A Letter From the Publisher — A brief year-end note

December 29th, 2021

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photo  Creative Commons Zero – CC0

photo Creative Commons Zero – CC0

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…..2021 was an unsettling year for many of us. The continuing issue of COVID and the accompanying political, cultural and economic upheaval has impacted the world collectively, often causing significant individual hardship and enduring suffering. Countless people are contracting the virus and many are dying from it. There is perpetual and understandable angst about being exposed to it. Jobs and livelihoods are lost or altered, leading many to recalculate otherwise settled career and life paths, often uprooting families and friendships.  I wasn’t untouched – 2021 has been a year marked by great personal challenge, loss, and sadness.

…..But 2021 was also a year for new opportunity and hope. There are examples galore to hang our hopes for the future on. People once again congregated – many even safely. New entrepreneurial and employment models are in motion. Long-awaited investment in the nation’s infrastructure was approved by both sides of the political aisle, and the resulting work will soon be evident.

…..And while my year has been challenging, publishing this website is a constantly rich endeavor that offers me the experience of encountering the spirit of artists and writers who find inspiration for their work in the cultural history – and contemporary inventiveness – of jazz music. My intention is to carry on until I can’t…

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…..The list of historic jazz musicians and writers lost during 2021 is a lengthy one. Chick Corea. Curtis Fuller. Pat Martino. Barry Harris. Slide Hampton. Phil Schaap. Dr. Lonnie Smith. Greg Tate. George Wein. So many more, I’m sure. During the year, several poets submitted work reflecting their reverence for a passing artist. I offer up one example, “My Friend Dave,” a remembrance of the unique composer and pianist Dave Frishberg by the poet and musician Arlene Corwin:

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My Friend Dave

Just found out!
Must sound it out and rave about
My dear friend Dave
Who passed away too, too,
Too soon, his tunes no longer to be written,
Sung or played this side of heaven.
David Frishberg, eighty-eight,
“Peel Me a Grape”, “Oklahoma Toad”,
Loads & loads…
You’d love them, everybody does.
I’m so sad, so
hence this ode:
IQ sky high –
Did he know he had genius?
Maybe. Certainly.
Ironic lyrics – oh, so keen.
Great pianist, voice key clean.
How I wish you could have seen him:
Entertaining, quite hilarious:
All the signs of jazz’s genus.
Now he’s gone.
Remember him!
His ‘Swan Song’ sung.
Look for his songs!
Memorize or sing along.
Listen to his harmonies,
Voicings, melodies
Which written, never really meant to please,
But sung and played with funny ease;
Freeze Frishberg unto ears and learn!
You won’t regret what ears have heard
Or eyes have seen.

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…..At times I get asked the question, “How can I help you with the website?” It’s a query I appreciate, and this coming year resolve to answer with a deeper consideration. For now, I am especially in need of someone willing to share their website developing skills, and in particular an understanding of effective search engine optimization (SEO). Know someone? If so, please send me a note. I also expect more creative opportunities for writers and artists in 2022, and am even contemplating the possibility of hosting Zoom sessions for this community of writers. Your thoughts on this are appreciated.

…..Meanwhile, I close this post with an appreciation for those who contribute their work to Jerry Jazz Musician, and gratitude to the readers who consume it. I hope it touched you in some meaningful way in 2021, and that this website will contribute to a spirit of optimism for 2022.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year…

Joe Maita

Editor/Publisher

 

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Listen to the 1983 recording of Dave Frishberg performing his composition (with Johnny Mandel) “You Are There”

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“Better Days Ahead” is a song performed by John Pizzarelli, from a 2021 album of the guitarist’s interpretations of Pat Metheny compositions.  

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Brooklyn-born Arlene Corwin is age 85, and is a harpist, pianist and singer – a jazz musician forever. She earned her BA at Hofstra Univ. She has published 19 poetry books. In the 1950s her mother owned a jazz club in Hempstead, Long Island with Slim Gaillard. She currently lives in Sweden.

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In This Issue

painting of Clifford Brown by Paul Lovering
A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Spring/Summer, 2024 Edition...In this, the 17th major collection of jazz poetry published on Jerry Jazz Musician, 50 poets from all over the world again demonstrate the ongoing influence the music and its associated culture has on their creative lives.

(featuring the art of Paul Lovering)

Publisher’s Notes

photo by Rhonda Dorsett
On turning 70, and contemplating the future of Jerry Jazz Musician...

The Sunday Poem

Painting of Thelonious Monk by Martel Chapman
“Ten-Suite Epistrophies and Improvisations: for T. Monk” by Bill Siegel...

Click here to read previous editions of The Sunday Poem

Poetry

“Revival” © Kent Ambler.
If You Want to Go to Heaven, Follow a Songbird – Mary K O’Melveny’s album of poetry and music...While consuming Mary K O’Melveny’s remarkable work in this digital album of poetry, readings and music, readers will discover that she is moved by the mastery of legendary musicians, the wings of a monarch butterfly, the climate and political crisis, the mysteries of space exploration, and by the freedom of jazz music that can lead to what she calls “the magic of the unknown.” (with art by Kent Ambler)

Interview

The Marvelettes/via Wikimedia Commons
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...Little is known of the lives and challenges many of the young Black women who made up the Girl Groups of the ‘60’s faced while performing during an era rife with racism, sexism, and music industry corruption. The authors discuss their book’s mission to provide the artists an opportunity to voice their experiences so crucial to the evolution of popular music.

Book Excerpt

An excerpt from Emily Jon Tobias’ MONARCH: Stories, and a reflection on our friendship

In Memoriam

photo via Wikimedia Commons
A few words about Willie Mays...Thoughts about the impact Willie Mays had on baseball, and on my life.

Poetry

photo of Earl Hines by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Pianists and Poets – 13 poems devoted to the keys...From “Fatha” Hines to Brad Mehldau, poets open themselves up to their experiences with and reverence for great jazz pianists

Art

photo of Archie Shepp by Giovanni Piesco
The Photographs of Giovanni Piesco: Archie Shepp...photos of the legendary saxophonist (and his rhythm section for the evening), taken at Amsterdam's Bimhuis on May 13, 2001.

Poetry

CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
“On Coltrane: 4th of July Reflections” – a poem by Connie Johnson

Click here to read more poetry published in Jerry Jazz Musician

Calling All Poets!

News about a Jerry Jazz Musician printed jazz poetry anthology, and information about submitting your poetry for consideration

Short Fiction

pickpik.com
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #65 — “Ballad” by Lúcia Leão...The author’s award-winning story is about the power of connections – between father and child, music and art, and the past, present and future.

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

Interview

photo of Louis Jordan by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Interview with Tad Richards, author of Jazz With a Beat: Small Group Swing, 1940 – 1960...Richards makes the case that small group swing players like Illinois Jacquet, Louis Jordan (pictured) and Big Jay McNeely played a legitimate jazz that was a more pleasing listening experience to the Black community than the bebop of Parker, Dizzy, and Monk. It is a fascinating era, filled with major figures and events, and centered on a rigorous debate that continues to this day – is small group swing “real jazz?”

Playlist

photo of Coleman Hawkins by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
“The Naked Jazz Musician” – A playlist by Bob Hecht...As Sonny Rollins has said, “Jazz is about taking risks, pushing boundaries, and challenging the status quo.” Could there be anything riskier—or more boundary-pushing—than to stand naked and perform with nowhere to hide? Bob’s extensive playlist is comprised of such perilous undertakings by an array of notable woodwind and brass masters who have had the confidence and courage (some might say even the exhibitionism) to expose themselves so completely by playing….alone.

Feature

Excerpts from David Rife’s Jazz Fiction: Take Two – Vol. 3: “Louis Armstrong”...A substantial number of novels and stories with jazz music as a component of the story have been published over the years, and the scholar David J. Rife has written short essay/reviews of them. In this third edition featuring excerpts from his book, Rife writes about four novels/short fiction that include stories involving Louis Armstrong.

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

The cover of Wayne Shorter's 2018 Blue Note album "Emanon"
Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 20: “Notes on Genius...This edition of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film is written in response to the music of Wayne Shorter.

Click here to read previous editions of Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

In Memoriam

Hans Bernhard (Schnobby), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Remembering Joe Pass: Versatile Jazz Guitar Virtuoso” – by Kenneth Parsons...On the 30th anniversary of the guitarist Joe Pass’ death, Kenneth Parsons reminds readers of his brilliant career

Book Excerpt

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

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Jazz History Quiz #172

photo of Teddy Wilson by William Gottlieb
Teddy Wilson once said this about a fellow jazz pianist:

“That man had the most phenomenal musical gifts I’ve ever heard. He was miraculous. It’s like someone hitting a home run every time he picks up a bat. We became such fast friends that I was allowed to interrupt him anytime he was playing at the house parties in Toledo we used to make every night. When I asked him, he would stop and replay a passage very slowly, showing me the fingering on some of those runs of his. You just couldn’t figure them out by ear at the tempo he played them.”

Who is the pianist he is describing?

Community

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.“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 Larry Tye, author of The Jazzmen: How Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie Transformed America; an interview with James Kaplan, author of 3 Shades of Blue: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and the Lost Empire of Cool; 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

Ella Fitzgerald/IISG, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Click to view the complete 25-year archive of Jerry Jazz Musician interviews, including those recently published with Judith Tick on Ella Fitzgerald (pictured),; Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz on the Girl Groups of the 60's; Tad Richards on Small Group Swing; Stephanie Stein Crease on Chick Webb; Brent Hayes Edwards on Henry Threadgill; Richard Koloda on Albert Ayler; Glenn Mott on Stanley Crouch; Richard Carlin and Ken Bloom on Eubie Blake; 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.

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