Interview with Joanna Scutts, author of Hotbed: Bohemian Greenwich Village and the Secret Club that Sparked Modern Feminism

A conversation about women who formed a group that became known as “Heterodoxy,” whose members were fired up by a desire to change their world, and who became public ambassadors of a brand-new philosophy; feminism.

...

November 19th, 2022

Jazz History Quiz #158

Besides being one of the first to be influenced by Charlie Christian, in 1944 this electric guitarist employed Charlie Parker on his first recording date and eventually led an R&B-oriented group “The Rockin’ Highlanders” that featured the saxophonist Red Prysock (pictured). Who is he?

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November 10th, 2022

“The Problem With Serenading Canadian Geese” – a poem by Joel Glickman

They are gathering now
all along the shoreline.
Their bones sing October!
Their wings cry out Go south!

I walk with my banjo
down to the water’s edge.
What can I play for geese
who carry their own tunes

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November 4th, 2022

Jerry Jazz Musician featured on “The Buzz,” the podcast of the Jazz Journalists Association

Joe Maita, publisher of the website Jerry Jazz Musician, is interviewed on “The Buzz,” the podcast of the Jazz Journalists Association

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November 1st, 2022

“Blame It On My Youth” — a poem by Tim Tomlinson

You listen to Karrin Allyson sing “Blame It on My Youth,” you picture her in the throes of its May-December scenario. You picture her on a college campus. Columbia University, the steps in front of Low, a pleated skirt, a short bob, the full flush of love on her cheeks.

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September 7th, 2022

“Always Cool” — a poem by Judith Vaughn

. . Distributed by Joe Glaser’s Associated Booking Corporation. Photographer uncredited and unknown., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons Chet Baker, 1955 . . Always Cool Alison weaves on her loom in the living room. Fifth floor walk up. Manhattan. Chet plays on the stereo; a trumpet divinely graced, caressed like a stunning woman’s body, soft … Continue reading ““Always Cool” — a poem by Judith Vaughn”

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June 29th, 2022

“First Light” — a poem (after Freddie Hubbard) by Jessica Lee McMillan

first light skims on green wing
like sprouts strobing for ray
climbs from soils of night,
through damask-leafed curtain
a gateless gate, come home
from crescendo of star-gazing
to dew of earth shiver

...

May 5th, 2022

“Pressed For All Time,” Vol. 13 — producer Tommy LiPuma on George Benson’s album Breezin’

In this edition, producer Tommy LiPuma talks with Jarrett about working with guitarist George Benson  on his 1976 Warner Brothers recording Breezin’

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April 26th, 2022

“So What!…or, Where were you when you first heard Kind of Blue?” — a true jazz story by Bob Hecht

Bob Hecht recalls his experience of first hearing “Kind of Blue,” the 1959 jazz album by trumpeter Miles Davis

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April 21st, 2022

“Thunder” — a short story by Robert Knox

The voice comes down from the bedroom, winding down the stairs, crankily.
It does not at once compel in the manner of one of my “favorite singers” on the radio. I am a person, to use the word loosely, who does not own record albums, or a record player. What I hear from upstairs at her house, wailing down from the steps in that unassimilable voice, is the whine of the prairie. A rusty gate. A barroom complaint…

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April 18th, 2022

Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 5: “The Sunset and the Mockingbird Suite” (in honor of Tommy Flanagan)

Mr. Cole’s suite consists of eight poems, all interpretations from songs on pianist Tommy Flanagan’s album Sunset and the Mockingbird Suite

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April 14th, 2022

Interview with Richard Brent Turner, author of Soundtrack to a Movement: African American Islam, Jazz, and Black Internationalism

. .       Richard Brent Turner is Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and the African American Studies Program at the University of Iowa, and the author of  Soundtrack to a Movement:  African American Islam, Jazz, and Black Internationalism [New York University Press] . . ___ . . …..In Richard Brent Turner’s … Continue reading “Interview with Richard Brent Turner, author of Soundtrack to a Movement: African American Islam, Jazz, and Black Internationalism

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April 1st, 2022

Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 4: “Maiden Voyage”

Set forth beautiful one
open sea and open sky
as far as your eye can see
full wind filling the sails
pushing those hesitant steps
three at a time before
the cymbal crash of wave

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February 25th, 2022

A Black History Month Profile: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America

In The Fire is Upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America, author Nicholas Buccola tells the story of the historic 1965 Cambridge Union debate between Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and Buckley, a staunch opponent of the movement and founder in 1955 of National Review, the leading conservative publication.  The evening’s debate topic?  “The American dream is at the expense of the American Negro.”

Buccola discusses his book in a July 23, 2020 interview with Jerry Jazz Musician editor/publisher Joe Maita

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February 15th, 2022

Three poems about three pianists

hands do talk
to me they do
& after shaking his
some years back
clasping those long digits
expecting ivory key smoothness
I was stopped short by
their cement block
& long handle roughness

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February 12th, 2022

“Lydia” — a short story by Allene Nichols

It was a summer of jazz leaking out through shuttered windows; of breaking glass and rage from the anonymous facades of brick apartments; of winged girls trying to fly from atop the Cathedral of St. Louis; of women trying to take back the night from jugglers and mimes and the men who lurked and looked too long. And through all of this, we walked hand in hand, visitors from a planet where soybean fields bookmarked the horizon and the sweet smell of corn danced across the dusk.

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January 31st, 2022

“My Encounter” — a poem by Roodly Laurore (translated by Jerrice J. Baptiste)

A concert for lovers
Romantic space
For an eternal memory.
Well-dressed musicians
Well decorated scene.
.
Each note inspires exact words
To win Ghislaine’s heart,
The beauty of my youth.

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January 29th, 2022

Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 3: “Trading Fours”

Horace Silver’s got a grove. Just listen to that left hand,
like a heart skipping a beat or jumping up to a double-beat,
like beholding something so beautiful you can hardly believe it.

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January 19th, 2022

“The Compositional Genius of Bill Evans — A Brief Overview & Playlist,” by Bob Hecht

Contributing writer Bob Hecht discusses Bill Evans’ enduring compositional genius, and has assembled an extensive Spotify playlist that includes many of his tunes.

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January 13th, 2022

“A Quick Kill: A Final Episode Among Brothers” — a true story by J.S. Kierland

Three in the morning in the Hollywood Hills feels like five in the morning anywhere else. The coyotes and owls cross the northern boundaries and stray down under the big HOLLYWOOD sign that glistens in the moonlight at the top of Beachwood Canyon. Field mice, possum, snakes, and house cats become fair game for the wild intruders that prowl the narrow streets and canyons for a quick kill and a quiet meal with the family.

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January 11th, 2022

“Old J.S.— Running Through the Changes” — a poem by Joel Glickman

So long ago, before Ornette Coleman,
Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane—
all those free spirits running up and down
the alphabet of jazz, there was old
J.S. Bach, running through the changes.
I always picture him, and hear him,
at the pipe organ in Tomas Kirsche
all by himself,

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January 7th, 2022

On the Turntable — The “Best Of the ‘Best Of’” in 2021 jazz recordings

December has once again produced a large number of year-end “Best Of” lists, and the goal of this post is to present those albums oft mentioned by the critics. While these 21 albums hardly constitute a comprehensive assessment of the “Best Of the ‘Best Of’” lists, it does provide some guidance about 2021 recordings critics seemed to agree about, and suggest we check out more thoroughly.

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January 5th, 2022

“Harry’s Psalm” — a poem by Michael L. Newell

In the cold vastness of space without end,
we swirl through time, around the sun,
alone, unknown, unknowable, lonely

collections of stardust, certain we matter,
but vague as to why and how, unable
to prove our value, yet convinced we must

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December 23rd, 2021

Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 2: “The Galactic Fantastic — One Note”

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole  is an occasional series of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film. This poem is written to the 1957 Coleman Hawkins recording of “Juicy Fruit.”

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December 17th, 2021

A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Fall/Winter, 2021-22 Edition

Molly Larson Cook’s abstract-expressionist paintings accompany the 50 poets contributing to this collection. Her art has much in common with the poetry and music found within it; all three art forms can be described as “landscapes of the imagination,” created by artists from all over the world who are inspired in a meaningful way by jazz music, and whose work can be uniquely interpreted and appreciated (or not!) by those who consume it.

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December 10th, 2021

“A Girl You Couldn’t Hurt” — a short story by Con Chapman

It was probably Dean who was responsible for him being where he was right now, he thought as he sat across the table from his fiancée listening to her talk about the wedding and the gifts they were registered for and the reception.  He had discovered an album he didn’t approve of – Barbra Streisand – among Dean’s records when he went to stay with him shortly after he got married to a woman from Cleveland.

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December 9th, 2021

Paying homage to vinyl record albums — in three poems

One of my greatest joys for decades
was exploring unknown record shops.
I once walked into a newly opened used
shop around the corner from my university
and discovered a used album, apparently
the improvisatory result of a session
set up by Norman Granz that included

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December 8th, 2021

Interview with Kitt Shapiro, author of Eartha & Kitt: A Daughter’s Love Story in Black & White

Being the daughter of an international celebrity is sure to have its rewards and challenges, particularly when the mother – in this case Eartha Kitt – grew up motherless and in extreme poverty in the South, and who as an adult, broke hardened and racist societal barriers with her intense inner drive, determination, and strength of character. In a November, 2021 Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Ms. Kitt’s daughter Kitt Shapiro, author of Eartha & Kitt: A Daughter’s Love Story in Black & White, talks about Eartha’s legacy as a mother, the life and career challenges they both faced, and her book—a moving account of a heartfelt mother/daughter relationship.

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December 4th, 2021

“The Day Herbie Died” — a poem by David Cooke

I never did read the news, though I don’t suppose
it made a splash in the Post or Herald Tribune–
with maybe just a line or two
among the baseball stats, divorces,
and the marches picking up
deep down in the Cotton States.

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December 3rd, 2021

A Letter From the Publisher — Nominations for the Pushcart Prize

Announcing the six writers nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize…

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December 1st, 2021

Veryl Oakland’s “Jazz in Available Light” — photos (and stories) of Sarah Vaughan and Betty Carter

In this edition, Veryl Oakland’s photographs and stories feature the singers Sarah Vaughan and Betty Carter

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November 29th, 2021

Playlist: “Jazz Tributes” — compositions and performances by jazz musicians, for jazz musicians

Bob Hecht has created an extensive Spotify playlist he calls “Jazz Tributes” that also serves as a kind of “Thanksgiving” greeting – compositions and performances by jazz musicians, for jazz musicians. 

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November 25th, 2021

True Jazz Stories: A remembrance of jazz aficionado Al Summ

Friends remember Al Summ, whose love and appreciation of jazz showed up in a variety of ways.  His artwork was found (and rescued) by his friends Dan Brown, Dave Watson, Bob Crimi and “Andy” – a.k.a. “The Gang of Four”.

This remembrance is a reminder of how jazz and its culture can touch the soul of an enthusiast, and a demonstration of a longtime, devoted friendship.  I am proud to assist the “Gang” in sharing their heartfelt connection to their departed friend.

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November 24th, 2021

“Pressed For All Time,” Vol. 11 — producer Jean-Phillipe Allard talks about Abbey Lincoln’s The World is Falling Down

In this edition, producer Jean-Phillippe Allard talks with Michael Jarrett, author of Pressed For All Time: Producing the Great Jazz Albums from Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday to Miles Davis and Diana Krall about working with the singer Abbey Lincoln on her 1990 Verve album The World is Falling Down

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November 19th, 2021

Poetry in the era of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season, Vol. 5

In this fifth collection of poetry reflecting these times,  33 poets offer their perspectives…

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January 20th, 2021

Interview with Kevin Whitehead, author of Play the Way You Feel: The Essential Guide to Jazz Stories on Film

Kevin Whitehead, the longtime jazz critic for NPR’s Fresh Air, discusses jazz music and the movies – the “natural allies” that both grew out of existing creative traditions, and, since the mid-1920’s have told stories about “child prodigies, naturals who pick up the music the first time they hear it, hard workers with a painstaking practice regimen, talented players diverted into soul-killing commercial work, and even non-improvisers taught to fake it.”

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January 15th, 2021

“Warmin’ Up Coldbrook” — a short film by Steve Slagle and Youli Avramov

You just never know what you’ll run into in the midst of a crazed world – sometimes even a calm beauty has a way of unexpectedly showing up, and when it does, you want to share it.

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January 13th, 2021

On the Turntable — The “Best Of the ‘Best Of'” in 2020 jazz recordings

December has brought the tradition of year-end “Best Of” lists, and the consensus among critics is that – as difficult as it may be to understand given the challenging circumstances – 2020 was a banner year for new jazz recordings.

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January 2nd, 2021

Interview with Ricky Riccardi, author of Heart Full of Rhythm: The Big Band Years of Louis Armstrong

In a November 16, 2020 interview with Jerry Jazz Musician, Riccardi discusses his vital book and Armstrong’s enormous and underappreciated achievements during the era he led his big band.

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December 20th, 2020

“A Night Just Like Any Other” — a short story by Bradford Middleton

Frank’s day begins as so many have in the last decade, a decade lost to a job, a way of life, as his phone wakes him with the bourbon-drenched tones of Tom Waits announcing he ‘can’t wait to get off work.’  Frank knows he will have that sentiment lingering in his mind until he returns home later, much later in fact, after another shift at the tavern of ill-repute.  Beginning his day as he has almost every other he moves to his chair with a piping hot mug of tea and proceeds to construct and then smoke a big fat joint. 

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December 15th, 2020

Gift Idea: Veryl Oakland’s Jazz in Available Light — a special offer to readers of Jerry Jazz Musician

Gift offer on Veryl Oakland’s book Jazz in Available Light, one of the most impressive jazz photography books to be published in a long time.

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December 8th, 2020

Listen — a documentary of Gerry Mulligan

I belong to a jazz listening group and this month’s topic has been the music of Gerry Mulligan and other baritone saxophone players.  A rich, engrossing experience that has offered me the chance to wade deep into Mulligan’s career, and to rediscover great baritone players like Leo Parker, Pepper Adams, Hamiet Bluiett, Nick Brignola, Serge Chaloff, Ronnie Cuber and Scott Robinson.

Along the way I found a terrific 90 minute documentary of Mulligan’s life that I recommend as an antidote to cabin fever and as a temporary diversion from the many contemporary films/series found on Netflix, Hulu, et al.

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December 7th, 2020

Reflecting on departing an office space of 20 years, and rediscovering Carla Bley

With the aid of good fortune and health, life has a way of going on, even when external forces distract and alarm. Amid yet another flurry of extreme presidential chaos and the unending nightmare of COVID, I recently closed down the office space I have worked out of since 2000.

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December 2nd, 2020

“Sphinx” — a short story by Brian Greene

. . “Sphinx,” a story by Brian Greene, was a short-listed entry in our recently concluded 55th Short Fiction Contest. It is published with the permission of the author .  . .   “Lucy XV,” by Vakseen . Sphinx by Brian Greene . 1. …..I met Leonor when I was 23 and she was 51. … Continue reading ““Sphinx” — a short story by Brian Greene”

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December 1st, 2020

“Birds of Fire at Woods—Brown Amphitheater” — a poem by D.H. Jenkins

We tripped through the parking lot and fell into the Woods—
Brown Amphitheater, then rested a bit as musicians tuned up.
When John McLaughlin’s first eerie notes of “Birds of Fire”
came through, we were taken by surprise. I’d thought
we were going to India, instead it was a caravanserai
to hear the scream of the butterfly.

...

November 20th, 2020

“The Third Degree” — humor by Dig Wayne

The evidence against Monk was overwhelming. As he spun in circles, his beard greeted all the be-boos and scat tops with a whiff of singular restraint, knowing the blue minor chord could only hold so much dissonance before the black harmonies started some fragile shite.

...

November 19th, 2020

Book Excerpt: Heart Full of Rhythm: The Big Band Years of Louis Armstrong, by Ricky Riccardi

In the book’s prologue, “Bigger Than Jazz”– a portion of which is published here with the consent of the publisher, Oxford University Press – Riccardi writes about Armstrong’s Apollo Theater performances of 1935 (marking his comeback from an 18 month stay in Europe), his final big band performance of 1947, and subsequent appearances there with his integrated small group, the All Stars.

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November 18th, 2020

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

Tom Beetz, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
”When Sonny Gets Gray” by John Menaghan...

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

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

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

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.

Site Archive