• Online tributes to the great saxophonist from entertainers and journalists

  • Barnard’s story is the winner of our 39th Short Fiction Contest

  • What Queen Latifah left out of Bessie — the myth of Bessie Smith’s death

  • Reflections on meeting B.B. King

  • Surfing the Net -- Remembering Ornette Coleman
  • "The Lot" -- a short story by John Hyde Barnard
  • What Queen Latifah left out of Bessie
  • My B. B. King Story
miller Literature » Short Fiction

“Mystery in C Minor” — a short story by Bruce Golden

The winner of the November, 2006 Short Fiction Contest, Bruce Golden’s story looks at the mystery surrounding the death of Major Glenn Miller.

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January 30, 1946 — Allied Headquarters, Paris, France


“What is it, Captain? I’m very busy.”

“Sorry to disturb you, Colonel, but you said you wanted a report as soon as I completed my investigation.”

Colonel Washburn searched his desk muttering, “Yes, yes. I’ll read your report as soon as you’ve filed it.”

Captain Mercer didn’t move. He was hesitant to annoy his superior officer when the man was so obviously distracted by other concerns, but he was convinced it was necessary.

“Pardon me, sir, but I know the directive for this investigation came from the top, and I believe you should hear my findings before any official documents are filed.”

The colonel looked up at his subordinate for the first time. “What do you mean? What did your investigation reveal?”

“Well, sir . . . .” Captain Mercer hesitated. He’d rehearsed this, but now wasn’t certain where to begin.

“Come on, son, I don’t have all day. Major Miller’s plane went down somewhere over the Channel — correct?”

“Well yes . . . and no.” Mercer cringed at how it sounded.

“What do you mean yes and no? It can’t be both, Captain. What exactly did your investigation conclude?”

[…] Continue reading »

bbking3 Features » In Memoriam

My B.B. King story — An unforgettable experience with my son, but the end of a business dream

The passing of an artist the magnitude of B.B. King hits us all in some way. Mostly it is a loss of a revered and cherished entertainer. Who doesn’t have a memory associated with the guitar riff from “The Thrill is Gone,” or his humor-laced vocal on “Nobody Loves Me But My Mother” (“and she could be jivin’ too!”)? But since he performed live at least 200 times a year for two generations, many of us also have memories from seeing him in concert or having met him that makes his death feel slightly more personal.

No one can doubt what a great musician he was, and in the summer of 1995, my then-six-year-old son Peter and I had an unforgettable personal experience with him that also demonstrated […] Continue reading »

amp1 Uncategorized

Essentially Ellington, 2015

Congratulations to Portland’s American Music Program/Pacific Crest Jazz Orchestra, which recently won the prestigious “Essentially Ellington” high school jazz band competition. Led by Portland musician/educator Thara Memory – a local legend who is nationally recognized for being Esperanza Spalding’s former teacher – the band performed Duke Ellington’s “The Tattooed Bride” from memory on the Rose Theater stage at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

“There’s an emotional commitment to playing ‘Tattooed Bride’ from memory. No professional group does that,” Wynton Marsalis said of their peformance. “American Music Program wanted to play that for their band director, Thara Memory. They love him. They wanted him to […] Continue reading »

heron3 Features » Book Excerpts

Gil Scott-Heron and the influence of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme on his life

Yet more evidence demonstrating the influence John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme has had on musicians…This book excerpt from Marcus Baram’s excellent biography, Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces of a Man demonstrates how Coltrane’s legendary recording “inspired Gil with his mercurial independence in the face of criticism” at a time when the creative artist was contemplating his future as a novelist, poet, musician, and […] Continue reading »