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:
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.
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.
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 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.