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On the web since 1999

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About

About Jerry Jazz Musician

 

Founded and published in Portland, Oregon since 1997, Jerry Jazz Musician is a non-commercial site whose mission is to explore the culture of America with, as noted jazz critic Nat Hentoff wrote, “jazz as the centerpiece.”

We focus on publishing content geared toward readers with interests in jazz music, its rich history, and the culture it influenced – and was influenced by.

We regularly publish original interviews, poetry, literature, and art, and encourage our readers to share their own perspectives.  Information about how to do so is provided further down this page.

Praise for Jerry Jazz Musician

Nominated by the Jazz Journalists Association for “Best Website Concentrating on Jazz,” 2006 and 2007 

 

“Of the jazz websites I visit, the most far-ranging – and therefore, most often surprising – is Jerry Jazz Musician…The site encompasses what could be called American civilization with jazz as the centerpiece.” 

– journalist Nat Hentoff

 

“Your site is a wonder.”

– author Greil Marcus

 

“It’s a tremendous site, full of surprise and information.”

– critic and author Gary Giddins

 

“You do an astonishing job with these materials.  More power to you – and many thanks for picking me to receive the full JJM treatment!”

– Jack Johnson biographer Geoffrey Ward

 

“First time visiting your site, to read the [Pulitzer Prize-winning author] Diane McWhorter interview, which was so good.  The way the graphics and links are tied in is really wonderful, and the interview was serious.  Your site is a hip experience.”

– author Tom Piazza

 

“There is a much richer level of thought in your magazine than what one encounters in any other American magazine – the most ambitious and the most remarkable jazz magazine I have ever seen.  What a sweep!  What you are doing for American culture is so unique and so well considered, all the rest of us can do is observe it with awe.”

– critic Stanley Crouch

 

The origins of “Jerry Jazz Musician”

The origins of the character “Jerry Jazz Musician” came out of a Woody Allen stand-up routine from the 1960’s called “Unhappy Childhood.”   During the routine, Allen jokes about riding the subway to his clarinet lesson, dressed  “Jerry Jazz Musician style.” The description conjured up images of someone who is hip – a guy who “made the scene.”

This image became inspiration for creating a fictional character who embodies all the qualities of the mid-century urbanite – stylish, well read, loves music, sports and culture, and hangs out in night clubs, record and book stores, and travels around the world.

In 1997, a logo was developed, and two years later, the site was launched as part catalog, part magazine.  The magazine portion of the all non-commercial site continues to be published.

Woody Allen’s reference to “Jerry Jazz Musician” in “Unhappy Childhood” can be heard at the 1:10 mark.

 

Founder, Editor and Publisher:

Joe Maita

Joe Maita

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area listening to the sounds of my father practicing his trumpet and viola in the basement of our suburban home.  While our house consisted mostly of the sounds of Montovani and Al Hirt, thankfully Ellington and Basie recordings were also at my disposal (as were the Beatles, Creedence, Stones, the Who, Santana, the Doors, and all the rock gods of the era).

My life changed upon hearing Kind of Blue for the first time (at age 14).  I subsequently spent most of my time (and paychecks) in the record stores of Berkeley and San Francisco, chasing down the recorded lives of everyone from Armstrong to Ornette — a quest that continues to this day.

I wanted to be a writer, but in 1978 I moved to Portland where I started a career in the record business, at first stocking record warehouse shelves with LP and 8-track recordings by the Bee Gees, Peter Frampton, and Billy Joel (not the hip existence I was expecting), and then gaining access to the company’s front office via sales, promotion, marketing and various management positions, which included selling records to some of the coolest record stores in the western U.S.

I have since been a veteran of the record and entertainment software business for 40 years (retired in 2017), and am also Past President of PDX Jazz, the presenting organization of the Portland (Oregon) Jazz Festival.  While there I created “Jazz in the Schools,” a K-12 education program that each year teaches thousands of Portland Metro-area students about jazz music’s most important contributors, past and present, and its connection to visual art.

I started Jerry Jazz Musician as a way to communicate my passion for the culture of jazz, and for the associated history it altered and inspired.  I hope you enjoy…

 

Jerry Jazz Musician regularly publishes work by contributing artists, and encourages you to consider submitting work for consideration.  The following addresses general questions about how to submit and terms/conditions.

What we seek to publish:

Any creative offerings are considered for publication, including original poetry, short fiction, memoirs, criticism, essays, nonfiction, interviews, fine art, short films, and photographs.  Ideally your submission will appeal to readers who have an interest in jazz music and related culture.

While we don’t wish to restrict your submissions, basic guidelines are as follows:

Short fiction, nonfiction, essays, etc. – no more than 5,000 words, please

Short fiction can be entered into our Short Fiction Contest, which is held three times every year. Details on how to submit your story can be found here

Poetry – submit three to five at a time

Fine art and photography – send samples via JPG attachment or provide a link to your work

Multimedia – before submitting, explain your work in an email (you will be requested to send your file after that).  Please limit your submissions to up to ten minutes.

Simultaneous submissions are accepted.  If your submission is accepted elsewhere while being considered by Jerry Jazz Musician, please inform us.

Submit your work via email (with PDF or Word document attached) by clicking here.  Please submit a short biography (two sentences for starters) with your work.  Once submitted you will be contacted within a reasonable amount of time that it has been received.

Publishing terms and conditions

The artist retains complete copyright of published submission.

 

When you agree to these terms and allow your work to be published on Jerry Jazz Musician (www.jerryjazzmusician.com), you extend your rights on a worldwide basis (the breadth of the Internet).

 

Once your work has been published on Jerry Jazz Musician, you may publish and sell your work at any time, and to anyone you choose.  We only request artists to note that the work was originally published on Jerry Jazz Musician.

Editing/Display/Publication

Your work may or may not be edited prior to publication.  If extensive edits are required, the artist will be notified well in advance of publication for appropriate discussion.  If a minimal amount of editing is required, Jerry Jazz Musician reserves the right to publish without review of the artist.

 

Jerry Jazz Musician may use your name and the name of your work in order to market and publicize the work.

Payment

Short Fiction Contest winners receive $100.  (Contest details can be viewed here).  Unless otherwise stated, all other accepted and published submissions are done so without compensation to the artist.

Artist representations

Artist represents and warrants that the submission is an original work of art and will not infringe or misappropriate the Intellectual Property Rights of any third party, and that any quotation or written work copyrighted by a third party is used with written permission of the copyright holder.  Artist agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Jerry Jazz Musician for any loss, injury, or damages resulting from a breach of these warranties.

 

If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email by clicking here and I will do my best to answer them.

 

Thanks for considering sharing your work with the Jerry Jazz Musician community.

 

 

 

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 via RawPixel.com
“Style” by Laurie Kuntz

Poetry

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.

Black History

The Harlem Globetrotters/photo via Wikimedia Commons
A Black History Month Profile: The Harlem Globetrotters...In this 2005 interview, Ben Green, author of Spinning the Globe: The Rise, Fall, and Return to Greatness of the Harlem Globetrotters, discusses the complex history of the celebrated Black touring basketball team.

Black History

photo of Zora Neale Hurston by Carl Van Vechten/Library of Congress
A Black History Month Profile: Zora Neale Hurston...In a 2002 interview, Carla Kaplan, editor of Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters, talks about the novelist, anthropologist, playwright, folklorist, essayist and poet

Black History

Eubie Blake
A Black History Month Profile – Pianist and composer Eubie Blake...In this 2021 Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Eubie Blake biographers Ken Bloom and Richard Carlin discuss the legendary composer of American popular song and jazz during the 20th century

Feature

Jamie Branch's 2023 album "Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war))"
On the Turntable— The “Best Of the ‘Best Of’” in 2023 jazz recordings...A year-end compilation of jazz albums oft mentioned by a wide range of critics as being the best of 2023 - including the late trumpeter Jamie Branch's Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war))

Essay

"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.

Interview

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.

Interview

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.

Poetry

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

Playlist

“Latin Tinges in Modern Jazz” – a playlist by Bob Hecht...A nine-hour long Spotify playlist featuring songs by the likes of Horace Silver, Lee Morgan, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Ahmad Jamal, and Dizzy Gillespie that demonstrates how the Latin music influence on jazz has been present since the music’s beginnings.

Poetry

[Columbia Legacy]
“On Becoming A Jazz Fanatic In The Early 1970’s” – 20 linked short poems by Daniel Brown

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.

Feature

George Shearing/Associated Booking Corporation/James Kriegsmann, New York, via Wikimedia Commons
True Jazz Stories: “An Evening With George,” by Terry Sanville...The writer tells his story of playing guitar with a symphony orchestra, backing up jazz legend George Shearing.

Short Fiction

Defense Visual Information Distribution Service/via Picryl.com
“Afloat” – a finalist in the 64th Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest – is about a troubled man in his 40s who lessens his worries by envisioning himself and loved ones on a boat that provides safety and ease for all of them.

Poetry

The poet Connie Johnson in 1981
In a Place of Dreams: Connie Johnson’s album of jazz poetry, music, and life stories...A collection of the remarkable poet's work is woven among her audio readings, a personal narrative of her journey and music she considers significant to it, providing readers the chance to experience the full value of her gifts.

Book Excerpt

Book Excerpt from Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The Jazz Singer Who Transformed American Song, by Judith Tick...The author writes about highlights of Ella’s career, and how the significance of her Song Book recordings is an example of her “becoming” Ella.

Community

Nominations for the Pushcart Prize XLVIII

Interview

photo courtesy of Henry Threadgill
Interview with Brent Hayes Edwards, co-author (with Henry Threadgill) of Easily Slip Into Another World: A Life in Music...The author discusses his work co-written with Threadgill, the composer and multi-instrumentalist widely recognized as one of the most original and innovative voices in contemporary music, and the winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

Poetry

art by Russell duPont
Three jazz poets…three jazz poems...Takes on love and loss, and memories of Lady Day, Prez, Ella, Louis, Dolphy and others…

Playlist

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
“A Baker’s Dozen Playlist of Ella Fitzgerald Specialties from Five Decades,” as selected by Ella biographer Judith Tick...Chosen from Ella’s entire repertoire, Ms. Tick’s intriguing playlist (with brief commentary) is a mix of studio recordings, live dates, and video, all available for listening here.

Poetry

"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 #169

This trumpeter was in the 1932 car accident that took the life of famed clarinetist/saxophonist Frankie Techemacher (pictured), and is best remembered for his work with Eddie Condon’s bands. Who was he?

Interview

From the Interview Archive: A 2011 conversation with Alyn Shipton, author of Hi-De-Ho: The Life of Cab Calloway...In this interview, Shipton discusses Cab Calloway, whose vocal theatrics and flamboyant stage presence made him one of the country’s most beloved entertainers.

Community

Nominations for the Pushcart Prize XLVIII...announcing the six Jerry Jazz Musician-published writers nominated for the prestigious literary award

Poetry

Gotfryd, Bernard, photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“Devotion” – a poem and 11 “Musings on Monk,” by Connie Johnson

Photography

photo of Mal Waldron by Giovanni Piesco
Beginning in 1990, the noted photographer Giovanni Piesco began taking backstage photographs of many of the great musicians who played in Amsterdam’s Bimhuis, that city’s main jazz venue which is considered one of the finest in the world. Jerry Jazz Musician will occasionally publish portraits of jazz musicians that Giovanni has taken over the years. This edition is of the pianist/composer Mal Waldron, taken on three separate appearances at Bimhuis (1996, 2000 and 2001).

Interview

Leffler, Warren K/Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
A Black History Month Profile: Civil Rights Leader Bayard Rustin...

Community

FOTO:FORTEPAN / Kölcsey Ferenc Dunakeszi Városi Könyvtár / Petanovics fényképek, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
.“Community Bookshelf, #1"...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…

Short Fiction

photo by Pedro Coelho/Deviant Art/CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 DEED
“After The Death of Margaret: A True Novella” by S. Stephanie...This story -- a finalist in our recently concluded 64th Short Fiction Contest -- harkens back to Richard Brautigan's fiction of the '70s, and explores modern day co-worker relationships/friendship and the politics of for profit "Universities"

Short Fiction

painting of Gaetano Donizetti by Francesco Coghetti/via Wikimedia Commons
“A Single Furtive Tear” – a short story by Dora Emma Esze...A short-listed entry in the recently concluded 64th Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest, the story is a heartfelt, grateful monologue to one Italian composer, dead and immortal of course, whose oeuvre means so much to so many of us.

Interview

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Interview with Alyn Shipton, author of The Gerry Mulligan 1950’s Quartets...Long regarded as jazz music’s most eminent baritone saxophonist, Gerry Mulligan was a central figure in “cool” jazz whose contributions to it also included his important work as a composer and arranger. Noted jazz scholar Alyn Shipton, author of The Gerry Mulligan 1950s Quartets, and Jerry Jazz Musician contributing writer Bob Hecht discuss Mulligan’s unique contributions to modern jazz.

Book Excerpt

“Chick” Webb was one of the first virtuoso drummers in jazz and an innovative bandleader dubbed the “Savoy King,” who reigned at Harlem’s world-famous Savoy Ballroom. Stephanie Stein Crease is the first to fully tell Webb’s story in her biography, Rhythm Man: Chick Webb and the Beat that Changed America…The book’s entire introduction is excerpted here.

Short Fiction

pixabay.com via Picryl.com
“The Silent Type,” a short story by Tom Funk...The story, a finalist in the recently concluded 64th Short Fiction Contest, is inspired by the classic Bob Dylan song “Tangled Up in Blue” which speculates about what might have been the back story to the song.

Book Excerpt

Book excerpt from Easily Slip Into Another World: A Life in Music, by Henry Threadgill and Brent Hayes Edwards

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

Art

Designed for Dancing: How Midcentury Records Taught America to Dance: “Outtakes” — Vol. 2...In this edition, the authors Janet Borgerson and Jonathan Schroeder share examples of Cha Cha Cha record album covers that didn't make the final cut in their book

Pressed for All Time

“Pressed For All Time,” Vol. 17 — producer Joel Dorn on Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s 1967 album, The Inflated Tear

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

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