Honoring the importance of educating our next generation of jazz enthusiasts, this post on the colorful book Jazz A-B-Z — originally published on Jerry Jazz Musician in 2005 — is a reminder of this creative resource.[…] Continue reading »
The faraway trumpet’s trill drifted into the home we shared. The tune stirred the heavy air. It should have been spring weather, but a heatwave had taken over our parish. It made the air heavy and made us languid during the days.
Mama hummed along with the hand-me-down song while she worked, stirring the wash or cooking supper or mixing herbs. Her mama taught her to hear it, same as she taught me. It was as constant as the wind.
Mama’s gray strands peeked from beneath a dark blue kerchief, the majority braided then twirled in an age-thinned bun. She didn’t know how old she was. Best she could figure, she was
This saxophonist — described by Art Blakey as knowing more about the saxophone (technically) than anyone, including Charlie Parker — was a soloist in the bands of Don Redman and Lionel Hampton, was an influence on John Coltrane, and ultimately became a prolific R&B bandleader. Who was he?
Go to the next page for the answer!
Playing bottleneck guitar, an octogenarian.
His arthritic fingers coax a life’s history,
ring changes of love and loss,
sketch joy’s birth in pain,
the rhythm an invitation
[…] Continue reading »
I was playing my weekly gig at Café Reinhardt when Bella, one of the waitresses, whispered in my ear, “They want you out back.”
She had disturbed me from a zone. I had been through all of my arrangements and was improving on the chords to “Minor Swing.”
“They?” I asked.
She shrugged her shoulders. Straight to the point, no small talk, Bella was my kind of gal. In the second it took to place my guitar on my guitar stand a million thoughts circled around in my mind. Did Chad, the drummer, want to borrow money again? Had the musician’s union caught on to the fact I wasn’t paying my dues? Another one of the agent Jimmy’s scams? Groupies? Oh yeah, jazz musicians haven’t had groupies under the age of forty-five since the 1940s.
I stood up, and as Bella was strolling to a table near the front door, she said, “Take your guitar.”
Ah, nothing complicated just someone wanting to test out my chops before a gig. People can be peculiar when it comes to inviting musicians into their home. They want to meet you, form a relationship, and get the feel for