• This edition offers two accounts of the events surrounding Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk’s performance at the 1955 Newport Jazz Festival — a story that is, according to Thelonious Monk biographer Robin D.G. Kelley, “shrouded in myth.”

  • “You Blows What You Is” is the winning entry in our 41st Short Fiction Contest

     

  • Having just been released from serving a ten month drug related prison sentence at Terminal Island, the distinctive alto saxophonist Art Pepper re-entered the Los Angeles jazz scene in 1956 – still undeniably talented and hopelessly drug-addicted.

  • In this edition, Paul writes about the album cover art of Erik Nitsche, a pioneer of modern design

  • Great Encounters: Miles and Monk at Newport, 1955
  • "You Blows What You Is" -- a story by Ruth Knafo Setton
  • A Moment in Time: Art Pepper, Los Angeles, 1956
  • Cover Stories with Paul Morris, Vol. 17
tap Features » Book Excerpts

From What the Eye Hears — when the connection between jazz music and tap dancing became strained

I have been spending some time recently with an excellent new book, What the Eye Hears — A History of Tap Dancing. Written by New York Times dance critic Brian Seibert, the book — recently named a finalist for the National Book Critics Award in Nonfiction — is an informative, entertaining history of tap dancing, and a reminder of its central role in American popular culture. A particularly interesting part of its history is its relation to jazz music, especially in the vaudeville circuit and in the nightclubs of the early twentieth century.

Regarding this, Seibert wrote in an email to me: “Jazz and tap dancing grew up together. Both came, in W.C. Handy’s words, ‘down the same drain’ of minstrelsy, and origin stories for ragtime include the syncopated stepping of

[…] Continue reading »

louis1 Literature » Short Fiction

Short Fiction Contest-winning story #41 — “You Blows What You Is,” by Ruth Knafo Setton

The port of Casablanca was crammed with Vichy officers, soldiers, cops, thieves and criminals. Each night I slept behind sand dunes, and each morning, washed in the freezing sea and shook myself dry in the winter wind. My shirt and trousers were stiff with salt and stuck to my chest, arms and legs. I figured it would be easy to steal a sweater or coat, grab it off a café chair while its owner ate and drank. But each time I stuck my head inside a restaurant and started weaving between tables, the owner threatened to call the cops.

No cops, no officers, no father whipping me, never again. I’d lie low, steal what I needed, and owe no one a damned thing.

Ten days after I arrived in Casablanca, a shipload of

[…] Continue reading »

bird1 Quiz Show » Jazz History Quiz

Jazz History Quiz #83

This pioneer pianist of the bop era had short term associations with Benny Carter, Boyd Raeburn, Lester Young, and Charlie Parker, but led such a troubled life that he only recorded once between 1947 – 1971. Who is he?

Mel Powell

Jess Stacy

Joe Albany

Dodo Marmarosa

Lennie Tristano

Al Haig

Hampton Hawes

Phineas Newborn

Go to the next page for the answer!

[…] Continue reading »