A New Year’s message, and an invitation

January 1st, 2020




photo Creative Commons Zero – CC0



“If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for?”

—Alice Walker




Greetings, and Happy New Year, Folks:

…..Two things happen today.  We bring in a new year, and with it a new decade.

…..There is great hope for the decade.   We have to hold that long-term hope, right?

…..I fear, however, that this year is going to a doozy.  The political tactics and smears we are likely to witness could be so tawdry and undignified that even the most hardened and experienced political operatives will be challenged to defend or even comprehend them.   Those addicted to the scent of power will do and say whatever necessary to hold on to it, and the media will do what they do – provoke us enough to watch their programs and buy their advertiser’s products.

…..Amid all this likely acrimony, it will take substantial effort to conjure up hope.

…..At the outset of this political year I resolve to watch less cable television, stay away from the cancer of social media, and bury myself in art and history – more reading and more learning and more viewing art in the hopes that, as Alice Walker says, it will make me “better.”

…..Publishing this site allows me the opportunity to be exposed to lots of art and literature.  I receive so much excellent work from the community of writers who contribute to Jerry Jazz Musician that at times I am surrounded, literally, by poetry and fiction.  It is incredibly rewarding and gratifying.  But, I would love to read more and to learn more from this growing artistic community.

…..With that, I invite writers and artists to submit your poetry, fiction, personal stories, art, photography and film for consideration of publication on Jerry Jazz Musician.  An immediate opportunity is participating in the 53rd Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest (details here).  Another is to have your poetry considered for inclusion in an upcoming Spring collection of poetry, to be published in February.  (Click here to read the Fall collection).  Ongoing opportunities abound, and submissions are considered throughout the year.  Details and submission guidelines can be found by clicking here.

…..The good news about provocative, unsettling times is that the art world tends to respond with creative fervor.  I hope this website can play a role in your desire to share your own creativity with others.

Best wishes for good health and happiness in the year (and decade) ahead.

Joe Maita


Jerry Jazz Musician



Bill Evans plays “You’re Gonna Hear From Me”





Share this:

One comments on “A New Year’s message, and an invitation”

  1. Hi Joe: To you, and a very heartfelt article. I find it, very, very sad no one else said something.
    I believe, art is all: jazz is all. Art and literature and jazz make the world survive. These are the hidden truths, over the decades and the senselessness of politics. If you cannot respond because of politics, you are, and jazz and music, and art are dead, to you.
    It took me awhile to write, I was concerned, of being judged. I have no politics, if I think like, you
    have the answer. Jazz and all the arts, have a beauty, out of all of time. They are special
    for the special people that know this. As my minister friend says to me, blessing to all of us,
    blessing for jazz and music to you…… Heartfelt, to you Joe, Alan

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In This Issue

"Nina" by Marsha Hammel
A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Winter, 2024 Edition...One-third of the Winter, 2024 collection of jazz poetry is made up of poets who have only come to my attention since the publication of the Summer, 2023 collection. What this says about jazz music and jazz poetry – and this community – is that the connection between the two art forms is inspirational and enduring, and that poets are finding a place for their voice within the pages of this website. (Featuring the art of Marsha Hammel)

The Sunday Poem

photo by Mel Levine/pinelife, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Lady Day and Prez” by Henry Wolstat

Click here to read previous editions of The Sunday Poem


Proceeding From Behind: A collection of poems grounded in the rhythmic, relating to the remarkable, by Terrance Underwood...A relaxed, familiar comfort emerges from the poet Terrance Underwood’s language of intellectual acuity, wit, and space – a feeling similar to one gets while listening to Monk, or Jamal, or Miles. I have long wanted to share his gifts as a poet on an expanded platform, and this 33-poem collection – woven among his audio readings, music he considers significant to his story, and brief personal comments – fulfills my desire to do so.

Publisher’s Notes

photo by Rhonda Dorsett
A very brief three-dot update…Where I’ve been, and an update on what is coming up on Jerry Jazz Musician


Photographer uncredited, but the photo was almost certainly taken by Chuck Stewart. Published by ABC/Impulse! Records.. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“And I’m Not Even Here” – a poem by Connie Johnson

Click here to read more poetry published on Jerry Jazz Musician


"Lester Leaps In" by Tad Richards
"Jazz and American Poetry," an essay by Tad Richards...In an essay that first appeared in the Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poetry in 2005, Tad Richards - a prolific visual artist, poet, novelist, and nonfiction writer who has been active for over four decades – writes about the history of the connection of jazz and American poetry.


photo of Pepper Adams/courtesy of Pepper Adams Estate
Interview with Gary Carner, author of Pepper Adams: Saxophone Trailblazer...The author speaks with Bob Hecht about his book and his decades-long dedication to the genius of Pepper Adams, the stellar baritone saxophonist whose hard-swinging bebop style inspired many of the top-tier modern baritone players.

Click here to read more interviews published on Jerry Jazz Musician


Three poets and Sketches of Spain


IISG, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Interview with Judith Tick, author of Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The Jazz Singer Who Transformed American Song...The author discusses her book, a rich, emotionally stirring, exceptional work that explores every element of Ella’s legacy in great depth, reminding readers that she was not only a great singing artist, but also a musical visionary and social activist.

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole is an occasional series of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film. This edition is influenced by Stillpoint, the 2021 album by Zen practitioner Barrett Martin


Jason Innocent, on “3”, Abdullah Ibrahim’s latest album... Album reviews are rarely published on Jerry Jazz Musician, but Jason Innocent’s experience with the pianist Abdullah Ibrahim’s new recording captures the essence of this artist’s creative brilliance.

Short Fiction

Christerajet, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #64 — “The Old Casino” by J.B. Marlow...The author's award-winning story takes place over the course of a young man's life, looking at all the women he's loved and how the presence of a derelict building informs those relationships.

Click here to read more short fiction published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Book Excerpt

Book excerpt from Jazz with a Beat: Small Group Swing 1940 – 1960, by Tad Richards

Click here to read more book excerpts published on Jerry Jazz Musician


"Jazz Trio" by Samuel Dixon
A collection of jazz haiku, Vol. 2...The 19 poets included in this collection effectively share their reverence for jazz music and its culture with passion and brevity.

Jazz History Quiz #171

Dick Cavett/via Wikimedia Commons
In addition to being one of the greatest musicians of his generation, this Ohio native was an activist, leading “Jazz and People’s Movement,” a group formed in the late 1960’s who “adopted the tactic of interrupting tapings and broadcasts of television and radio programs (i.e. the shows of Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett [pictured] and Merv Griffin) in protest of the small number of Black musicians employed by networks and recording studios.” Who was he?

Click here to visit the Jazz History Quiz archive


photo via Picryl.com
.“Community Bookshelf, #2"...a twice-yearly space where writers who have been published on Jerry Jazz Musician can share news about their recently authored books. This edition includes information about books published within the last six months or so…

Contributing Writers

Click the image to view the writers, poets and artists whose work has been published on Jerry Jazz Musician, and find links to their work

Coming Soon

An interview with Tad Richards, author of Jazz With a Beat: Small Group Swing, 1940 - 1960;  an interview with Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz, authors of But Will You Love Me Tomorrow? An Oral History of the 60's Girl Groups;  a new collection of jazz poetry; a collection of jazz haiku; a new Jazz History Quiz; short fiction; poetry; photography; interviews; playlists; and lots more in the works...

Interview Archive

Eubie Blake
Click to view the complete 22 year archive of Jerry Jazz Musician interviews, including those recently published with Richard Carlin and Ken Bloom on Eubie Blake (pictured); Richard Brent Turner on jazz and Islam; Alyn Shipton on the art of jazz; Shawn Levy on the original queens of standup comedy; Travis Atria on the expatriate trumpeter Arthur Briggs; Kitt Shapiro on her life with her mother, Eartha Kitt; Will Friedwald on Nat King Cole; Wayne Enstice on the drummer Dottie Dodgion; the drummer Joe La Barbera on Bill Evans; Philip Clark on Dave Brubeck; Nicholas Buccola on James Baldwin and William F. Buckley; Ricky Riccardi on Louis Armstrong; Dan Morgenstern and Christian Sands on Erroll Garner; Maria Golia on Ornette Coleman.

Site Archive