Community Bookshelf #2

“Community Bookshelf” is a twice-yearly space where writers who have been published on Jerry Jazz Musician can share information about their recently authored books.

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March 29th, 2024

“Devotion” – a poem and 11 “Musings on Monk,” by Connie Johnson

Marginalized, itinerant
Brilliance barely compensated
You want to save them all; you
Particularly want to save him

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February 22nd, 2024

The Photographs of Giovanni Piesco: Mal Waldron

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).

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January 23rd, 2024

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

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January 8th, 2024

Book Excerpt from Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The Jazz Singer Who Transformed American Song, by Judith Tick

In this excerpt from the Introduction to her book Becoming Ella: The Jazz Singer Who Transformed American Song, Judith Tick writes about highlights of Ella’s career, and how the significance of her Song Book recordings is an example of her “becoming” Ella.

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December 5th, 2023

Designed for Dancing: How Midcentury Records Taught America to Dance: “Outtakes” — Vol. 2

The authors of “Designed For Dancing” share examples of Cha Cha Cha record album covers that didn’t quite make the final cut in their book.

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January 10th, 2023

Designed for Dancing: How Midcentury Records Taught America to Dance: “Outtakes” — Vol. 1

The authors of “Designed For Dancing” share three examples of record album covers that didn’t quite make the final cut in their book.

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December 5th, 2022

“Pressed For All Time,” Vol. 15 — producers Joel Dorn and Hal Willner on the 1981 tribute album Amarcord Nino Rota

Producers Joel Dorn and Hal Willner discuss the album Amarcord Nino Rota, a tribute to Federico Fellini’s musical director

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October 31st, 2022

“Pressed For All Time,” Vol. 14 — producer Teo Macero on Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew

Producers Teo Macero and Bob Belden, and bassist Dave Holland talk about working with Miles Davis on his groundbreaking 1969 recording, Bitches Brew

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August 10th, 2022

“Sittin’ In: Jazz Clubs of the 1940s and 1950s” Vol. 6 — Harlem’s The Apollo Theater and Club Baby Grand

In this edition, Jeff Gold writes about two  Harlem night spots – The Apollo Theater and Club Baby Grand – and shares photographs and memorabilia from his collection.

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June 6th, 2022

“Pressed For All Time,” Vol. 12 — producer Bob Thiele on John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme

In this edition, producer Bob Thiele 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 John Coltrane on his classic 1964 recording A Love Supreme

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February 19th, 2022

“Old Man Hands” — a short story by Terry Sanville

Gordon sat in the corner of the Red Sky Café and stared at his fingers as they slid across the fretboard of his Fender Stratocaster. They seemed disconnected from the rest of his body but hardwired to his brain. When he thought blue, they moved to his favorite notes. When he thought joy, a new series of chords and major scales opened up. He thought, played, listened, and watched.

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February 7th, 2022

“Sittin’ In: Jazz Clubs of the 1940s and 1950s” Vol. 5 — Harlem nightspots Connie’s Inn and Smalls’ Paradise

In this edition, Gold writes about two  Harlem jazz clubs – Connie’s Inn and Smalls’ Paradise – and shares photographs and memorabilia from his collection.

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January 23rd, 2022

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

Jazz History Quiz #148

Often described as one of the “great jokesters in jazz,” this trumpeter became a popular figure on the west coast who, in addition to playing with artists like Stan Kenton, Benny Goodman, Jimmy Giuffre and Art Pepper, also starred in a short-lived TV series called Run Buddy Run. Who is he?

Don Ellis

Ruby Braff

Shorty Rogers

Red Rodney

Jack Sheldon

Al Hirt

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September 24th, 2021

“Sittin’ In: Jazz Clubs of the 1940s and 1950s” Vol. 3 — Ubangi Club

In this edition, Gold writes about Harlem’s Ubangi Club, and shares photographs and memorabilia from his collection.

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July 17th, 2021

“Ralph Ellison’s 4-second Appearance in Shirley” — film criticism by John Kendall Hawkins

Hawkins examines the relationship between the characters portrayed in the 2020 film Shirley, and the missed opportunity to include Ralph Ellison in the story

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July 13th, 2021

Thelonious Monk…and five poems

He hovers,
flesh and presence,
round the story of midnight jazz….

a single note hangs, suspended
in a cigarette-whiskey haze
as ears perk open, anticipate
the pleasure of surprise

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June 24th, 2021

“Sittin’ In: Jazz Clubs of the 1940s and 1950s” Vol. 2 — Birdland

In this edition, Gold writes about New York’s Midtown Manhattan club Birdland, and shares photographs and memorabilia from his collection.

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June 1st, 2021

“Sittin’ In: Jazz Clubs of the 1940s and 1950s” Vol. 1 — The Savoy Ballroom

An excerpt from Jeff Gold’s “Sittin’ In: Jazz Clubs of the 1940s and 1950s” focuses on Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom

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March 26th, 2021

A Black History Month Profile: Thelonious Monk, a founding father of modern jazz

. . In a 2009 Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, talks about  the legendary composer/pianist who was a founding father of modern jazz. . .   .Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an … Continue reading “A Black History Month Profile: Thelonious Monk, a founding father of modern jazz”

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February 22nd, 2021

“Pressed for All Time,” Vol. 9 — John Koenig, Sonny Rollins, and William Claxton talk about Rollins’ 1957 album Way Out West

In this edition, producer John Koenig, saxophonist Sonny Rollins and photographer William Claxton discuss their roles in Rollins’ 1957 Contemporary Records album Way Out West with Pressed For All Time author Michael Jarrett

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February 8th, 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

“What one song best represents your experience with 2020?”

The community of poets, writers, artists and photographers who have recently contributed their work and time to Jerry Jazz Musician to answer this question, “What one song best represents your experience with 2020?”

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December 29th, 2020

On a challenging summer in Portland, the passing of Stanley Crouch, and upcoming opportunities for writers

I have to admit, Portland has kicked my ass this summer.

Two fires continue to rage here.  I’m sure you’ve heard about this city’s Black Lives Matter demonstrations that have also sparked pesky vandalism by dozens of mostly White activists.  While their activities seem banal enough – a dumpster fire here, a picnic table on fire there – this behavior shamefully threatens to commandeer BLM’s objectives and gives life to a cynical and evergreen pre-election message stoking White suburban fear.  The vandalism tests the patience of even the most tolerant and hopeful of local citizens.

Now mix in the fires of climate change – hot, powerful winds fanning flames on a drought-laden state – and the result is living in, for now, the epicenter of the world’s worst air quality.

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September 17th, 2020

On the Turntable — Wild is Love by Nat King Cole

One of the many rewards of reading Will Friedwald’s comprehensive and lively biography of Nat King Cole, Straighten Up and Fly Right, has been rediscovering gems within the great singer’s expansive catalog. Thanks to Friedwald, I am reminded of Cole’s 1960 album, Wild is Love, an ambitious, electrifying (and “hit”) recording that could best be described as a concept album about falling in love.

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August 11th, 2020

A road trip during the time of COVID

…..I recently went on a two week road trip.

…..A few months ago such a casual bit of news would have aroused only the slightest interest.  Select friends would display a polite enthusiasm, a question or two about the destination or accommodations would be raised, and perhaps a handful of pictures would even be endured.

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July 18th, 2020

Reminiscing in Tempo: “Life during the time of isolation and social distancing”

Prominent artists and educators reflect on the pandemic and how they are spending their time during isolation and social distancing

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May 18th, 2020

“Life during the time of isolation and social distancing” Vol. 5 — ASU educator and author Tracy Fessenden

Arizona State University historian and author Tracy Fessenden responds to the question; “During this time of social distancing and isolation at home, what are examples of the music you are listening to, the books you are reading, and/or the television or films you are viewing?”

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May 11th, 2020

“Life during the time of isolation and social distancing” Vol. 4 — Spelman College president Mary Schmidt Campbell

Spelman College president Mary Schmidt Campbell responds to the question; “During this time of social distancing and isolation at home, what are examples of the music you are listening to, the books you are reading, and/or the television or films you are viewing?”

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May 8th, 2020

“Life during the time of isolation and social distancing” Vol. 3 — journalist Joe Hagan and photographer Tim Davis

Journalist Joe Hagan and photographer Tim Davis respond to the question; “During this time of social distancing and isolation at home, what are examples of the music you are listening to, the books you are reading, and/or the television or films you are viewing?”

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May 5th, 2020

“Life during the time of isolation and social distancing” Vol. 1 — recording artist Bruce Cockburn

Recording artist Bruce Cockburn responds to the question, “During this time of social distancing and isolation at home, what are examples of the music you are listening to, the books you are reading, and/or the television or films you are viewing?”

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April 18th, 2020

“Pressed for All Time,” Vol. 6 — producer Tom Dowd on Herbie Mann’s Memphis Underground

In this edition, producer Tom Dowd talks with Michael Jarrett about the genesis of Herbie Mann’s 1969 recording, Memphis Underground, and the executives and musicians involved.

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April 1st, 2020

Berlin, Gershwin and Porter — Great American Songwriters

Interviews with three outstanding, acclaimed writers and scholars who discuss their books on Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter, and their subjects’ lives in and out of music.  These interviews – which each include photos and several full-length songs – provide readers easy access to an entertaining and enlightening learning experience about these three giants of American popular music.

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March 27th, 2020

“Pressed for All Time,” Vol. 4 — producer Creed Taylor on the 1962 album, Jazz Samba

In this edition,  producer Creed Taylor tells Jarrett about the recording session and marketing strategy for the 1962 Verve album by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd, Jazz Samba. 

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November 16th, 2019

“The Trio That Should Have Reshaped Jazz” — an essay by Scott Archer Jones

2008.  On the seafloor of the Stockholm archipelago near Ingarö the tides swept a body not yet dead back and forth, in eddies of dust that tornadoed up into black, cold water. Jazz had missed its chance again.

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November 15th, 2019

“The Elvin Jones Standard” — an appreciation by Evan Nass

His style is unique, expressive, bombastic, heavy and rolling. He became one of the most famous drummers, making vast contributions to the hard bop and post-bop jazz movements. He had great influence on all the jazz musicians he played with, but more importantly, they influenced him.

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October 24th, 2019

“Gotta Dance” — a short story by Kevin Barry Howe

The rain had simply just stopped, as suddenly as it had started, with only an occasional leftover droplet now falling from a street sign or lamppost. Some made it to the sidewalk where they joined the puddles in tiny splashes; others were interrupted in their descent, hitting the folded newspapers held overhead by those caught without an umbrella.

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October 21st, 2019

Performance: Abdullah Ibrahim, 1968 — “Jabolani”

A recently released jazz album of significance is Abdullah Ibrahim’s The Balance (pictured), a distinctive and brilliant integration of contemporary exploration with the traditional nod to those who have influenced him over the years – in particular Ellington and Monk. 

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August 30th, 2019

Billie Holiday and the influence of Baltimore’s House of the Good Shepherd on her singing

In a brilliant August 20, 2019 essay posted on the NPR website titled “Billie Full of Grace,” Professor Fessenden, author of Religion Around Billie Holiday,writes about the effect the convent reformatory Billie Holiday attended as a young woman – Baltimore’s House of the Good Shepherd – had on her life, and on her singing.

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August 22nd, 2019

“Pressed for All Time,” Vol. 2 — producer John Snyder on Ornette Coleman

In this edition,  Michael Jarrett interviews producer John Snyder about the experience of working with Ornette Coleman at the time of his 1977 album Dancing in Your Head for Horizon Records — a division of A & M Records (under Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss)

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July 26th, 2019

“Brown Bear” — a short story by Bailey Bridgewater

The shimmering bulb of the brown Long Island sunset was barely enough to illuminate the silently flailing figure in the water.  The flaming ball stared down at the commotion from beneath its skin of smog, but the girl simply picked the loose sand up in her hands, running the granules through her stubby fingers, fascinated by the way it felt on her palms, but irritated by how it stuck under her bitten nails.

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July 22nd, 2019

A Black History Month Profile: Rosa Parks

. .   . . In an interview originally published on Jerry Jazz Musician in 2003, Rosa Parks biographer David Brinkley talks about  the life of “the first lady of the civil rights movement,” whose refusal to move to the back of the bus in 1955 led to the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott , the … Continue reading “A Black History Month Profile: Rosa Parks”

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February 16th, 2019

On the Turntable — January, 2019 edition

. . .   . I am having time to listen to new music more regularly these days, and finding great pleasure in many of the “grooves.”  (Full disclosure…investing $10 per month in a Spotify account — while not the sensual experience of laying the needle on the vinyl — effortlessly gets your ears to … Continue reading “On the Turntable — January, 2019 edition”

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January 7th, 2019

Guy Lombardo, “about as artistically creative as the average comic book”

. . “If you can dance at all, you can dance to [Guy] Lombardo’s music,” the Metronome writer George T. Simon wrote in 1942.   The Lombardo band’s popularity was once so immense and widespread that he set attendance marks wherever he went, including at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom. His appeal came despite what Simon described as … Continue reading “Guy Lombardo, “about as artistically creative as the average comic book””

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January 1st, 2019

“For Chet Baker, Trumpet Player, at Age Twenty Four” — a poem by Alan Yount

      FOR  CHET  BAKER,  TRUMPET  PLAYER,                    AT  AGE TWENTY  FOUR   I saw a picture of you, in 1954   on the today t.v. show with host dave garroway.   you both looked so happy.   dave held up his own trumpet too.   your trumpet playing was being witnessed   & … Continue reading ““For Chet Baker, Trumpet Player, at Age Twenty Four” — a poem by Alan Yount”

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December 7th, 2018

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 Mel Levine/pinelife, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Lady Day and Prez” by Henry Wolstat

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.

Publisher’s Notes

photo by Rhonda Dorsett
A very brief three-dot update…Where I’ve been, and an update on what is coming up on Jerry Jazz Musician

Poetry

Photographer uncredited, but the photo was almost certainly taken by Chuck Stewart. Published by ABC/Impulse! Records.. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“And I’m Not Even Here” – a poem by Connie Johnson

Click here to read more poetry published on Jerry Jazz Musician

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.

Click here to read more interviews published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Poetry

Three poets and Sketches of Spain

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.

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

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

Review

Jason Innocent, on “3”, Abdullah Ibrahim’s latest album... Album reviews are rarely published on Jerry Jazz Musician, but Jason Innocent’s experience with the pianist Abdullah Ibrahim’s new recording captures the essence of this artist’s creative brilliance.

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.

Click here to read more short fiction published on Jerry Jazz Musician

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

"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 #171

Dick Cavett/via Wikimedia Commons
In addition to being one of the greatest musicians of his generation, this Ohio native was an activist, leading “Jazz and People’s Movement,” a group formed in the late 1960’s who “adopted the tactic of interrupting tapings and broadcasts of television and radio programs (i.e. the shows of Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett [pictured] and Merv Griffin) in protest of the small number of Black musicians employed by networks and recording studios.” Who was he?

Click here to visit the Jazz History Quiz archive

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 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.

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