostly in Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field, where the Pittsburgh Crawfords played many of their games.
With baseball’s All Star Game scheduled for Tuesday evening in Minneapolis, it feels like a good time to revisit some baseball (and American) history, and there is no better way than to view some of Harris’ amazing work.
With grateful appreciation to Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art — who granted us permission to use these historic images — we present a photo gallery of rarely seen Harris photos, […] Continue reading »
Three times a year, we award a writer who submits, in our opinion, the best original, previously unpublished work.
Yvonne McBride of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is the winner of the thirty-sixth Jerry Jazz Musician New Short Fiction Award, announced and published for the first time on July 12, 2014.
Royal had studied her from the bandstand each and every night since their first gig. Such a little thing she was. Nicely curved, tightly packaged — but such a small little thing he had a notion she would break if even his fingertips glazed her. And he had tried. To touch her. Had been trying to get close to her for the past two and all night long. […] Continue reading »
In the late 1970′s, the great trumpeter Roy Eldridge wrote of his experience mentoring Dizzy Gillespie during the 1930′s.
“I was with my own band at the Savoy. And Dizzy, Charlie Shavers, Bama, Joe Guy, and another little cat that was bad, named Bobby Moore, all used to come around. They could play all the things that I had made better than I could, you know. But Dizzy had his thing going. I talked to him once down at Minton’s and he was asking me how I did certain things and I told him. And the one thing I appreciate about Diz, even though he used to play something like me, is that he went on and […] Continue reading »
This tenor saxophonist played with Hoagy Carmichael’s Teenagers, as well as Buddy Rich, Lennie Tristano (pictured), and Lee Konitz. He collapsed and died on stage at Los Angeles’ Donte’s club in 1987 while playing “Out of Nowhere.” Who is he?
Go to the next page or the answer! […] Continue reading »
James Lincoln Collier — a Louis Armstrong biographer who described listening to Armstrong’s 1935 – 1947 Decca recordings “one after another” as a “dispiriting experience” — has written a pretty dispiriting piece of his own. Published in the July, 2014 edition of the West View News (“The Voice of the West Village”), the op-ed, titled “N—-R in the White House” (full offensive word not edited out in the publication’s headline) is characterized by several major news sources as being “pro-Obama.” One of the claims Collier makes is that “The simple truth is that there is still in America an irreducible measure of racism,” and that “far right voters hate Obama because he is black.”
The piece will likely find some sympathetic readers, but the headline was offensive and unnecessary to the piece’s intent, and appears to have been utilized simply because, […] Continue reading »