Great Encounters #16: When drummer Joe Morello joined the Dave Brubeck Quartet

April 29th, 2005

 

Great Encounters 

 

Book excerpts that chronicle famous encounters among twentieth-century cultural icons

 

 

When drummer Joe Morello joined the Dave Brubeck Quartet

Photo Paul Desmond Collection

 

Excerpted from

Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond

by

Doug Ramsey

__________________

     By the fall of 1956, Joe Dodge was worn down by the travel and the intense schedule and wanted to be with his family.  He told Brubeck it was time to look for another drummer. In the Quartet’s New York stays, Desmond had heard Marian McPartland’s trio and was impressed with Joe Morello, the drummer who had been working with her since 1953. Morello, born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1928, played there with alto saxophonist Phil Woods and guitarist Sal Salvador before he moved to New York in 1952. After short stints with guitarist Johnny Smith and with Stan Kenton’s band, he settled in at the Hickory House for a long run with McPartland and quickly became a musicians’ favorite in New York for his time, touch and a technique that equalled Buddy Rich’s.  Tall, quiet and diffident, with thick glasses to aid his drastically poor vision, Morello looked to McPartland “less like a drummer than a student of nuclear physics.”  Morello could swing firmly at low volume. With McPartland he used wire brushes, rarely his sticks. NBC-TV’s Dave Garroway, a canny jazz listener, said that Morello’s touch on his cymbals was like a butterfly’s wing. That was the kind of drumming Paul heard at the Hickory House. It fit his ideal of what drumming should be. He enthusiastically recommended Morello to Brubeck.

“Paul told me we should hire Joe Morello. He said Morello was a fantastic drummer who always played softly, with brushes,” Brubeck said. “I went over to hear him with Marian and was knocked out.”

Morello remembered Brubeck and Desmond coming into the Hickory House several times to listen to the McPartland Trio. “I had been planning on leaving Marian’s group anyway,” Morello recalled. “There was an audition and an offer from Tommy Dorsey, but his manager got cute with money and while that was on hold, Dave called and asked if I would be interested in joining his group.”

Morello did not jump at the opportunity.

“I met him at the Park Sheraton in New York, where he was staying. I told him the times I’d heard his band at Birdland, the spotlight was on him and Paul, and the bass player and drummer were out to lunch in the background somewhere. I told him I wanted to play, wanted to improve myself. He said, “Well, I’ll feature you.”

The Brubeck group left on a tour. When the Quartet returned, Morello said, he told Dave, “Let’s try it. Maybe you won’t like my playing and I won’t like the group. There’s no use signing anything until we’re really sure.”  In lieu of a contract, they exchanged telegrams confirming their intentions.

“Two days later,” Morello said, “I got a call from Tommy Dorsey’s manager. He said, ‘You got the job. Tommy’s gonna give you the money.’  I told him it was too late, I’d just signed with Brubeck. ‘Oh, you don’t want to play in Birdland all your life,’ he said. ‘Look what we did for Buddy Rich and Louis Bellson.’ I told him, ‘You didn’t do anything for Buddy Rich and Louis Bellson. Look what they did for your band.'”

Brubeck sent Morello some of the Quartet’s records so that he could hear the pieces they would play on his first appearance with the band, a television show in Chicago. Morello flew there from New York.

“I went right to the TV studio,” Morello said. “Dave was flying in from somewhere. They showed up about fifteen minutes before air time. We ran down some tunes. He’d sent me a couple of simple little tunes, time-change things, nothing serious. You listen to it once and you can do it. I think they were “I’m In a Dancing Mood,” and “The Trolley Song.” There was a little transition in the way of time; it was no big deal. Dave introduced me on TV as his new drummer. When it was over, Dave said to the guys, ‘Joe played these things like he wrote ’em.’  It was very nice. But, really, they were very simple. So, it went fine and then we went into the Blue Note for a week.”

That night at the club, Brubeck urged Morello to use sticks and assigned him a solo. Morello said that the solo got “a little standing ovation.” Desmond left the stand for the dressing room. “At the end of the drum solo, he just took off,” Morello said. When Brubeck got there at the end of the set, Desmond wheeled on him and presented an ultimatum:  “Morello goes or I go.”  Brubeck said, “Well, he’s not going.”

“Joe could do things I’d never heard anybody else do,” Brubeck said. “I wanted to feature him. Paul objected. He wanted a guy who played time and was unobtrusive. I discovered that Joe’s time concept was like mine, and I wanted to move in that direction. Paul said I had to get another drummer, I told him I wouldn’t. I didn’t know whether Paul and Norman would show up the next night. They came to a record session at Columbia in Chicago during the day, but they wouldn’t play. So Joe and I played for three hours. And they told me they were going to leave the group. And I said, ‘well, there’ll be a void on the stand tonight because Joe’s not leaving.”

“So, I went to the job and, boy, was I relieved to see Paul and Norman. But I wasn’t going to be bluffed out of Joe. It was not discussed again. That was the end of it. Paul knew that Morello was one of the greatest drummers who ever lived, but what he wanted was a steady beat. Some nights Joe would do more than that and Paul would say, ‘Please don’t do adventures behind me.’ Later, of course, Joe and Paul became very close.”

In the months following the failed bluff, what Brubeck has called an “armistice” was set up, but the situation more closely resembled the edgy cease-fires of Sarajevo or Belfast. After New Yorker writer Robert Rice traveled extensively with the Quartet on tour, he described the hostilities in a profile for the magazine.

“…bloody war was likely to rage whenever the Quartet played, with Brubeck doing his best to mediate between Morello on the one hand and Bates and Desmond on the other. Morello would play some passage that Desmond considered to be in abominable taste, and Desmond would express his feelings by blowing a strident parody of it on the horn — and then become doubly incensed when the audience, as often happened, cheered the horn passage. Or else Morello, who is utterly unbending about the prerogative of a jazz group’s rhythm section to guard a tempo once it has been set, would hear Bates accelerating to keep up with his leader — who, like many jazz pianists, tends to play faster when he becomes excited — and would start kicking the bass drum furiously in what he considered the correct time, a procedure so noisy that it couldn’t help bringing back the strays, and that won Morello the hatred of Bates. On one occasion, in what he now sees as a fairly infantile gesture of defiance, Morello took a drum solo at such an exaggeratedly fast tempo that Bates had to play in half time, Desmond simply walked off the stage, and even Brubeck’s neck got red with fury; at the end of that concert, Desmond strode over to Morello, said, ‘All right. I’ll take a full-page ad in Down Beat saying that I can’t play fast. Will that satisfy you?,’ and strode away again. Things got so bad that for a time Morello insisted on setting up his drums on the opposite side of the piano from Bates, so that he wouldn’t hear the bass at all, while Desmond hardly ever played more than two or three choruses at a time, and only Brubeck, who had to try to play hard enough for four men, was on speaking terms with everyone else in the group.”

There were serious disagreements among musicians over whether Morello’s feet may have been just a trifle faster than even Buddy Rich’s. He was unfazed by polyrhythms and unusual time signatures. Morello was not about to let all those chops go to waste, and neither was Brubeck. But it was clear to Desmond from the outset that in his musical life, Lester Young’s ideal of a little tinky-boom was a rapidly-receding golden memory.

Norman Bates saw the conflict from inside the battle. “When you consider the combination of Dave and Paul, who’s now making this small sound on the alto saxophone, if I can call it that, you will see that there had to be something to hit the fan with. Someone had to be forceful, had to show real power. So between Dave and Paul, I think, the arrangement was that Dave would do all the barking that needed to be done. Now, they’ve got Joe Morello, and he rapidly adjusted himself away from the very well-integrated, consistent piano of Marian McPartland, but, with that as a model, he didn’t know what to do. Joe had to learn how to adapt himself by not participating in Dave’s excursions. So, we found Joe, during Dave’s solos, studying the ceiling while knitting softly with a pair of brushes until it was his time to shine, which was a solo. Well, when he’d catch Paul playing a repeating phrase of some kind that had some rhythm content to it, some simple pattern, Joe, as soon as he recognized the pattern, would join right in and play something that was in his mind appropriate and called for. Paul didn’t like that at all,” Bates said. “He didn’t want to be shoved, or muscled, or bound, or confined.”

Brubeck was able to make the center hold through all the internecine battles over tempos, volume, and drum fills during Desmond’s solos. Despite their powerful disagreements about how Morello’s skills should be deployed, Brubeck was able to take advantage of the respect Morello and Desmond had for one another’s abilities. The respect was ultimately to grow into genuine affection, but that was at the end of a rough road.

Bates said, “Paul’s comment when Morello was still trying to join in and being advised what he should and should not do, was, ‘This is the death of the Quartet,’ simply. If he had played like Pete Brown, then the two of them would have had a lot to say to each other. But by this time, he was not playing like that. He was playing in the way that people expected him to play and that was good enough for him, and that had to be good enough for anybody else.”

“For a while it was uncomfortable with Paul,” Morello told me. “But as time went on, it worked out. We became very close and used to hang out together. The last four or five years we hung out quite a lot, actually.” Morello’s phrasing and inflection were uncannily like Desmond’s when he said that.

“I think the world of Paul,” Morello said. “No, it was more than that. I loved the guy.”

Morello’s advent laid the groundwork for the adventuring that allowed the Brubeck group’s success with unorthodox time experimentation. In the meantime, Columbia had them recording on a demanding schedule, a new album every quarter. They made a succession of theme-related LPs like Southern Scene, Gone With The Wind and Dave Digs Disney and a continuation of the college concert motif. Ted Gioia wrote, “By the time of Jazz Goes To Junior College in 1957, the band’s umpteenth live campus date, it seemed as if the move to junior colleges came about because Brubeck had gone through all the four-year institutions around.”

After his old friend Morello joined the Brubeck group, Phil Woods began paying more attention to the band and to Desmond. He and his pal Gene Quill may still have been wearing their altos like six guns on their hips, but they could no longer dismiss Desmond as just another effete saxophonist from west of the Hudson. Like other open-minded Charlie Parker disciples, they recognized Desmond’s musicianship and his individuality.

“With wisdom — well, maybe not wisdom, but a with a modicum of maturity — I got to appreciate Paul,” Woods said, “because he was a great alto player. The older I get, the more I appreciate him. I heard a lot of Lester Young in his playing, the economy factor, always finding the one note that would work. He didn’t try to sound like Bird. Neither did Lee Konitz. They didn’t do any false posturing or any vaudevillian vulgarisms. They played who they were and they were both gentlemen.” Woods paused. “I think one of my most successful pieces is the one I wrote for Paul, from my album I Remember. It’s called ‘Paul.’ I tried to capture his musical thing, and it’s one of my more satisfying compositions. I’m sorry he never heard it.”

Gerry Mulligan, the baritone saxophonist whose quartet’s rise in favor and fame paralleled the increasing success of the Brubeck group, was an inveterate sitter-in. When he made an impromptu guest appearance with Brubeck at a Carnegie Hall concert in 1954, he and Desmond enjoyed the rapport and discussed the possibility of recording together. Label conflicts prevented it then. Desmond was signed with Fantasy, Mulligan had other label obligations. Finally, a swap became possible when Norman Granz agreed to allow Stan Getz, one of his Verve artists, to record with Fantasy’s Cal Tjader in exchange for Desmond’s recording with Mulligan. In August, 1957, the saxophonists went into the studio with Mulligan’s bassist, Joe Benjamin, and drummer, Dave Bailey, for two sessions that produced a twelve-inch LP. The pianoless format appealed to both men, and the record is relaxed, wry and witty, with tight, often interactive playing. They did a blues and an assortment of standards, some retitled in line with Desmond’s and Mulligan’s love for word play. “All The Things You Are” became “Battle Hymn of the Republican.” “These Foolish Things” emerged as “Wintersong,” “My Heart Stood Still” as “Standstill,” “Let’s Fall in Love” as “Fall Out.” They also played Mulligan’s “Line for Lyons,” which became a staple of Desmond’s repertoire in later years.

In early 1958, with a world tour for the State Department in the offing, Norman Bates elected to get off the road and return to San Francisco. Morello recommended Eugene Wright as Bates’s replacement in the Brubeck Quartet. He had heard Wright night after night in Cal Tjader’s quintet, when the two bands played opposite each other at the Blackhawk, and was impressed. Wright had led his own band, the Dukes of Swing, when he was in his early twenties in his native Chicago, then worked with Gene Ammons, Count Basie, Arnett Cobb, Buddy DeFranco and Red Norvo. When he joined Brubeck, he had been the bassist for three years in the remarkable edition of the Tjader Quartet that also included pianist Vince Guaraldi. Tall, a powerful bassist with a commanding presence, he satisfied Desmond’s basic requirements of steadiness and swing. Wright’s roots were always firmly attached to the basics, but his mind was open to new musical ideas. He was interested in Brubeck’s time explorations. Still, when Brubeck asked him to join the band, Wright had his doubts.

“I went over to his house so we could try each other out,” Wright said. ‘Brother Can You Spare a Dime,’ that’s the first one he pulled out for us to play. We did the introduction and the first chorus, then we started smokin’, and we started laughin’, ‘cause we got to groovin’, just the two of us, and Dave said, ‘Eugene Wright, you happy?’ and I said, ‘Dave, if you’re happy, I’m happy. I’ll take the job.’ But I told him, ‘I don’t know if I can make it with your friends.’”

When he got together with all three, Wright discovered a high level of musicianship, and he found a bond with Morello resembling the instant rapport that Brubeck and Desmond had discovered a decade earlier.

“Right away, Joe and I were as one. It was like Jo Jones and Walter Page with Count Basie. It was right from the beginning. Joe Morello and I locked up immediately. Joe’s out of New York and he had that thing — Ben Webster and all those guys loved him because he had that little extra thing you need. When musicians used to ask me how I could play with that band, I told them they weren’t listening. I told them I was the bottom, the foundation; Joe was the master of time; Dave handled the polytonality and polyrhythms; we all freed Paul to be lyrical. Everybody was listening to everybody. It was beautiful. Those people who couldn’t accept it were looking, not listening.”

Officials at East Carolina College in Greenville, South Carolina, were looking. Wright was to make his first appearance with the Quartet there on February 5, 1958. With a gymnasium full of students waiting to hear the band, the dean of the university told Brubeck they would have to play without Wright. Iola Brubeck recalled, “This was the one where the university president said he didn’t want another Little Rock.” Four months earlier in Arkansas, Little Rock High School was integrated under the protection of Federal marshals and troops from the National Guard and the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army. The south was in turmoil over school integration.

“I couldn’t go on because I was black,” Wright said. “So Dave said, ‘Well, listen, if my bass player can’t go on stage, then we won’t be going on, either.’ So it went from the dean to the mayor to the governor. That had never happened before.’” Brubeck, as fierce in his sense of justice as he was adamant in defense of his music, refused to back down to a system of segregation he abhorred.

Word of what was happening leaked out to the students crammed onto the floor of the gym and into bleachers along the sides. They began stamping their feet in favor of Wright’s playing. Brubeck said that to the musicians waiting in the dressing rooms below, it sounded like a thundering herd of buffalo.

“Finally,” Wright said, “the governor told the man, ‘I guess you’ll have to let him play.’ Those students were so mad. They’d been waiting for an hour and a half. When we did hit the stand, man, we were smokin,’ burnin.’ After that nonsense, for some reason we were really up. We hit and, man, we played a straight hour and fifteen minutes. That was the very first time I played with Paul, and I really heard him play. Dave laid out for some reason or other. Joe and I started marchin’ on him, boy, right in the pocket. What a lot of drummers and a lot of bass players don’t know, is that you never start forte. You drop down, and that’s what got Paul. He had plenty of room and air to build. He built about fifteen choruses. I can’t remember what the tune was, a standard.

“We started him here.” Wright put his hand at chest level and slowly raised it. “And about two, three choruses, he started stretching out, and we moved it up another notch. We got him to such a peak that when he finished that solo, where Dave would normally come in and play a solo behind it, he had to play the last eight bars and take it right out. The house came down. We had to wait about five minutes, six minutes before they they cooled down. ‘Cause they were aware of what was happening. People are funny. They can sense things, the audience, especially the ones who love music. And, boy, he just stopped the house.”

The musicians who came to be called the classic Dave Brubeck Quartet had gone through their baptism of racist fire. Now, they were off to see the world.

Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond

by

Doug Ramsey

__________

     Excerpted from Parkside Publications, Inc. Excerpted by permission of the author and Parkside Publications.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Share this:

2 comments on “Great Encounters #16: When drummer Joe Morello joined the Dave Brubeck Quartet”

  1. […] in that it is performed at a faster tempo than the version that was released as a single. I read an interesting blog post a while ago that explains how Joe Morello’s arrival almost broke up the Dave Brubeck Quartet, […]

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

"Zambramomania" by Roberto Nucci/CC BY-NC-SA-4.0 DEED
“The Eye Tapes…Monument to my Jazzy Eye” by Anita Lerek

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.

Black History

The Harlem Globetrotters/photo via Wikimedia Commons
A Black History Month Profile: The Harlem Globetrotters...In this 2005 interview, Ben Green, author of Spinning the Globe: The Rise, Fall, and Return to Greatness of the Harlem Globetrotters, discusses the complex history of the celebrated Black touring basketball team.

Black History

photo of Zora Neale Hurston by Carl Van Vechten/Library of Congress
A Black History Month Profile: Zora Neale Hurston...In a 2002 interview, Carla Kaplan, editor of Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters, talks about the novelist, anthropologist, playwright, folklorist, essayist and poet

Black History

Eubie Blake
A Black History Month Profile – Pianist and composer Eubie Blake...In this 2021 Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Eubie Blake biographers Ken Bloom and Richard Carlin discuss the legendary composer of American popular song and jazz during the 20th century

Feature

Jamie Branch's 2023 album "Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war))"
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 - including the late trumpeter Jamie Branch's Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war))

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.

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.

Poetry

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

Playlist

“Latin Tinges in Modern Jazz” – a playlist by Bob Hecht...A nine-hour long Spotify playlist featuring songs by the likes of Horace Silver, Lee Morgan, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Ahmad Jamal, and Dizzy Gillespie that demonstrates how the Latin music influence on jazz has been present since the music’s beginnings.

Poetry

[Columbia Legacy]
“On Becoming A Jazz Fanatic In The Early 1970’s” – 20 linked short poems by Daniel Brown

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.

Feature

George Shearing/Associated Booking Corporation/James Kriegsmann, New York, via Wikimedia Commons
True Jazz Stories: “An Evening With George,” by Terry Sanville...The writer tells his story of playing guitar with a symphony orchestra, backing up jazz legend George Shearing.

Short Fiction

Defense Visual Information Distribution Service/via Picryl.com
“Afloat” – a finalist in the 64th Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest – is about a troubled man in his 40s who lessens his worries by envisioning himself and loved ones on a boat that provides safety and ease for all of them.

Poetry

The poet Connie Johnson in 1981
In a Place of Dreams: Connie Johnson’s album of jazz poetry, music, and life stories...A collection of the remarkable poet's work is woven among her audio readings, a personal narrative of her journey and music she considers significant to it, providing readers the chance to experience the full value of her gifts.

Book Excerpt

Book Excerpt from Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The Jazz Singer Who Transformed American Song, by Judith Tick...The author writes about highlights of Ella’s career, and how the significance of her Song Book recordings is an example of her “becoming” Ella.

Community

Nominations for the Pushcart Prize XLVIII

Interview

photo courtesy of Henry Threadgill
Interview with Brent Hayes Edwards, co-author (with Henry Threadgill) of Easily Slip Into Another World: A Life in Music...The author discusses his work co-written with Threadgill, the composer and multi-instrumentalist widely recognized as one of the most original and innovative voices in contemporary music, and the winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

Poetry

art by Russell duPont
Three jazz poets…three jazz poems...Takes on love and loss, and memories of Lady Day, Prez, Ella, Louis, Dolphy and others…

Playlist

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
“A Baker’s Dozen Playlist of Ella Fitzgerald Specialties from Five Decades,” as selected by Ella biographer Judith Tick...Chosen from Ella’s entire repertoire, Ms. Tick’s intriguing playlist (with brief commentary) is a mix of studio recordings, live dates, and video, all available for listening here.

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 #170

photo of Dexter Gordon by Brian McMillen
This bassist played with (among others) Charlie Parker, Erroll Garner, Nat King Cole and Dexter Gordon (pictured), was one of the earliest modern jazz tuba soloists, and was the only player to turn down offers to join both Duke Ellington’s Orchestra and the Louis Armstrong All-Stars. Who is he?

Interview

From the Interview Archive: A 2011 conversation with Alyn Shipton, author of Hi-De-Ho: The Life of Cab Calloway...In this interview, Shipton discusses Cab Calloway, whose vocal theatrics and flamboyant stage presence made him one of the country’s most beloved entertainers.

Community

Nominations for the Pushcart Prize XLVIII...announcing the six Jerry Jazz Musician-published writers nominated for the prestigious literary award

Poetry

Gotfryd, Bernard, photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“Devotion” – a poem and 11 “Musings on Monk,” by Connie Johnson

Photography

photo of Mal Waldron by Giovanni Piesco
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).

Interview

Leffler, Warren K/Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
A Black History Month Profile: Civil Rights Leader Bayard Rustin...

Community

FOTO:FORTEPAN / Kölcsey Ferenc Dunakeszi Városi Könyvtár / Petanovics fényképek, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
.“Community Bookshelf, #1"...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…

Short Fiction

photo by Thomas Leuthard/Wikimedia Commons
“The Winslows Take New Orleans” a short story by Mary Liza Hartong...This story, a finalist in the recently concluded 64th Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest, tells the tale of Uncle Cheapskate and Aunt Whiner, those pesky relatives you love to hate and hate to love.

Short Fiction

painting of Gaetano Donizetti by Francesco Coghetti/via Wikimedia Commons
“A Single Furtive Tear” – a short story by Dora Emma Esze...A short-listed entry in the recently concluded 64th Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest, the story is a heartfelt, grateful monologue to one Italian composer, dead and immortal of course, whose oeuvre means so much to so many of us.

Interview

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Interview with Alyn Shipton, author of The Gerry Mulligan 1950’s Quartets...Long regarded as jazz music’s most eminent baritone saxophonist, Gerry Mulligan was a central figure in “cool” jazz whose contributions to it also included his important work as a composer and arranger. Noted jazz scholar Alyn Shipton, author of The Gerry Mulligan 1950s Quartets, and Jerry Jazz Musician contributing writer Bob Hecht discuss Mulligan’s unique contributions to modern jazz.

Book Excerpt

“Chick” Webb was one of the first virtuoso drummers in jazz and an innovative bandleader dubbed the “Savoy King,” who reigned at Harlem’s world-famous Savoy Ballroom. Stephanie Stein Crease is the first to fully tell Webb’s story in her biography, Rhythm Man: Chick Webb and the Beat that Changed America…The book’s entire introduction is excerpted here.

Short Fiction

pixabay.com via Picryl.com
“The Silent Type,” a short story by Tom Funk...The story, a finalist in the recently concluded 64th Short Fiction Contest, is inspired by the classic Bob Dylan song “Tangled Up in Blue” which speculates about what might have been the back story to the song.

Book Excerpt

Book excerpt from Easily Slip Into Another World: A Life in Music, by Henry Threadgill and Brent Hayes Edwards

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

Art

Designed for Dancing: How Midcentury Records Taught America to Dance: “Outtakes” — Vol. 2...In this edition, the authors Janet Borgerson and Jonathan Schroeder share examples of Cha Cha Cha record album covers that didn't make the final cut in their book

Pressed for All Time

“Pressed For All Time,” Vol. 17 — producer Joel Dorn on Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s 1967 album, The Inflated Tear

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.

Site Archive