• In honor of the great American journalist Nat Hentoff — who died January 7 at age 91 — I am publishing a 2005 interview I conducted with him as he turned 80.

  • At the abandoned jazz club,
    where I once debuted,
    only spiders and rodents
    reside behind the acoustical panels
    that once resonated my dreams.
    I see my distorted image

     

     

  • Short Fiction writer Arya Jenkins contributes her 10th story written exclusively for Jerry Jazz Musician…

  • “Great Encounters” are book excerpts that chronicle famous encounters among twentieth-century cultural icons. This edition describes the time Ella Fitzgerald chose to pass on an opportunity to meet Pablo Picasso.

  • "Civil Liberties and Jazz" -- a conversation with Nat Hentoff
  • "Rich at 100" -- a poem by Michael Keshigian
  • "Like a Pigeon in the Park" a story by Arya Jenkins
  • Great Encounters #47: When Ella chose not to meet Picasso
Art

Cover Stories with Paul Morris, Vol. 7

Paul Morris is a graphic designer and writer who collects album art of the 1940’s and 1950’s. He finds his examples of influential mid-century design in the used record stores of Portland, Oregon.

This edition features Alex Steinweiss album covers from his prime period — the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.

[…] Continue reading »

Features » A Moment in Time

A Moment in Time: Miles Davis and Horace Silver, 1954

From his autobiography, Miles Davis recalls his experience meeting and playing with the recently deceased pianist Horace Silver in 1954, a point in time following Miles kicking heroin.  Silver played on Rudy Van Gelder-engineered recording sessions with Miles at the time of this Alfred Lion photograph that were released on Miles Davis Volume 3 for Blue Note, and Miles Davis Quartet for Prestige.

_____

The scene in New York had changed since I’d been gone. The MJQ — Modern Jazz Quartet — was big on the music scene then; the kind of “cool” chamber jazz thing they were doing was getting over big. People were still talking about Chet Baker and Lennie Tristano and George Shearing, all that stuff that came out of Birth of the Cool. Dizzy was still playing great as ever, but Bird was […] Continue reading »

Interviews

Interview with saxophonist Kevin Flanagan on the convergence of poetry and jazz

The convergence of poetry and jazz has long been a part of the counterculture, and it has always interested me. An early interview I did for Jerry Jazz Musician was with David Amram, once known as Jack Kerouac’s musical collaborator. In the interview he talked about Kerouac’s love of music, telling me that “he had an enormous memory for music and for jazz and the classics. He could sing the melodies from different Haydn and Beethoven string quartets. He was like an encyclopedia of music and classic literature from Europe. He also had an enormous knowledge of Buddhism. He had a tremendous knowledge of Judaism, as well as the writings from the Old and New Testaments as well as from the Mass. He had this knowledge of so many different things. When he was reading, I would submerge myself into whatever it was he was reading, and I tried to anticipate what would happen next.”

     So, the collaboration of words and music is fascinating, and has deep and intellectual roots. It was the basis for my interest in an email I received a while ago from reed player Kevin Flanagan who, like Kerouac, is a Lowell, Massachusetts native. Flanagan’s Riprap Quartet recordings, he informed me, “feature compositions by the band setting the works of Pulitzer Prize winning-poet Gary Snyder” and is […] Continue reading »

Quiz Show

Monday Jazz Quiz #44

Virtually all recordings of this influential trumpet player are available, but the only known film footage of him is in a 1955 appearance on the Soupy Sales variety show, which was one year before his death. Who is he?

Booker Little

Clifford Brown

Donald Byrd

Lee Morgan

Freddie Hubbard

Art Farmer

Roy Eldridge

Fats Navarro

[…] Continue reading »

Literature

“LESTER YOUNG” — a poem by Ted Joans

Sometimes he was cool like an eternal
blue flame burning in the old Kansas
City nunnery
Sometimes he was happy ’til he’d think
about his birth place and its blood
stained clay hills and crow-filled trees
Most times he was blowin’ on the wonderful
tenor sax of his, preachin’ in very cool
[…] Continue reading »