Community Bookshelf #2

March 29th, 2024

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photo via Picryl.com

photo via Picryl.com

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Greetings:

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

…..This edition includes information about books published within the last six months or so, and is limited to those who submitted their news by the edition’s publication deadline.

…..All book descriptions, biographies, and photos were submitted by the writers.  Click on the author’s name under the book cover to be taken to pages where their work has been published on Jerry Jazz Musician.

…..I anticipate the next edition will be in the fall of 2024.  Please get in touch with me as soon as possible if you expect to have a book published between April, 2024 and September, 2024, and would like to be included in “Community Bookshelf, #3”

…..Thanks for reading, and for supporting those who contribute their work to Jerry Jazz Musician.

Joe Maita

Editor/Publisher

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Everything is Distant Now, by Connie Johnson

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…..Connie Johnson’s debut poetry collection, Everything Is Distant Now, contains 34 poems (two of which were Pushcart Prize-nominated in 2023) that are a thematic mix tape of musical impressions, confessions, memories, and dreams.

,,,,,There are poems in which she examines jazz giants such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Nina Simone and Rahsaan Roland Kirk; elsewhere, she delves deeply into her own story in a way that prompted Poet/Musician/Cholla Needles Publisher Rich Soos to note: “This is the first book I’ve read in 2024 that fulfills my need as a poetry reader. And, I don’t feel like I’d be exaggerating very much to say this is the first in several years that both excites me and promises to stay on my ‘go-to’ shelf of poetry to share with friends.”

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A poem from the book:

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Hurricanes at Nightfall

I dream about you
Sleeping through hurricanes
So you can find me. In the subtle
Arc of this darkness, you could go
Toe-to-toe with Boogie Bill Webb
I can picture him in the 9th Ward
Howling Seven Sisters Blues

You can be the one with a
Louisiana fortune teller on
Speed dial

Drift back at nightfall
And I’ll be the refrain of
A lonely bed where it’s
Impossible to sing

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Order the book by clicking here

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Connie Johnson is a Los Angeles, CA-based writer whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Jerry Jazz Musician, San Pedro River Review, Cholla Needles, Voicemail Poems, Oddball Magazine, Shotglass Journal, Sport Literate, Hudson Valley Writers Guild, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, The Rye Whiskey Review, Glint Literary Journal, Impspired, Door Is a Jar and Writing in a Woman’s Voice. Everything is Distant Now, her first poetry collection, was published by Blue Horse Press (February 2024).

Click here to read In a Place of Dreams: Connie Johnson’s album of jazz poetry, music, and life stories

 

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Where Sands Run Finest, by Vikki C.

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…..Vikki C.’s second book of poetry Where Sands Run Finest (DarkWinter Press, January 2024), pays lyrical tribute to the liminal landscapes of time, memory, spirituality and the human condition.

…..Foregrounding the author’s life experiences through an aesthetic and de-familiarized lens, the collection serves as an artistic awakening to themes of identity, heritage, generational trauma, motherhood, love, loss and existential querying.

…..From life’s transient moments through to the metaphysical, Vikki C.’s poetry captures the lexicon of time’s delicate rhythms both within the “temporal hourglass” and across “otherworlds” born of cosmic, esoteric and subconscious realms.

…..The book’s poetic journey also navigates the sands of a cathartic landscape that offers refuge from our onerous existence. A sanctum honouring the imprints left by literature and art, music’s lasting echoes and the conversations suspended in places we never quite leave in spirit.

…..This dialogue ties cinematically into the arc of the collection whilst leaving an intrinsic space for wonder and inquiry in the audience’s mind. Where Sands Run Finest ultimately resonates with a vivid and timeless universal language — one of lucidity, surrealism, empathy and along the way, doses of “ordinary magic”.

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A poem from the book:

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Repose, sometimes, as if flying…

Is there any peace, other than alone, on an ordinary morning?
It appears, not as a man’s archetype, nor a milky-winged image.
What do women dream of if not a distraction from chaos?
A soft hand to parry the sensory overload defining a day’s emotions.
But now I see her making up for lost time and connection.

Looking through the window, the cusp of summer reveals herself.
The sleeping woman in the queen size bed is my better half,
her supine body still breathing within her soft clothes.
This could well be the way you’d want me — wordless,
mouth rose-budded in repose, her pale neck a landscape of divinity.

But sometimes, love is wild geese — the landing, a cliff edge of wet stones.
In absence, it is a faint imprint in the mattress, or a dent in time
– whichever is within reach, and if she should dream
as she crosses continents, may it be of my face pressed to this glass,
the low boughs of peaches framing my patience, left unplucked.

She and I would see what life has brought to this single quiet room.
That between the two scenes, exists a prayer – the woman’s kind.
Like a long walk, barefoot, through the course lavender of Surrey Hills.
All sensations jolted awake by the overhead flock, gliding in victory-formation
— knowing nothing of tomorrow, yet coming this far.

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Order the book by clicking here

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Vikki C., is a British-born writer, poet and musician from London whose literary works are inspired by science, art, ecology, existentialism and the human condition. She is the author of The Art of Glass Houses (Alien Buddha Press, 2022) – a chapbook of prose poems exploring the liminal landscapes of memory, heritage, art and the metaphysical.

Vikki’s recent poetry and prose appears in places such as EcoTheo Review, Ice Floe Press, Nightingale & Sparrow, Black Bough Poetry, Acropolis Journal, Fevers Of The Mind Poetry & Art, Ellipsis Zine, DarkWinter Literary Magazine, Across The Margin, The Write-In (National Flash Fiction Day), Literary Revelations, Loft Books, Lazuli Literary Group and other venues.

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Buckshot Reasoning, poems by Mike Jurkovic

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…..SUNY New Paltz Professor Thomas Festa says that “Buckshot Reckoning is an affable, shrewd, and politically acute collection that richly delivers on its promise of mishap and magic.”

…..Ruth Danon, retired NYU Creative and Expository Writing Coordinator calls Buckshot Reckoning “ . . .a brave book that pulls no punches. The wreckage and grift of a world gone mad with poison and war.” Award winning poet Roger Aplon comments that “Buckshot Reckoning, while embracing its distinctive dark humor, is the kind of poetry we wish for but rarely find in print.”

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A poem from the book:

Eleanor’s Purse

Eleanor’s purse held many things.
Everyone’s prone to the shivers and yips
she says, curating her bag
w/a passion few possess.
This here’s for bloating she’d puff,
holding a change of face and coin
one small vial, two orange pills,
three sets of sixty, four counts of felony,
five minor headaches, six Christmas trees,
seven separate somethings.
Eight triple ply, nine bold remarks,
ten turtle doves, eleven assorted mints
twelve novellas, and

You lose at least ninety minutes of life
stuck in traffic each day she’d insist,
no stranger to the truth but not quite kin.
God wields w/o partiality
she’d note, handing you a hammer.

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Buckshot Reckoning is Jurkovic’s third title through Luchador Press, and be ordered by clicking here.

In addition to Buckshot Reckoning, his other Luchador Press titles are mooncussers and AmericanMental.  He is a 2016 Pushcart nominee.  Click here to visit his website.

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Contraband, by Juan Mobili

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…..Juan Pablo Mobili’s poems are born from living life with eyes that wish to stop seeing but remained open, and bear the record of being a citizen of one family and two countries. In them you will meet the people he loved and deeply shaped what he must pay attention to, and a personal city that keeps establishing its presence and its mark -the cadence of Buenos Aires and the rhythm of New York- full of memories of beauty and the insistent tragedies that still take place, the injustices committed on people who have not deserved them.

…..In Contraband‘s poems you will meet the poet’s mother and his father who visit long after they passed, accounts of the blessings and the curses of remembering what he has witnessed, watching the world struggling with itself and, sometimes, reaching redemption.

…..Ultimately, these are poems about a certain hard-earned joy, having managed some reconciliation with turning out the way he has, a human being-“the only animal that blushes, or needs to,” as Mark Twain wrote-still skeptical but rooting for kindness winning its fight against indifference. Molten material to shape into poems that may matter to the reader, or at least a way to make the world a more hospitable place.

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A poem from the book:

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Warm Breezes

I trust thunderstorms more than warm breezes;
there’s something forthright about their roar.
I appreciate their honesty,
being warned of what’s to come.

Summer breezes are a different story entirely;
they come with sphinx-like smiles
the type a dictator might offer you
a kind of “friendly” that precedes
a trip to the gallows, or a Ford Falcon
without plates parked outside your house,

lulling you to think it will be an ordinary day
until your best friend’s aunt calls you
and, in a clear and secret code, tells you
your friend went out for a ride
with some people we never met before,

and that’s when you wish you were a firefly
when dusk turns to full dark and your message
flickers unequivocally.

But what happened to my friend
happened when it was bright,
they came with their glass jars,
lids removed,
setting a perimeter around the yard.

When it was bright,
and the fireflies were speechless.

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Juan Pablo Mobili was born in Argentina. His poems appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, Hanging Loose Press, Paterson Literary Review, among others, as well as many journals around the world. He received multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize, and his chapbook, Contraband, was published in 2022.

Click here to visit his website

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Just Looking: Haiku Sequences About the Mississippi Delta, by Jianqing Zheng

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…..Just Looking is a collection of 41 haiku sequences published as an e-chapbook by Buttonhook Press in September 2023. It offers moments of vivid details and heightened awareness that transport them into the landscapes, domestic interiors, and communal spaces of the Mississippi Delta. Just Looking is about a visual journey into a region where the poet has lived for three decades.

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A poem from the book:

 

Music Tour Down the River

Memphis, Tennessee

……….Beale Street
……….the smell of BBQ stronger
……….than the blues

Helena, Arkansas

……….King Biscuit Blues
……….the music follows me
……….to the river pier

Clarksdale, Mississippi

……….Ground Zero juke
……….even the mic stand
……….a bit tipsy

Greenville, Mississippi

……….Delta blues
……….the casino boat
……….slightly rocking

New Orleans, Louisiana

……….death celebration
……….a jazz parade dancing
……….to the cemetery

 

 

To read the free book, please click here

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Jianqing Zheng is the author of several poetry collections or chapbooks, including The Dog Years of Reeducation (Madville Publishing) and A Way of Looking (Silverfish Review Press). His edited books include African American Haiku and Sonia Sanchez’s Poetic Spirit through Haiku. He teaches at Mississippi Valley where he edits Valley Voices: A Literary Review.

 

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See, by John L. Stanizzi

…..My latest book, SEE (number 14), is published by my dear friend, Steve Cawte, who owns and operates “Imspired Press” in London. He is not only a great friend, but a master publisher/editor.  SEE represents his latest vision.

…..I came about writing SEE after having published quite a few ekphrastic poems in The Ekphrastic Review edited by Lorette C. Luzajic, who does beautiful work, and Visual Verse in England, edited by Kristin Harrison, also brilliant.

…..Ekphrastic poetry explores art. Using a device known as ekphrasis, the poet engages with a painting, drawing, sculpture, or other form of visual art. Poetry about music and dance might also be considered a type of ekphrastic writing. The term ekphrastic originates from a Greek expression for description.

…..After having published quite a few ekphrastic pieces in these two wonderful journals, I started taking my own photographs and paintings and writing to those. After nearly five years, SEE was born. I hope you like it!  Of course, major gratitude to Joe Maita for his continuous utterly incomparable and profoundly crucial work.

Pax and best wishes. -Johnnie Stanizzi

 

 

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A poem from the book:

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The Towers of Phantom Island

“Where were you when the world stopped turning, on that September day?”
-Alan Jackson -September 11, 2001

Who has not found himself alone
half in blackness
half watching God
hinting at memories or fortunes,
wondering with some measure
of distress
whether or not
what is about to happen
will carry us with it?

Is this complacency
or restfulness?
I attempt to read the waves
of the fata morgana for you;
perhaps there is
an answer there this morning.

But no.

Subjective as the lines
of a polygraph,
I can only surmise
that a large object
is colliding
with the bottom
of a skyscraper this time.

We wonder together –
what will this mean
for the fallen,
if anything?

The sky is closing now,
and we turn
our faces away
as we must.

Long ago we learned,
then ignored,
that when the tragic occurs
we must turn away quickly,
not feeding a single
morsel of death
to that circling hunter
waiting for the exact moment
to plunge
and devour.

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John L. Stanizzi is author of Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, High Tide – Ebb Tide, Four Bits, Chants, Sundowning, POND, The Tree That Lights The Way Home, Feathers and Bones, Viper Brain, and SEE.

Besides his many appearances in Jerry Jazz Musician, John’s work has been widely published including in the journals Prairie Schooner, The Cortland Review, American Life in Poetry, Praxis, Rust & Moth, The New York Quarterly, Paterson Literary Review, The Laurel Review, The Caribbean Writer, Blue Mountain Review, Tar River Review, PoetLore, Rattle, Hawk & Handsaw, Plainsongs, and many others.

Click here to visit his website

 

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The Bookstore Book; A Memoir, by Ron Kolm

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…..I worked in New York City bookstores for over fifty years. I started in the Strand Bookstore, working with Patti Smith, Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell. There’s a poem in my book about the first night the band Television played at CBGBs. Eventually I became the night manager for Coliseum Books. During my career there I met Philip Roth, Norman Mailer and William Burroughs. I’m now employed by Posman Books in Chelsea Market, and I sell books for them at the 92nd Street Y.
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A poem from the book
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Me and Patti Smith

For a brief while
Patti Smith and I worked
in the Strand Bookstore at the same time.
I did get the chance to see her perform
with Lenny Kaye playing guitar
on a rooftop high above Grand Street,
but our main interaction happened
when she strode up to me in the store
and thrust the Caedmon recording
of James Joyce reading into my hands.
“Someone told me I looked like him
and gave me this – That’s bullshit!
I heard you like him, so it’s yours!”
I still have that record in my collection.

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Click here for more information about the book

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Ron Kolm is a contributing editor of Sensitive Skin.   He is the author of Divine Comedy, Night Shift, A Change in the Weather, Welcome to the Barbecue, Swimming in the Shallow End and The Bookstore Book: A Memoir. He’s had work in And Then, The Café Review, Gathering of the Tribes, Great Weather for Media, Maintenant, Live Mag!, Local Knowledge, NYC From the Inside, The Opiate, the Poets of Queens anthology, The Red Wheelbarrow, the Riverside Poets Anthology, The Silver Tongued Devil anthology, Sparring With Beatnik Ghosts Omnibus and the Brownstone Poets anthologies. Ron’s papers were purchased by the New York University Library.

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The Winthrop Agreement, by Alice Sherman Simpson

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…..The Winthrop Agreement (Harper-2023), a captivating story about a determined immigrant daughter’s ascent from a miserable Lower East Side tenement to the heights of haute couture—her yearning for a place in society and the secrets she must not betray. Part history, part romance. . . with a twist of gothic.

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Alice Sherman Simpson’s debut novel was  Ballroom  (Harper-2015).  Her next book,  One for Sorrows, is a contemporary novel, filled with tango and jazz.  Simpson, an accomplished visual artist, taught drawing and design at F.I.T., SVA, The New School and Otis College of Art and Design. Her artist books about dance are in Special Collections including; Lincoln Center Library for Performing Arts, Yale, Harvard, and The Victoria & Albert Library.  At eighty-two, she is still dancing tango.

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I’ll Buy Flowers Again Tomorrow: Poems of Loss and Healing, by Patricia Joslin

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…..In this first collection of somber poems written from the heart, the poet pays homage to her beloved husband of 41 years. Diagnosed with pancreas cancer in 2015, Roy Joslin bravely lived with the disease until his death in the spring of 2018. These poems echo the grief of the cancer journey so many face today, yet they offer the promise of hope and healing to those who remain behind.

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A poem from the book:

 

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Understory Runes 

As you ramble the path, regard the junctures,
choose a way to turn, then maybe turn back—
you will come to know the structure of the woods.

Notice the unfurled ferns, green-green moss,
wild mushrooms emerge from damp earth
alongside crushed leaves, pine needles.

Your feet may sluff through mud and sludge—
beneath is not death but a place for newness.
Count the rings of age on the fallen oak.

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Patricia Joslin is a poet and essayist living in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her chapbook, I’ll Buy Flowers Again Tomorrow: Poems of Loss and Healing, was published in 2023 by Charlotte Lit Press. Poems have appeared in Kakalak, Tipton Poetry Journal, New Note Poetry, Eunoia Review, and the San Antonio Review. Patricia is a former educator with a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Wisconsin and an Ed.D from the University of Minnesota. She loves live jazz, chamber music, solo travel, and her four young grandsons.

Click here to visit her website

 

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Some Birds, by George Held

 

 

 

…..Some Birds (Seattle, Goldfish Press), my 22nd poetry book or chapbook, collects 46 five-line poems about American birds, from “The Robin” and “A Hummingbird” to the “Wild Turkey” and “Owls.” Every bird is depicted in a full-color photograph on the page with my poem about it. I’m an old (28 January 1935) poet and a bird lover, a retired professor of English who took his Nature class on a guided tour of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

A poem from the book:

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Starlings

They fall in an undulating black wave
from nearby trees and power lines,
occupy my yard like starry infantry,
and waddle on the lawn, yellow beaks scarfing
up every morsel in sight…

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George Held’s work has appeared in, among other periodicals, Blue Unicorn, Spring, Transference, and Two Cities Review and has received eleven Pushcart Prize nominations.

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Cut For the Dog, by Sebastian Matthews

…..I have just launched Cut For the Dog on Substack, both as a podcast and as an accompanying newsletter. In it I explore the art and craft of personal narrative.

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…..Click here to check it out. You can subscribe for free or opt in to the $5 a month paid subscription.

 

Sebastian Matthews is the author of a memoir, In My Father’s Footsteps, and two books of poetry, We Generous and Miracle Day. His hybrid collection of poetry and prose, Beginner’s Guide to a Head-on Collision, won the Independent Publishers Book Award’s silver medal. Matthews is also the author of the collage novel The Life & Times of American Crow and a memoir-in-essays, Beyond Repair: Living in a Fractured State.

Click here to visit his website

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“Mourning Doves, Come Back to Me,” by Marco Katz Montiel, appears in the anthology There’s No Place (Renaissance Press)
Click here to view the book
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Erstwhile salsa trombonist Marco Katz Montiel (ell@/l@/su) composes poetry and prose in Spanish, English, and musical notes. Early on, he complicated a perfectly good musical career by leading a successful rent strike. Marco went to college late, and then alienated one university by pointing out blatant bigotry on campus and then got kicked to the curb by another for his involvement in a Janitors 4 Justice campaign. His essays, poems, and stories have appeared in Ploughshares, Jerry Jazz Musician, English Studies in Latin America, Copihue, Camino Real, and the anthologies Cartas de desamor y otras adicciones and There’s No Place.

Click here to visit his website

 

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Motel Stories, by William Torphy

…..A man who dances with dolls. Newlywed immigrants from opposite sides of a civil. A disgraced politician in hiding. The addict mother of an infant facing a fateful reunion with her brother. cMotel Stories, published by Portland-based Unsolicited Press, is a collection of short stories set at the Sunset Inn, a disreputable motel and refuge of last resort located on a forgotten block of Hollywood Boulevard. These stories were inspired by a week’s motel stay in Los Angeles, where I discovered a rich resource for fiction.

 

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Click here to view the book

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My short fiction has appeared in magazines and journals, including Bryant Literary Review, The Fictional Café, Sun Star Quarterly, Chelsea Station, Arlington Literary Journal, and the African journal, Lunaris. My reviews and essays have been featured in Dalhousie Review, Solstice Literary, OpEdge, Newcity, and Vox Populi. I served as an exhibition curator in the San Francisco Bay area, and now live in Wisconsin.

Click here to visit his website

 

 

 

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When The Night Breathes Electric, by Max Talley

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…..When The Night Breathes Electric, from Borda Books, features eighteen stories that range from a surreal tale of disembodied hands

residing in a medicine cabinet, to a future where technology-damaged people have territorial disputes with synthetic humans.

…..From crime fiction where evildoers are not aware they are the criminals, to a humorous take on a has-been musician trying to strike it rich by selling a million-dollar guitar. There is also psychological suspense in a European village that gives visitors everything they desire, but at a steep price.

…..When The Night Breathes Electric was influenced by collections from Ray Bradbury, Franz Kafka, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., and Aimee Bender. It is my second collection of short stories, and my fourth book.

Click here for more information about the book
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Max Talley was born in New York City and lives in Southern California. His stories have appeared in Vol.1 Brooklyn, Atticus Review,

Santa Fe Literary Review, Litro, and  The Saturday Evening Post. He won the 2021 best fiction contest in Jerry Jazz Musician for “Celestial Vagabonds,” later nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Talley’s first novel, Yesterday We Forget Tomorrow, was published in 2014, and his literary fiction collection, My Secret Place, was published in 2022 by Main Street Rag Books.

Click here to visit his website

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Words of the Day, by Paul Perilli

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…..I began writing notes about the words of the day I received in my inbox from dictionary.com. Eventually, my reactions developed into 1 to 3 page essays that I’ve published in several magazines including Thema, The Satirist, Otoliths, and other places. They’re intended to be offbeat, humorous, impromptu, and political. I’ve collected 10 of them in my chapbook Words of the Day  (Java House Press).
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You can check out two of them by clicking here
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You can order the book by clicking here
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I live in Brooklyn, NY. My piece “Market & Fifth, San Francisco, 1986” won the Jerry Jazz Musician short fiction contest #53 in 2020. My website can be viewed by clicking here.
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Flight Patterns, by Mary K O’Melveny

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,,,…..Flight Patterns, a collection of 81 poems (Kelsay Books 2023), has been nominated for the Eric Hoffer Literary Prize. The book has been praised as “imaginative,” “courageous” and “beautiful” and filled with “fresh imagery” as well as “accessible” poetry.

…..The book has been lauded for its “fierce and tender” take on issues ranging from climate change to migration to age, injustice, the beauties of nature and earth’s many creatures (winged and otherwise), as well as the ways that faith can improve our world. One reviewer noted that “the author’s appreciation for the natural world shines through in poems that grapple with human, love, losses and failings.”

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A poem from the book:

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A Monarch Butterfly Poses Some Questions

Do you remember the noise of my wings?
A lace veil as it flirts with a summer breeze.
A blade of grass as it shakes off morning dew.

In Mexico, a million of us sound like waterfalls.
At rest, we cling to tree limbs like gold, onyx,
ivory jewelry that has been hidden from thieves.

We fly high above sleeping migrants everywhere,
whose hopes pirouette in zephyrs and exospheres
as they dream of flight patterns to safety.

Do you recall the first time you saw one of us?
How you were awed by our delicate wings, how
we landed like a first kiss on a purple cone flower?

How you imagined what it would be like to float,
unfettered, without apology? Without accountability?
How it takes so little to ignite imagination’s fiery call.

Our journeys from your garden to jungle sanctuaries
span generations. Some days the ground is littered
with scales that resemble coins from Spanish galleons.

I have been airborne for 2,500 miles. I have traversed
obstacles my ancestors never knew: poisoned fields,
droughts, drones and planes, wildfires, clearcut forests.

Still, think of that moment of lift, when air currents
lick your skin as a lover might. Always optimists,
we remain your ardent guides to Elysian Fields.

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Click here for more information about the book

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Flight Patterns  is Mary K O’Melveny’s fourth book of poetry.  Mary, a retired labor rights lawyer, has been published in many print and on-line literary journals and anthologies and national blog sites. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Mary has also won or been a finalist in several poetry competitions and received award recognition in national and international contests. Her other poetry volumes are  A Woman of a Certain AgeMerging Star Hypotheses  and  Dispatches From The Memory Care Museum.  Mary is also a co-author of two anthologies of writings by the Hudson Valley Women’s Writing Group:  An Apple In Her Hand and Rethinking the Ground Rules.   Mary lives near Woodstock, New York.

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Click here to view her website

 

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Life Lines, by Mary Corbin

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…..Life Lines may be long or short, but they always intersect. They reveal our unique differences while exposing our parallel lives with others. This collection of heartfelt stories explores the inextricable ties we have with people and place and how these relationships shape us, carry us, and determine the storyline of our lives. Readers will meet characters from diverse backgrounds navigating unexpected life events and relationships that require thoughtful consideration and careful action, laying bare the emotional human experience; loneliness and exclusion, introspection and agency, the precarious nature of being, identity, gratitude, transcendence, and resolution.

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Click here for more information about the book

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Mary Corbin  is an artist and writer based in San Francisco and a graduate of California College of the Arts. This is her second book and her first book of fiction. Whether in paint on canvas or words on a page, Mary seeks common ground by capturing a simple moment, thought, or gesture of the ordinary while suggesting the mysterious layers that lie beneath the surface. This contemplation is her constant source material.

 

 

 

 

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Girl in Tulips, by Julianne DiNenna

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…..Girl in Tulips is part lyric, part incantation and prayer, part memoir of love and longing.  We travel into the underworld of wards with intimacy, wonder, provocation, observing the intricacies of family relationships while tottering on the edge of hope, as DiNenna’s poems take us through the zodiac and seasons of childhood illness, calling us to bear witness to the unseen, the unheard.
…..These poems tell the story of one girl’s struggle for life, the sacredness of childhood and innocence, with tenderness, astonishment, and transformation. You will land in places you never thought you’d visit with people you never expected to meet.  DiNenna’s poems are intellectual and spiritual, existential and surreal, environmental and profound. A debut collection shockingly candid, offering peace and a place to grieve, hope, and yearn.
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A poem from the book:
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Demi Lavato Sings Us Taps

How divine to hear Demi sing us Taps
For our lost colors, white stars, and red stripes
Our families are broken and strapped
Among fragments of stained glass and burst pipes
Alongside houses swamped from pouring cloud
Young doctors labor to revive failed breath
Illicit militias play war in woods, proud
Unmasked, they pretend to ward off death
Yet Demi sang for our fallen spangled banner
And reached out to an adoring teenage girl
Wrapped in a burgundy scarf, in quiet manner
At the base of the stage, her face beamed a pearl
Holy Demi took her hand as the band played
and shared sweet suffering and tender serenade.

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Click here for more information about the book
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Julianne DiNenna, originally from Washington, DC, lives in Switzerland and has worked all over the world. Her poetry, essays, and short stories have appeared in: Literary Mama; And If That Mockingbird Don’t Sing; Unruly Catholic Feminists (SUNY); Rattle; the Journal of Compressed Creative Arts; Rise Up Review; Months to Years; Adanna Literary Journal; Jerry Jazz Musician; Stanford Medical blog; Gyroscope Review; Italy, a Love Story; Every Day Fiction; Susan B & Me; Grasslands Review; as well as others. She was finalist in Harbor Editions Marginalia series, semi-finalist in the Wicked Woman Book Prize of BrickHouse Books, and winner of poetry prizes.  Girl in Tulips  is her first poetry collection.

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Entangled: a collaboration across time and space, by Dr. Melinda A. Smith and debora ewing
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…..Dr. Melinda A. Smith had a vision and started building a science-based poetry anthology in 2019. Then the world shut down.  But we didn’t let go of the thread. In collaboration with artist and writer debora Ewing, this ethereal vision deposited into the solid form of a book.
…..Entangled conveys a love of science in the quest for answers to our hearts: why are we?  Through poetry, we communicate our findings. All these things are all the same.
…..Our poets are published in the science community as well as in poetry and literary journals. We also write and perform music, create visual art, and work in the community toward climate change. A portion of proceeds from this book go to support women in STEM.
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debora ewing is Global Content Editor at Igneus Press and peer reviewer for Consilience Science-Based Poetry Journal. Her blog at FolkWORKS.org explores musicians who are also artists. deb is known for using her outdoor voice all the time and not staying in her lane.  She’s published worldwide at Beyond Words Literary Magazine, Dodging the Rain, and here (Jerry Jazz Musician).

(Editor’s Note: Debora’s short story “Coloring Outside the Lines” was the first winning story in the Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest, published in October of 2002. The contest is currently in its 66th edition)

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After training as a neuroscientist, Melinda Smith traded a pipet for a pen
and hasn’t looked back (memories are false constructs, anyway.) Her debut novella SUM (2022, Ellipsis Imprints) explores w hat it means to love and be human, told through the eyes of Matt (an AI who’s passionate about things like heavy metal and idioms.)  Under the artist name Iambic Beats, Melinda produces albums that combine spoken word poetry with original electronic music.

Find more about her at sciencegeekmel.com, iambicbeats.com,
or on twitter @sciencegeekmel. Find less about her by inventing
time travel and going back a few minutes.
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Waiting for Sunset to Bury Red Camellias, by Miho Kinnas

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…..Here is the third poetry collection by Miho Kinnas, including the poem anthologized in Best American Poetry 2023.  Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, her unique, sophisticated voice keeps pushing the boundary of what brevity can accomplish. She writes about the state of being by interweaving love, books, travel, family, women and history.

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A poem from the book

 

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Arpeggio
…………Listening to Contemplation

Warming
hands around
my coffee cup
it is the last day of May
winter never leaves
summer without you
pauses the time
seeping through
thick layers
of water
above
gathering the broken
arpeggio
groping
for you.

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Click here for more information about the book

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Miho is a Japanese writer, translator and poet who lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. She also co-authored a book of collaborative poetry, they call it Twoness Poems,  We Eclipse into the Other Side (Pinyon Publishing) with E. Ethelbert Miller in May 2023. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the City University of Hong Kong.

 

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Fig Season, by Joan Bauer

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…..Fig Season, my third full-length collection, explores what it has meant to me to be Italian American. The book mingles stories about my own quirky family with portraits of Fellini, Frank Zappa, Diane di Prima, Pasolini, Enrico Fermi, Anna Magnani, John Fante, Elsa Schiaparelli, and more.  In writing about history, culture and family, I hope to share what I’ve learned, over time, about love and vanity, courage and forgiveness.  Literary influences include Jan Beatty, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Ed Ochester and Gerald Stern, among others.
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A poem from the book
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Dear Federico

Tonight, we’re watching Amarcord,
your dream-mix of homage, fable & satire.

The boisterous half-grown schoolboy Titta,
the fiery father, the long-suffering mother.

Not your true story, but a surreal comedy.
Odd characters, much like your first humorous

columns in Rome’s bi-weekly Marc’Aurelio:
diva, handyman, maid, tobacconist, portrayed

with affection, alongside articles attacking France,
Roosevelt & the Jews. Fascist Italy, 1939.

Politics was never your province. Hard
to hate anyone, even the Blackshirts?

When Titta’s father is arrested, suspected
of broadcasting ‘The Internationale’

from the church tower to mock the Fascists,
he’s not killed, but forced to drink an oozy

flood of castor oil. Then the comic washdown.
True, the ocean liner Rex never sailed past

Rimini, your hometown, but each year, a bonfire
to celebrate winter’s end. The spoofing of priests

& schoolmasters, the gorgeous & gullible Grandisca.
I love this movie. The nymphomaniac, the crazy uncle.

The breath-stealing beauty of the snowfall, the peacock.
Was it Rossellini who urged you, Federico,

to become a director? A good job for a liar:
you have to pretend to know everything.

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— Previously published in Main Street Rag

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Click here for more information about the book
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My previous books are The Camera Artist (Turning Point, 2021) and The Almost Sound of Drowning (Main Street, 2008).  For some years I worked as a teacher and counselor.  I divide my time between Venice, CA and Pittsburgh, PA where I co-host the Hemingway’s Summer Poetry Series with Kristofer Collins.
 
 
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 If This Isn’t Love, by Susana Case

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…..My new book, If This Isn’t Love, published by Broadstone Books, is structured around the telenovela and the messages women learn about the nature of love through this medium when they are young. Plot lines from an Italian telenovela, Un Posto al Sole, which has run in Italy for over 25 years are interspersed with non-soap-opera takes on romantic relationships, which at times are horrendously similar. I was inspired to organize the collection in this way when I stumbled across the filming of one of the episodes of the telenovela while visiting Procida, an island in the Bay of Naples. This is my ninth full-length collection and I have also had five chapbooks published.
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Click here for more information about the book
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Susana H. Case, Ph. D., is the author of nine books of poetry. If This Isn’t Love, from Broadstone Books (2023) is her newest. The Damage Done, from Broadstone Books, won a Pinnacle Award for Best Poetry Book. Dead Shark on the N Train, from Broadstone Books (2020), also won a Pinnacle Book Award for Best Poetry Book, as well as a NYC Big Book Awards Distinguished Favorite, and was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award.

 

Click here to visit her website

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The Wild Parrots of Marigny, by Diane Elayne Dees
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…..The Wild Parrots of Marigny (Querencia Press), Diane Elayne Dees’s third poetry chapbook, explores life in New Orleans and Louisiana—the oddities, the frustrations, the unique culture, and the sometimes breathtaking natural beauty. Hurricanes, egrets, jazz, Creole tomatoes, the big oil spill, and Louisiana’s swamp splendor are all included in this collection.
…..“…Through her careful wordcraft we come to value life in the Mississippi Delta region from egrets to storm victims, Creole tomato aficionados and pine bark beetles to the devastated unhoused….Diving headlong into some form of wreckage that was once Louisiana and New Orleans after the ‘natural disaster’ that was Hurricane Katrina, her poems revive the battered corpse of memory, collective and individual….”
—Jan Keough, editor, Origami Poems Project
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A poem from the book
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Lament For Louisiana

Each day the fragile coastline slips away,
a sedge, a heron’s home, an eagle’s nest,
will vanish before the sky folds into gray.

The egrets in the Atchafalaya Bay,
the marsh hen with its shining azure crest—
each day the fragile coastline slips away,

leaving no safe place for them to stay.
The spoonbill with the banded golden breast
will vanish. Before the sky folds into gray,

you still can see a glorious display,
as the roseate sun glides slowly to the west
each day. The fragile coastline slips away

as bold raccoons and river otters play.
The black bear, who was once a welcome guest,
will vanish before the sky folds into gray.

The rich blue view of iris in array
alongside swamp rose mallow finely dressed—
each day the fragile coastline slips away—
will vanish before the sky folds into gray.

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Diane is also the author of the chapbooks, Coronary Truth (Kelsay Books) and The Last Time I Saw You (Finishing Line Press).
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Bright-Eyed, by Sarah Sarai

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…..My new poetry collection, Bright-Eyed  (from Poets Wear Prada)  is now available on Amazon. I am in love with the book which is “about” my family’s transition to L.A. from N.Y. – the subsequent unfolding of experience. In the Valley, the Crenshaw District, Echo Park, and so on. This is my fourth collection, and builds on earlier themes, but also spotlights the west and family.

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Click here to watch Sarah Sarai read “No One’s In High School These Days,” from Bright-Eyed

Click here to view the book on Amazon

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Sarah Sarai is author of the 2024 poetry collection Bright-Eyed (Poets Wear Prada), as well as That Strapless Bra in Heaven (Kelsay Books/2019); Geographies of Soul and Taffeta (Indolent Books/2016); and The Future Is Happy (BlazeVOX[books]/2009). Her poems are widely anthologized, most notably in Gerald LaFemina’s Composing Poetry, a Guide to Writing Poems and Thinking Lyrically (Kendall Hunt Publishing); Like a Fat Gold Watch: Poetic Responses to Sylvia Plath (FGW); Say It Loud: Poems About James Brown (Whirlwind).

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Click here to read the first edition of the Community Bookshelf

Click here to read The Sunday Poem

Click here to read “A Collection of Jazz Poetry – Winter, 2024 Edition”

Click here to read “The Old Casino,” J.B. Marlow’s winning story in the 64th Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest

Click here for information about how to submit your poetry or short fiction

Click here to subscribe to the (free) Jerry Jazz Musician quarterly newsletter

Click here to help support the ongoing publication of Jerry Jazz Musician, and to keep it commercial-free (thank you!)

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Jerry Jazz Musician…human produced (and AI-free) since 1999

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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

The cover to Nina Simone's 1967 album "SIlk and Soul"
“Brown Girl” by Jerrice J. Baptiste

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

Interview

Michael Cuscuna in 1972
From the Interview Archive: Jazz Producer, Discographer, and Entrepreneur Michael Cuscuna...Few music industry executives have had as meaningful an impact on jazz music as Michael Cuscuna, who passed away on April 20 at the age of 75. I had the privilege of interacting with Michael several times over the years, including this wide-ranging 2019 interview I conducted with him. His energy and vision was deeply admired within the jazz world. May his spirit for the music and its culture continue to impact those of us who remain.

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

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

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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