• Jeffrey’s fingers hovered inches above the ivory. His heart pounded. The oak bench creaked as he leaned forward, only the toes of his scuffed leather shoes making contact with the floor. The hand-written notes on the page in front of him bounced up and down with every panting breath.

  • In honor of the great American journalist Nat Hentoff — who died January 7 at age 91 — I am publishing a 2005 interview I conducted with him as he turned 80.

     

     

  • Short Fiction writer Arya Jenkins contributes her 10th story written exclusively for Jerry Jazz Musician…

  • “Great Encounters” are book excerpts that chronicle famous encounters among twentieth-century cultural icons. This edition describes the time Ella Fitzgerald chose to pass on an opportunity to meet Pablo Picasso.

  • "Storyville" -- a short story by Matthew Peel
  • "Civil Liberties and Jazz" -- a conversation with Nat Hentoff
  • "Like a Pigeon in the Park" a story by Arya Jenkins
  • Great Encounters #47: When Ella chose not to meet Picasso
Art

The art of Miles Davis

A Daily Beast post worth a visit features several paintings by Miles Davis, all of which were included in Steve Gutterman’s 2013 book, Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork. The page provides an efficient snapshot of the

[…] Continue reading »

Literature » Poetry

“1960” — a poem by Billy Collins

Today’s Writers Almanac daily poetry post — as chosen by Garrison Keillor — is “1960” by Billy Collins, a brilliant piece that reminds us of the intimacy found in a 1960 Bill Evans live recording.

 

1960

 

In the old joke,
the marriage counselor
tells the couple who never talks anymore
to go to a jazz club because at a jazz club
everyone talks during the

[…] Continue reading »

Features » Book Excerpts

“Diz for President”

Claiming that his first order of business as president would be changing the name of the White House to the Blues House, Dizzy Gillespie’s run for President in 1964 wasn’t as illogical (or comical) as it seems on the surface. (In fact, given the ignorance of one of our current major party nominees, it is easy to write that Dizzy put much more thought into his vision for the country, and was without question more evolved as a candidate). As election day approaches, it is time to ask ourselves, what better time than today for a candidate whose platform includes disbanding the FBI and giving major foreign ambassadorships to jazz musicians?

In his 1979 autobiography To Be, or not…to Bop, Dizzy devotes an entire chapter to the story of his experience as a candidate for the presidency. The entire

[…] Continue reading »

Literature » Short Fiction

Short Fiction Contest-winning story #43 — “Pandora’s Sax” by Robert Glover

In the back of a closet, on top of a shelf, under two empty shoeboxes, and behind a small, carry-on bag lurked a humped, black, plastic case. Years of knocking about in the backs of vans and offstage in smoky clubs had etched lines into its surface. Every song had scuffed another memory: Dewey Redman’s “Imagination” or Clifford Brown’s “Night in Tunisia”. An accidental kick from a ska fan had left a dent even after the shell had popped back into place. For twenty years, it had remained closed, a relic of temptation, while inside a saxophone slumbered, waiting for its silent call to beckon again. It was patient. It had time.

Nathan Gold heard the call. It was a Saturday morning in mid-spring as he returned from racing his mountain bike along the Long Beach boardwalk. Pumping the pedals, he glided up the

[…] Continue reading »