On turning 70, and contemplating the future of Jerry Jazz Musician

June 18th, 2024

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photo by Rhonda Dorsett

The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge in  Olympia, Washington

February, 2024

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“Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”

– Betty Friedan

 

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Dear Readers:

…..I had an outpouring of thoughts and emotions during the recent 50-day car trip adventure I took to mark my 70th birthday.  Fortunately, few were of the dreadful and dark variety that one may expect at this stage of life.  I chalk this somewhat surprising lack of anxiety up to the many role models who came to this age before me.  Here are three, along with “resolutions” gleaned from their examples:

…..-My grandparents, who lived into their 80’s and whose joy for life they openly displayed during their 70’s was an antidote to the consternation they could have otherwise displayed.  The sound of their laughter and the loving expression they wore when greeting me at their door remains a constant presence for good in my life.

With their example, I am determined to show this same goodness to others, to display courage and grace in the face of age, and to be a role model for younger people.

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 …..-My father. Working until age 80, he had boundless determination and a strength of purpose connected to his family and business, and an ability to find and enjoy success through hard, honest work, and respecting those who helped him achieve it.

With his example, I’d like to stay vital by doing what I love, and to honor and respect the people who contribute to whatever success and happiness I come by.

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…..-The many elder writers contributing to Jerry Jazz Musician – some of whom I have known for ten years now (and some who have gone silent in the last year or two).  The wisdom that shows up in their language and the joy they display when their work is chosen to be shared with this community is evidence of an ongoing spirit and a humble contentment.

With their example, I hope to maintain my own creative spirit for as long as my energy and passion for life lasts, and to have an appreciation for what I achieve.

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…..And, maintaining my creative spirit is critical if my desire to continue editing and publishing Jerry Jazz Musician – which I have done since 1999, when I was 45 – lasts well into my 70’s.

…..There are challenges, of course, beyond maintaining a creative spirit, not the least of which is the reality that what this website has become is in opposition to what the dot-com world is today – an environment of spam, pop-ups, chatbots, porn, unseemly advertisements, clickbait, political garbage, false information, and sinister scams and personalities.  And that’s just in the dot.com world!  Meanwhile, social media has trained users to spread falsehoods without consequence (leading to our post-truth world), and our restless, impatient brains have forced content providers – forever chasing “likes” that can be monetized –  to create material that is consumed in seconds.  As a result, a dearth of meaningful content and even less depth of soul is found online.  It won’t get better anytime soon – it is projected that by 2026, 90% of the content available on the Internet will be created by artificial intelligence, so unremarkable content will be incessantly generated, ads to support it will be relentless, and misinformation (and misinformers) will divide us further.

…..MMy vision for Jerry Jazz Musician to publish human-generated, soulful, original content that celebrates a rich, historic culture – and to do so without being a repository for advertising – flies in the face of such a gloomy environment.  I am determined to remain a noise-free island for creative expression, and to keep the experience of visiting this website rewarding and hassle-free. But I am also left trying to understand how a content-heavy site can survive when users of the Internet have been trained to scroll and troll rather than enrich and inspirit.  It can be done with determination and effort, but that isn’t enough without revenue to support it.

…..The good news is that the number of people visiting Jerry Jazz Musician is up 25% over last year.   Thousands of people are landing on this website every month.  The challenging news is that the cost of publishing the content is up in terms of personal time, energy and expense – not a good recipe for publishing a website that doesn’t generate advertising revenue.

…..So, before I appeal for your support, I want to share a little more about my vision for Jerry Jazz Musician over the short and long term.

…..I am proud to report that I have entered into an agreement with the Portland, Oregon-based book publisher Unsolicited Press, and our initial venture will be the creation of an anthology of previously unpublished jazz poetry, which will be available sometime late 2024/early 2025.  This will provide me with an opportunity to take what has been successful on jerryjazzmusician.com into the printed book world, creating a potential revenue source as well as new avenues of reach for the poets and writers published within it.  (You can learn the details about how to submit your work at the conclusion of this post).  Several other poetry anthologies are also being imagined and planned, and there may come a time for other options as well (i.e. short fiction collections, interviews, etc.)  The only impact this will have on the website is that following the publication of the Summer 2024 poetry collection, the large jazz poetry collections that have been published three times a year since 2019 will only be available in printed book form.  Individual poems and smaller poetry collections will continue to be published on this website.  They will remain robust and appear often, leaving ample opportunity for poets to share their work.

…..In the long run, my desire is to find a path where Jerry Jazz Musician can survive me.  This site is not a “blog” that depends on one person to write the content – it is a publication made up of a publisher, editor, and contributing writers (in the neighborhood of 500 at last count).  While I created the website and fostered an environment in which this community can thrive, I also just happen to be the editor and publisher at this stage of its existence – one who is willing to make investments in time, energy and money.  With proper guidance and initiative and quality of spirit and vision, a (paid) editor succeeding me can provide inspiration for the many talented writers – of this and subsequent generations – wishing to share this corner of their creative lives on this platform.  And, importantly, an inspired editor with a knowledge of how to build a bigger audience and also generate revenue (without becoming another ad-filled website) can give Jerry Jazz Musician a chance at long term survival.

…..So, I appeal to readers to help me get there.  In the short term, I wish to raise enough revenue in order to publish the website so the cost of doing so won’t negatively impact the quality of my life during my 70’s, and in the long term to raise enough money to inspire and pay qualified people to carry on with this work beyond my days.   My health is good, my energy and enthusiasm is high, and, in the words of Ms. Friedan, I will embrace this new time of my life as a “stage of opportunity and strength.”  With that energy – and reader support – there is a real possibility that I can turn this vision into reality.

…..I wish to thank the many readers who have already contributed (in many cases more than once) hard-earned money toward the mission of Jerry Jazz Musician.  To those who would also like to, please click here for details on how to do so.

Onward!

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Joe Maita

Editor/Publisher

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photo by Rhonda Dorsett

Celebrating my 70th in St. Helena, California.  March, 2024

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Listen to the 1957 recording of Nat “King” Cole performing the Sigmund Romberg/Oscar Hammerstein II composition “When I Grow Too Old to Dream,” with Cole (piano, vocals); Stuff Smith (violin); John Collins (guitar); Charlie Harris (bass); and Lee Young (drums).  [Universal Music Group]

 

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Click here for information about the Jerry Jazz Musician poetry anthology to be published by Unsolicited Press

Click here to read  The Sunday Poem

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

Click here to read “Ballad,” Lúcia Leão’s winning story in the 65th 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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4 comments on “On turning 70, and contemplating the future of Jerry Jazz Musician

  1. Joe, happy belated 70th–nice thoughts on aging and keeping Jerry Jazz going strong. On a personal note, Jerry Jazz has been an oasis in the everyday, many times crazy world of writing, submitting and negotiating the publishing world. It can be a rat race and what Jerry Jazz provides is an outlet for my work that makes me feel accomplishment and reminds me of the love of jazz and expression that got me started on this path to begin with. So hang in there there and viva JJM!!

    1. Thanks very much for writing this, Dan. If Jerry Jazz Musician inspires your creativity and reminds you of your love of jazz in the ways you describe, then I have accomplished what I set out to do. Keep your wonderful poetry coming!

      Joe

  2. You are a poet in your own right Joe! You have a poet’s heart and a terrific vision! I appreciate your thoughtfulness about JJM that has become “home” to so many poets. Carry on my friend. 70 ain’t that old and with your family dNA you’ll outlive many of us who you’ve given so much to. Gratitude for your endeavors and love of jazz!

    1. Many thanks for your heartfelt comment, Judith. Being in contact with and surrounded by writers and poets and musicians is a great way to spend “elder” age!

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In This Issue

painting of Clifford Brown by Paul Lovering
A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Spring/Summer, 2024 Edition...In this, the 17th major collection of jazz poetry published on Jerry Jazz Musician, 50 poets from all over the world again demonstrate the ongoing influence the music and its associated culture has on their creative lives.

(featuring the art of Paul Lovering)

Publisher’s Notes

photo by Rhonda Dorsett
On turning 70, and contemplating the future of Jerry Jazz Musician...

The Sunday Poem

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

Click here to read previous editions of The Sunday Poem

Poetry

“Revival” © Kent Ambler.
If You Want to Go to Heaven, Follow a Songbird – Mary K O’Melveny’s album of poetry and music...While consuming Mary K O’Melveny’s remarkable work in this digital album of poetry, readings and music, readers will discover that she is moved by the mastery of legendary musicians, the wings of a monarch butterfly, the climate and political crisis, the mysteries of space exploration, and by the freedom of jazz music that can lead to what she calls “the magic of the unknown.” (with art by Kent Ambler)

Interview

The Marvelettes/via Wikimedia Commons
Interview with Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz, authors of But Will You Love Me Tomorrow?: An Oral History of the 60’s Girl Groups...Little is known of the lives and challenges many of the young Black women who made up the Girl Groups of the ‘60’s faced while performing during an era rife with racism, sexism, and music industry corruption. The authors discuss their book’s mission to provide the artists an opportunity to voice their experiences so crucial to the evolution of popular music.

Book Excerpt

An excerpt from Emily Jon Tobias’ MONARCH: Stories, and a reflection on our friendship

In Memoriam

photo via Wikimedia Commons
A few words about Willie Mays...Thoughts about the impact Willie Mays had on baseball, and on my life.

Poetry

photo of Earl Hines by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Pianists and Poets – 13 poems devoted to the keys...From “Fatha” Hines to Brad Mehldau, poets open themselves up to their experiences with and reverence for great jazz pianists

Art

photo of Archie Shepp by Giovanni Piesco
The Photographs of Giovanni Piesco: Archie Shepp...photos of the legendary saxophonist (and his rhythm section for the evening), taken at Amsterdam's Bimhuis on May 13, 2001.

Poetry

CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
“On Coltrane: 4th of July Reflections” – a poem by Connie Johnson

Click here to read more poetry published in Jerry Jazz Musician

Calling All Poets!

News about a Jerry Jazz Musician printed jazz poetry anthology, and information about submitting your poetry for consideration

Short Fiction

pickpik.com
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #65 — “Ballad” by Lúcia Leão...The author’s award-winning story is about the power of connections – between father and child, music and art, and the past, present and future.

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

Interview

photo of Louis Jordan by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Interview with Tad Richards, author of Jazz With a Beat: Small Group Swing, 1940 – 1960...Richards makes the case that small group swing players like Illinois Jacquet, Louis Jordan (pictured) and Big Jay McNeely played a legitimate jazz that was a more pleasing listening experience to the Black community than the bebop of Parker, Dizzy, and Monk. It is a fascinating era, filled with major figures and events, and centered on a rigorous debate that continues to this day – is small group swing “real jazz?”

Playlist

photo of Coleman Hawkins by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
“The Naked Jazz Musician” – A playlist by Bob Hecht...As Sonny Rollins has said, “Jazz is about taking risks, pushing boundaries, and challenging the status quo.” Could there be anything riskier—or more boundary-pushing—than to stand naked and perform with nowhere to hide? Bob’s extensive playlist is comprised of such perilous undertakings by an array of notable woodwind and brass masters who have had the confidence and courage (some might say even the exhibitionism) to expose themselves so completely by playing….alone.

Feature

Excerpts from David Rife’s Jazz Fiction: Take Two – Vol. 3: “Louis Armstrong”...A substantial number of novels and stories with jazz music as a component of the story have been published over the years, and the scholar David J. Rife has written short essay/reviews of them. In this third edition featuring excerpts from his book, Rife writes about four novels/short fiction that include stories involving Louis Armstrong.

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

The cover of Wayne Shorter's 2018 Blue Note album "Emanon"
Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 20: “Notes on Genius...This edition of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film is written in response to the music of Wayne Shorter.

Click here to read previous editions of Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

In Memoriam

Hans Bernhard (Schnobby), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Remembering Joe Pass: Versatile Jazz Guitar Virtuoso” – by Kenneth Parsons...On the 30th anniversary of the guitarist Joe Pass’ death, Kenneth Parsons reminds readers of his brilliant career

Book Excerpt

Book excerpt from Jazz with a Beat: Small Group Swing 1940 – 1960, by Tad Richards

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

Jazz History Quiz #172

photo of Teddy Wilson by William Gottlieb
Teddy Wilson once said this about a fellow jazz pianist:

“That man had the most phenomenal musical gifts I’ve ever heard. He was miraculous. It’s like someone hitting a home run every time he picks up a bat. We became such fast friends that I was allowed to interrupt him anytime he was playing at the house parties in Toledo we used to make every night. When I asked him, he would stop and replay a passage very slowly, showing me the fingering on some of those runs of his. You just couldn’t figure them out by ear at the tempo he played them.”

Who is the pianist he is describing?

Community

photo via Picryl.com
.“Community Bookshelf, #2"...a twice-yearly space where writers who have been published on Jerry Jazz Musician can share news about their recently authored books. This edition includes information about books published within the last six months or so…

Contributing Writers

Click the image to view the writers, poets and artists whose work has been published on Jerry Jazz Musician, and find links to their work

Coming Soon

An interview with Larry Tye, author of The Jazzmen: How Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie Transformed America; an interview with James Kaplan, author of 3 Shades of Blue: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and the Lost Empire of Cool; A new collection of jazz poetry; a collection of jazz haiku; a new Jazz History Quiz; short fiction; poetry; photography; interviews; playlists; and lots more in the works...

Interview Archive

Ella Fitzgerald/IISG, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Click to view the complete 25-year archive of Jerry Jazz Musician interviews, including those recently published with Judith Tick on Ella Fitzgerald (pictured),; Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz on the Girl Groups of the 60's; Tad Richards on Small Group Swing; Stephanie Stein Crease on Chick Webb; Brent Hayes Edwards on Henry Threadgill; Richard Koloda on Albert Ayler; Glenn Mott on Stanley Crouch; Richard Carlin and Ken Bloom on Eubie Blake; Richard Brent Turner on jazz and Islam; Alyn Shipton on the art of jazz; Shawn Levy on the original queens of standup comedy; Travis Atria on the expatriate trumpeter Arthur Briggs; Kitt Shapiro on her life with her mother, Eartha Kitt; Will Friedwald on Nat King Cole; Wayne Enstice on the drummer Dottie Dodgion; the drummer Joe La Barbera on Bill Evans; Philip Clark on Dave Brubeck; Nicholas Buccola on James Baldwin and William F. Buckley; Ricky Riccardi on Louis Armstrong; Dan Morgenstern and Christian Sands on Erroll Garner; Maria Golia on Ornette Coleman.

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