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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 by Bekzat Tasmagambetov/via Pexels
"The Lady Sings" - by Michael Keshigian

Click here to read previous editions of The Sunday Poem

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.

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

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

The cover to Joni Mitchell's 1976 album Hejira [Asylum]; photo by Norman Seeff
“Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada” – a poem (for Joni Mitchell) by Juan Mobili

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

Sonny Rollins' 1957 pianoless trio recording "Way Out West"
“The Pianoless Tradition in Modern Jazz” – a playlist by Bob Hecht...an extensive playlist built around examples of prominent pianoless modern jazz.

Feature

Excerpts from David Rife’s Jazz Fiction: Take Two – (Vol. 1)...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 initial edition featuring his story essays/reviews, Rife writes about three novels that explore challenges of the mother/daughter relationship.

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

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

Poetry

painting by Vaino Kunnas
Jazz…in eight poems...A myriad of styles and experiences displayed in eight thoughtful, provocative poems…

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

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

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.

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