“Streamline Moderne” – a short story by Amadea Tanner

July 10th, 2023

.

.

“Streamline Moderne,” by Amadea Tanner, was a finalist in the F. Scott Fitzgerald 2022 Short Story Contest, and was subsequently first published on the competition website.  It is published here with the permission of Ms. Tanner.

.

.

___

.

.

photo via Appletreeauction.com

.

Streamline Moderne

By Amadea Tanner

.

…..“Machines like this are only worth the metal they’re made of,” the pawnbroker muttered, scanning the portable Remington skeptically. “Metal might actually be useful if we could melt this down to bullets.”

…..It was wartime, after all, and resources were scant. Gladys knew that even under normal circumstances her typewriter wasn’t worth much, but it was certainly worth more than nothing.

…..“I’m sure you’re hunting for advantage,” Gladys said, “but I could use some of that myself.”

…..Once upon a time someone would have been very pleased to possess a typewriter inscribed with her name on the square black case. Gladys Carmichael was a name everyone used to hear, but it had become as silent as the pictures she’d once written.

…..Gladys had been one of many women screenwriters in Hollywood during those early days, and no one had ever questioned their presence, just as they had never disputed the many women editors or camera operators. But even a pioneering form was forced to succumb to that curse of progress, which was a funny thing, considering on occasion it performed the inverse of its intentions.

…..While so many of these silent moving pictures began and ended in feminine hands, their time in Lotusland was no bask in eternity. After a decade of Gladys’s career dwindling to smaller and fewer screen credits, a studio fire among the archives destroyed many reels of her silent films just before she was let go. Celluloid was quite flammable, and besides, there was no longer a place for her in the talkie economy tarnishing the silver screen. The studio executives had made it clear women could only write, unfettered, for the pictures so long as they didn’t have a voice.

…..Pawning her typewriter might have been a symbolic gesture if Gladys hadn’t needed the cash. If her own name didn’t amount to much, there were all manner of notable people who’d touched her typewriter’s keys. A little desperate to strike a deal, she gave the broker names like Elizabeth Taylor, Fred Astaire, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

…..“Who’s the last one?” the broker asked.

…..“Used to be a famous writer.” Gladys realized this description was just as accurate of herself. She clarified, “A novelist.”

…..The broker smirked. “Sentimental value would be better off in a museum. I’ve never heard of this Fitz.”

…..It was true that Fitzgerald, much like Gladys, was no longer such a household name. He’d had his day two decades prior, and had since faded to relative obscurity. She and Fitzgerald had risen to their highest heights around much the same time. The Jazz Age had been good to them in all its deco splendor.

…..“Wait a minute. Fitzgerald. I know that name,” the assistant polishing a row of watches spoke up, bringing Gladys back to the task at present. “Gatsby, right?”

…..“Yes,” Gladys smiled at him. Fitzgerald had regarded The Great Gatsby as his most promising work, or at least the one he’d hoped would carry him the furthest. While critics had admired the book, it hadn’t sold well. The latter still remained the measure of success.

…..“Murph’s a bookworm to the core,” the broker cut in. “I might expect him to know something like that, but the name doesn’t mean anything to me.”

…..The Great Gatsby,” the assistant, Murph, repeated. “He talked a whole lot about repeating the past. That’s all he wanted to do. It was silly really.”

…..But Gladys didn’t see it so. Since becoming acquainted with Gatsby’s author, she had come to learn it was all too possible to repeat the past, though the great trick she now understood better than Fitzgerald was that it wasn’t the good times that could reprise their role. No matter how desperately one might wish to relive the good, it only ever seemed to be the bad that repeated itself. This was evident presently with great nations diving into the second great war of the century, a dark and stormy past pushing all of them forward with a vengeance, the whole world running on a loop like a reel of horror film in a projector.

…..Though she had seen him traipsing around the studio lots, Gladys had met Fitzgerald for the first time just over a year earlier in a Hollywood haunt around golden hour. Having found himself in a literary dry spell on the wrong end of a short-lived stint with fame, Fitzgerald had only recently begun writing for the studio. Pictures sold better than books, and he desperately needed to make a good living. This had turned writing, for him, into an additional kind of necessity from the mere compulsion that haunted all the rest stricken with the curse.

…..Gladys had approached him at the bar and introduced herself as a fellow screenwriter. He’d looked at her with something between pity and relief. “Sick of this sham too?”

…..“Spinning so many lies’ll lead us to word inflation.”

…..“Nobody’s using good words either,” he remarked. “What about ‘gorgeous?’ Nothing’s gorgeous anymore. It’s all just ‘neat’ or ‘pretty.’ Well I think that’s an awfully ugly turn of phrase.”

…..“It’s a shame,” Gladys agreed. “Now that pictures are talking, they’ve got remarkably little to say.”

…..Tipping his glass in her direction, Fitz invited her to take the seat next to him and ordered her the same elixir.

…..“I’m telling you, this place is purgatory,” he muttered. “Why would anyone ever want to see their life come to a standstill? At least, anywhere else, the weather gives you the illusion of progress.”

…..He had looked out the window towards the horizon as though it might prove him wrong. But there was only that same usual concrete oasis beneath the Hollywood Hills. He sighed, “Isn’t it tragic that eternal sunshine is so depressing?”

…..Gladys agreed. “It’s a strange reality to be sure.”

…..“The land of dreams,” he took a swig. “But they can only call it that because here they suck the dreams right out of you and turn them into cheap sensation. What I wouldn’t give to truly feel something again. I’ve gone numb to the world.”

…..“Maybe that’s only the drink.”

…..“Is there a difference?” he laughed. “Sometimes it seems my whole world fits inside a bottle. It would shatter just as easily.”

…..Gladys had felt sorry for Fitzgerald, clinging to the gilded glory of a spectral past. Though perhaps with this pity Gladys was also feeling sorry for herself. She too had been living her life in retrospect, inhabiting the same reconstructed world that had been torn down and painted over. Obscurity was harmless if that was all you’d ever known. But to be known and forgotten brought one even while still living into the realm of ghosts, those shadows skirting the edge of the spotlight.

…..She and Fitz reminisced about their bygone days, memories too dear yet to have become history. They wondered if maybe it was only a matter of timing that made them unlucky. Maybe practicality was just a fad. The times were all of a sudden heralding clean lines and clean slates, streamlining the production of any and all things. Was it truly inevitable, this “modernity,” as everyone had been led to believe? Whatever happened to the spirals, the zigzags, the twists and turns? Looking out the murky window from their deco world of before, Gladys and Fitzgerald lamented that art, architecture, story plots, the future itself should ever unfold in a single straight line.

…..She and Fitzgerald had become friends of convenience, or perhaps necessity, after this initial barside exchange. But not for long. In December of that year, amidst the glimmering rays of eternal sunshine, Fitz was found dead, having succumbed to a heart attack. Certainly he hadn’t been well, but it seemed strangely just that he should prematurely leave the world that had incidentally retracted his place in it. A few weeks later came the studio fire, and then the termination of Gladys’s employment.

…..A year after Fitz’s death, the States entered into the war that had long been cresting the opposite coast, proving that even in the industrial surge forward, there was no way to escape history’s rolling current. It was all variations on the same theme, repeated in new and even the same ways. There were, after all, only so many plotlines to work with. In the simplest of terms, life could be comic or tragic.

…..Gladys had never imagined she would be reduced to pawning off her most cherished things. Though her despondence was no greater than that of any other sorry soul in such a time, it must have been fresh enough that the pawnbroker eventually took pity on Gladys and paid her a paltry sum for her typewriter.

…..This was the last of her prized possessions. First it had been the silver candlesticks, then her grandmother’s pearls, and her father’s watch. These had all been useless things she only kept for sentimental reasons anyway. But giving up the typewriter was different. She knew it was silly to feel anything for a machine, but it was part of her in the way its letters had faded into her fingertips. During many frantic, sleepless nights pressing towards production deadlines, the keys themselves had formed words when her own mind could bear no more. The thing itself was nothing special. She’d bought it used. But having come to rely on this typewriter, having taken it for granted, Gladys felt a wave of guilt when she handed it to the broker and watched the thing transform from an old friend into a begrudging stranger.

…..She reminded herself that she only had to subsist for a little while anyway. Caught in the current, she had been pushed towards the war effort gaining strength and conviction with every passing day. It was the answer to her reduced circumstances, a stable job and maybe even the promise of a little adventure. It was almost a relief to have no other options. Though she hated to admit it, her situation had brought her to see the appeal in the steadfastness of that same straight line she had formerly despised. Better to surge forward with the rest than get left behind. Whenever she spared a thought for Fitz, she wondered if holding fast may have ultimately been his undoing.

…..After a brief period of training, Gladys joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps overseas and began work as a secretary. The irony was never lost on her when she was presented with a new typewriter to carry out her duties. But she performed them well, thrusting herself into the menial tasks of hardboiled bureaucracy, following orders as though they were laws ordained. It was an easy life not having to think for herself, and a comfortable sort of anonymity being no more singular than her uniform.

…..The casual usurpations had been a very trying game in Hollywood, where sometimes a single good idea could bring someone from the bottom to the very top. Overseas, though Gladys still reported to a superior, she found it strangely comforting to be helpless within the chain of command. As a secretary, she saw many soldiers pass her desk, but she remembered few in this sea of faces, though most notably one who’d had his nose buried in an Armed Services Edition paperback while he waited to speak with the captain.

…..The Council of Books in Wartime had distributed millions of these disposable volumes to GIs across the globe. Gladys had seen them handed around as necessary distractions from the doldrums of war’s waiting game, successfully reviving another pastime that had been flickering out of style. But in this great literary renaissance, she had never observed anyone absorb the faded print with such rapt attention. Gladys felt almost guilty for interrupting the soldier when she asked tentatively, “Whatcha reading?”

…..“Gatsby,” he replied, not quite perturbed by the disturbance. “By Fitzgerald. Do you know him?”

…..“Yes,” she said, stunned. She realized the soldier was only asking whether she had read the author in question.

…..The last she had heard of The Great Gatsby, the book was all but out of print, just barely preceding its author in a disappearance from public consciousness.

…..“I should have liked it to be something,” Fitzgerald had once lamented to Gladys. “But maybe this world isn’t willing to tear the patches off the bigger picture.”

…..“Maybe you can’t hope for something to be anything other than it is.” Gladys had remarked. “If it’s something, people need time to realize.”

…..It was heartening to see this story in the soldier’s hands, reprinted and revived. To think something could get another chance at life meant the blood and ink and tears may have been well spent after all. But it was, of course, your own breath and blood you gave up, bit by bit, to give life to any work. It meant you had to die in order to live on.

…..Gladys supposed she had died too, in her own way. She had only risen from the ashes into a new life because her legacy was what had burned away.

…..At least the studio fires preceding the end of her career in the industry had been accidental. Now was a time when words were saturated with greater meaning and power. That was why the enemy ignited books on pyres, and why censors controlled new words that sprung up even on the righteous side. Cinema too faced an ultimatum, treading a gossamer line between storytelling and propaganda.

…..Gladys watched the soldier, who’d gone back to his reading, and wished stories could go back to being just that. The best ones could say more without telling you what they meant. That had been the beauty of silent films too.

…..“Is it any good?” Gladys prodded the soldier, nodding to the tattered pages in his lap.

…..“I don’t know if it is or isn’t,” he reasoned, “but it’s nice to know my world isn’t the only one going up in smoke. This sure makes disaster sound pretty.”

…..The captain called the soldier in shortly thereafter, leaving Gladys to reflect that making disaster sound pretty was as much as anyone could do. Beauty was the poignant contrast of the good and the bad together. Otherwise, out of context, either one might be too much to bear.

…..That’s why Gladys was content to do as she was told, to work within the confines of the war machine by using a prescribed vocabulary. It was too big of a fight, trying to be heard. Much easier to sit quietly and find satisfaction within the necessary parameters. Gladys no longer wished upon the past, nor did she speculate on the future. It all got churned together into a different sort of requisite limbo.

…..But her outlook, defeatist as it was while recording the march towards greater victory, became somewhat altered one day when a woman approached Gladys’s desk, requesting an audience with the captain.

…..This woman wore a neatly starched uniform with an armband labelled ‘C’ for war correspondent. Gladys had heard they’d started inviting a handful of women to come and report on the war effort, but until seeing this bright-eyed blonde towing a worn typewriter case, Gladys hadn’t believed it was true. They were nowhere near the front, being far from the lines of fire in the logistical tangle of red tape. Nevertheless, this young woman was here standing proudly in a man’s world, much the same way Gladys had when she’d been a starry-eyed newcomer crossing the threshold into Lotusland.

…..“I’d like to have permission to get to the front,” the woman said, staring Gladys down with a steely gaze.

…..“It won’t be easy,” Gladys warned her. “They don’t like pushing boundaries.”

…..Much like what had happened in the pictures, there were a few caveats for inviting women behind the scenes of the armed forces. Female correspondents could cross as many oceans as they desired in order to report for their papers, but they were seldom allowed close enough to the action to give eye-witness accounts. There were rules against it not being safe, but those same excuses did little to help the boys plunging into harm’s way.

…..“Rules,” the woman smirked, “they’re all just made up anyway.”

…..“You ought to tell the captain so yourself,” Gladys said, deciding she liked this young woman very much. “You can go on in and see him.”

…..“Would it be alright if I left this here?” she gestured to the typewriter case.

…..Gladys agreed, “I’ll watch it.”

…..There was something familiar about this girl reporter. After the correspondent went in to see the captain, Gladys found her eyes wandering towards the typewriter case. The Remington she’d pawned off not so long ago had been in a case just like it, well-worn from being towed between her apartment and the studio lot. The case had gotten to be pretty battered during the process, nearly as battered as this one was. Gladys supposed defending her words in the development meetings of another life had each been individual battles comprising their own sort of war effort.

…..The longer she stared at the case, the more familiar its worn edges seemed. If she squinted, she thought she could see a name inscribed at the top of it. The longer she looked, it was all too easy to see that name as her own.

…..Or at least what was left of it. ‘Gladys’ was vaguely visible, but ‘Carmichael’ had faded to obscurity.

…..Gladys felt a chill seize her, the tendrils of serendipity that pulled her towards an understanding. It was as though she had seen her own life flash before her eyes—past, present, future, all at once and evermore.

…..She couldn’t help herself, she laughed. And once she started, she couldn’t stop. She sat there cackling at the tent flaps that opened to the world, mad with the recognition that she had finally escaped her purgatory.

…..Once upon a time, she’d been that steely-gazed girl with grand aspirations who had walked into a pawn shop and bought a used typewriter. And whether this girl would go on to achieve greatness or die trying, the cycle would continue. Yes, it was certainly possible to repeat the past. Perhaps even inevitable. This modern machine setting out on that steadfast straight line couldn’t fathom the endless loop of eternity.

.

.

___

.

.

Amadea Tanner is a writer whose love of swing dance and music has prompted her to craft many stories set against the backdrop of WWII. You can read her story “Armed Delilahs”  by clicking here.

You can find Amadea in the ether @amadea_cadence.

.

___

.

.

Click here to read “Mr. P.C.,” Jacob Schrodt’s winning story in the 62nd Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest

Click here for details about the upcoming 64th Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest

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

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

.

.

___

.

.

 

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

.

.

.

Share this:

One comments on ““Streamline Moderne” – a short story by Amadea Tanner”

  1. Another excellent read from this author. The characters, the vulnerability, the setting and historical context are all very enjoyable.

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