The Sunday Poem: “You Never Forget Your First” – by Brian Kates

My high school girlfriend’s older brother
lived in a garret in the Village, like something
out of La Boheme, and she said maybe if we
went there, he’d leave us alone and we could
well, you know

...

May 25th, 2024

The Sunday Poem: “The Divine Comedy as a Jazz Piece” by Matthew Johnson

I was preparing to make my exit from Heaven back to Earth,
And it was late March, so the lounge had transitioned
To their hot jazz band after playing the cool for months.

...

May 4th, 2024

The Sunday Poem: “A Mountain Pass (In memory of Joe Pass)” by Bhuwan Thapaliya

A woman sits in a window frame
of old carved birds, listening to her
grandson in his jeans playing fig leaf music
in her home in Koshidekha,
a village in Nepal.

...

April 27th, 2024

The Sunday Poem: “Lady Day and Prez” by Henry Wolstat

At the bar of the
Towne Tavern, once
Toronto’s finest jazz club,
stage facing me,
sipping my one beer,
knowing even then
in my twenty-third year
I was witness to
a never forgotten gig.

...

April 13th, 2024

The Sunday Poem: “Front Row Seat For A Head-Bebopping Allergy Sufferer” by Francis Fernandes

The pollen is flying like mad –
frantic, crazy, amorphously Daliesque –
sort of like our trio the other day,
rollicking and lollygagging through Monk’s
Brilliant Corners, losing it so completely
that when Marty flung a stick at my head

...

April 6th, 2024

The Sunday Poem: “Watermelon Man” by Charles Albert

I admit I’d never heard of “Watermelon Man” before Harry Reid came to my kids’ elementary school to put together a concert band. He wasn’t a salaried teacher, but a part-time outsider brought in by the PTA.

...

March 10th, 2024

The Sunday Poem: “Dorothy Donegan: Queen of the Keys” – by Connie Johnson

Sensational
Largely unsung
Dorothy Donegan
Known by jazz insiders as
The female Art Tatum
His protégé
The one who made him say:
“She is the only woman who can
Make me practice.”

...

January 14th, 2024

The Sunday Poem: “Not Shelling Fava Beans With Alice Waters” by John Briscoe

I jammed
with the Afro-American Jazz Band
in the old Off Plaza on McAllister,
and with the blind Black pianist whose name I can’t remember
in the club we knew as The Question Mark
whose sign on Haight Street was just a neon ?,
when the club was straight and featured jazz

...

January 7th, 2024

The Sunday Poem: “How I Achieved Levitation” by Bryan Franco

. .   The Sunday Poem  is published weekly, and strives to include the poet reading their work. Bryan Franco reads his poem at its conclusion. . . ___ . . . . How I Achieved Levitation They all lived in the Walnut Building. Satchmo blew the roof off the house. Fats Waller tickled ivories. … Continue readingThe Sunday Poem: “How I Achieved Levitation” by Bryan Franco”

...

November 19th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Behind the Smile (for Satchmo)” by Antoinette F. Winstead

The Young Turk disregarded the old trumpeter
labeled him a vaudevillian minstrel
because he shucked and grinned,
having no privy to old man’s roiling anger within
fueled by slights and shames endured for years
despite his lauded, storied career.

...

November 5th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Love & Monk,” by Carrie Magness Radna

La La Love,
even when the cold raindrops
pounded against the window,
we snuggled close like fuzzy cats,
purring with Thelonious Monk
as we drank our Guinness.

...

October 29th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Vibrations” by Victor Enns

My eyes were faster dreaming
a drum kit in bed with me
Rapid Eye Movement Disorder
disturbing my sleep and my wife
moving away with her cellphone
camera watch my arms begin to move

...

October 22nd, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “I Blame Chet Baker” by Lauren Loya

I blame Chet Baker
For opening a window into my past
Sensing that phantom trumpet in my capable hands
The smooth curves of the hard brass, the cold
Mouthpiece against my buzzing lips
Bright melodies blaring
From carefree days of my youth

...

October 15th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Fledging” by John L. Stanizzi

The woodshed was the hunting ground for wings of notes.
Black suits and ties, hipster hats and smoke rings of notes.

Was Robert Johnson alone, hellhound on his trail?
Was a deal made? Was Bird Satan’s plaything of notes.

...

October 1st, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Erroll Garner at the Ace” by Kristofer Collins

From a third floor window I imagine
I can almost see the cracked black
& white tile welcoming Penn Avenue
to the long-closed Kappel’s Jewelers.

...

September 17th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Musical Invocation” by Kathryn MacDonald

Strains of Charlie Parker’s alto sax fill
the empty apartment song-after-song –
“Dancing in the Dark,” “Loverman,”
“Embraceable You.”
Between every note I wish.

...

September 10th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “The Church of St. John Coltrane” by Mark Fogarty

Coltrane said a prayer to his musical God
Straight through the horn of his saxophone.
Not a metaphor; he spoke the words
Through the reed and the music into the air.

...

September 3rd, 2023

The Sunday Poem “Po’ Monkey’s Juke Joint: Merigold, Mississippi” by Marianne Peel

Shrouded in smoke and cigarette spheres
Jazzy speakeasy on a summer slog of a night

Where hips ramble in tandem,
Slide and slip in an out of rhythm

Juke Joint shifting with an uneven floor
Naked feet shuffling and colliding

...

August 13th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Being Smooth, Jazz, and Chill” by Christopher D. Sims

Smooth. Jazz. Chill.
Write. Think. Build.
Listen. Vibe. Poetically
design.

Spend time with jazzy
sounds elevating the
mind. Jazz is smooth.
Jazz is chill.

...

July 30th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Village” by Michel Krug

The light aspires to be equatorial
but each eroded moment quiets otherwise.

The twilight Superior shore fills
with pine smoke from fire pits

just as Coltrane played in the
smoldering light at the Village Vanguard.

...

July 23rd, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “I Hear Music in the Kitchen” by Sandra Rivers-Gill

Naturally, his lyrics are cued a cappella./“I’m home” slips from his lips,/sizzles like the taste of what I’m baking in the oven,/as he unwinds his day.

...

June 25th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Duke Ellington’s Big-Band Orchestra: Live at Basin Street East, New York City. Summer 1964” – by Alan and Arlan Yount

The poet Alan Yount and son Arlan write about a live 1964 performance by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra

...

June 18th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Jazz Within Me” by Jerrice Baptiste

. . The Sunday Poem  is published weekly, and strives to include the poet reading their work. Ms. Baptiste reads her poem at its conclusion. . . ___ . . David Dellepiane, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons . . Jazz Within Me I like Jazz playing within me. ……………….Record that never skips. Since age sixteen, … Continue readingThe Sunday Poem: “Jazz Within Me” by Jerrice Baptiste”

...

May 13th, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Nina As In Nina Simone” by Arya F. Jenkins

This narrative poem is informed by quotes and stories in What Happened, Miss Simone? the 2015 Netflix biographical documentary about the singer/artist’s life and art

...

April 2nd, 2023

The Sunday Poem: “Wood Ticks on Fire: Cecil Taylor and the Forests of Sound that Plant Themselves in Us” – by George Kalamaras

The poet writes about the complexity of pianist Cecil Taylor’s music, and the liberation he feels from listening to it

...

January 22nd, 2023

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

Miles Davis "'Round About Midnight" (1957/Columbia Records)
“You Never Forget Your First” – by Brian Kates

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.

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.

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

Sonny Rollins' 1957 pianoless trio recording "Way Out West"
“The Pianoless Tradition in Modern Jazz” – a playlist by Bob Hecht...an extensive playlist built around examples of prominent pianoless modern jazz.

Feature

Excerpts from David Rife’s Jazz Fiction: Take Two – (Vol. 1)...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 initial edition featuring his story essays/reviews, Rife writes about three novels that explore challenges of the mother/daughter relationship.

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

Poetry

painting by Vaino Kunnas
Jazz…in eight poems...A myriad of styles and experiences displayed in eight thoughtful, provocative poems…

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

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