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

"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)

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