“Uncle Joey Blows Trombone at Le Jazz Hot” – a short story by Lawrence J. Klumas

December 4th, 2018

 

 

 

Uncle Joey Blows Trombone at Le Jazz Hot

by Lawrence J. Klumas

 

_____

 

You would think that for such a momentous occasion my memory would be crystal clear.  This is not so. I have no personal memory of hearing my Uncle Joey at Le Jazz Hot, that Friday night on August 27, 1942.

I was six years old when this occurred, and I wish I could conjure up the actual happenings.  But I can’t.  I’ll just have to relate my now poignant knowledge of the event as it unfolded for me, eight years later.

 

***

 

Le Jazz Hot was a tiny yet busy place nestled along 129th Avenue NE in Harlem. It boasted two venues, the first the premier attraction ten-to-one in the morning then the after-hours jam session till early morning. It was in a great location, not far from the Apollo Theater.

Its real name was Victor’s Supper Club, but was more appropriately called Le Jazz Hot, because that’s the way the players referred to it.  On this particular night in August 1942 the Clive Barrows Sextet was scheduled.

The sextet consisted of all jazz veterans, most from the big band era.  It was formed less than a year earlier and was becoming immensely popular.

 

Piano.  Clive Barrows. Lead

Drums.  Hosea “Bill” Williams

Bass. James “Plucky” Jones

Trumpet.  Willy Goetz

Trombone.  H. “Gordy” Goodman

Saxophone.  Cyril Synoco

 

Cyril telephoned Clive Wednesday morning with the bad news.

“He did what?” Clive exclaimed as Cyril told him. “He did what?”

“He got some bad dope.  Not dead, just out of it. Way out of it. Incoherent. Bad medicine.”

“And we perform and record Friday evening. That’s a hell of a thing.  What was Gordy thinking?”

“He wasn’t, like, he usually doesn’t”

“So…now what? Go with no trombone?  All the scores have a trombone part.”

“Nope.  I have it solved.”

‘           “Really?” Clive asked skeptically.

“There’s a kid. He’s about nineteen.  He’s…”

Clive cut him off, “You are kidding me.  Tell me you’re kidding me?  Ain’t no kid going to play for this session.  No way.”

“He’s good, very good.”

“Yeah.  Who says?”

“I heard him play.”

“Yeah, where?”

“At the Italian-American club, in Brooklyn. Last weekend.  I took his name and his phone number.  I think we should try him.”

‘You are out of your mind if you think…”

 

***

 

They met on the Wednesday afternoon at twelve noon, for a practice session.  The musicians were all there when the kid walked in. He wasn’t cocky, but he was self-assured.  He smiled broadly when he noticed Cyril on the bandstand.

He sauntered up to the group, “I’m Joey Tomasini.  I play the trombone.”

“Hey, Joey,” Cyril said.  “Meet the guys.”  He introduced each one.  Their physical posture and quizzical looks indicated skepticism.

Clive said, “I want to be brutally frank.  You better be good, or you’re packin’”

“I’ll do my best,” Joey said, taking his trombone out of the beat-up black case.

“Can you read music?” Clive asked,

“Yes.  Mostly.”

“What’s mostly?”

“If it‘s very complicated, I need to work it out.”

“Jesus,” Clive said, and handed him the score of the first song that would be recorded at Friday’s session –  “Josephine’s Blues.”

“Can I just…” Joey started to ask.  He put the music on the stand and flipped through the three-page score, studying it.

“Can you play it? Clive asked.

“Sure.”

His was only a minor entry in the introduction.  He blew it straight, note for note. It sounded strange, alone with no other instruments.

“Well, shall we just start?” asked Cyril.

They did.  Clive stopped the group numerous times, but only once for Joey, who hadn’t held his wailing notes long enough.  This was the simplest of the three pieces to be recorded, an old standard with not much innovation. Clive looked to the group for feedback on the trombone kid.  He didn’t get what he was looking for.

So, they went into the second song – “Whooping it Up” – an up-tempo piece with instrument solos weaving in and out.  Joey would have to make it on this song or crap out.  He didn’t bust.  His solo was clean, on tempo and the group gave acceptance with body language and facial expressions when Clive gestured for their reactions.

Now the third song, “Riding the El in Harlem,” was to be the ‘A’ side of the recording, one of the other two pieces the ‘B’ side.  It was the most complicated, most involved. It took the most precision and timing, and was the richest presentation, a full-bodied treatment with each instrument important to establish the cosmopolitan bite in the musical-metaphorical ride. This certainly would take out the kid if he faltered.

He didn’t.  He was acceptable – no, okay. – no, all right, no – good, as Clive finally concluded.

“You can play and record with us Friday night,” Clive said.

“Thank You.  I am honored and excited,” Joey answered.

Cyril said, “Better practice some more between now and then.”

“I will”

The smiles, the murmurings of the other members indicated concurrence.

 

***

 

Joey burst into telling all that had happened at the Wednesday audition to his family as soon as he slid into the front door of the house in Brooklyn.

“Mom, Marianne, guess what?  I made it.  I’m going to play for real this Friday night at Le Jazz Hot with the Clive Barrows Sextet!”  No one heard him.

His mother came out of the kitchen. “What are you so excited about?”

He repeated his exultation.

“That’s wonderful Joey!  How much are they paying you?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t ask. They didn’t say.”

“Well, you certainly need to find out.”

“I’ll I bet I’ll know by Friday. But I have to practice a lot between now and then.  Where’s Marianne?”

“’She’s not back from work.”

“Where’s little Pete?”

“In his room.”

Joey ran to tell Pete what had happened.  Pete said, “Hey, that’s great,” but without quite the enthusiasm Joey expected.

When Marianne came home Joey told her the whole story.  They sat in the kitchen and Joey bubbled over with enthusiasm. “Imagine, a real session, and it’s going to be recorded! You’ll need to be there on Friday night watching me and listening,” he added as he began to come down from his high.

“Okay I will, and I’ll bring Pete with me. He’ll be thrilled.”

All day Thursday Joey practiced his part of each of the songs.  Somewhere along the way his part began to make sense in its timing and placement.  Then the whole score began to take on new meaning. In “Josephine’s Blues” he could now sense the woe, the strangulation of no future for her in her marriage and life.  In “Whooping it Up,” the jubilation of the group at the party, slow at first then reaching a high, came through clearly.  In “Riding On the El in Harlem,” the conversations between the riders at each of the stops, as passengers got on and off, showed different emotions, until finally there was only one passenger left and the ride, for that rider, was over.

 

***

 

Marianne was apprehensive, so she took her six-year-old son along for support. For protection against someone trying to pick her up, she reasoned.  She hoped he would be thrilled – and he was.

Marianne and little Pete stood before Victor’s Supper Club at 9:35 p.m.  The noise from inside of the building spilled out on to the sidewalk.  It was happy; it was excited; it had an intimacy to it.  It also smelled of cigarette smoke and alcohol.

The head waiter, the greeter, asked, “And what can I do for you, Madam?”

It sounded a little stiff. “I came to see and hear my brother Joey Tomasini with the Clive Barrows Sextet tonight.  He’s playing the trombone.”

“Ah, yes, the new kid.  Let me find you a table so you can watch.  Follow me please.”

Pete added, “He’s my uncle.”

“Nice.”

They were seated by the dance floor, which now held the special recording instruments for taping the sextet.  Marianne ordered a chianti red wine and a coke for Pete.

“How much?” Marianne asked.

“Not for you, ma’am. Not for the players family. It’s taken care of.”

Really, she thought.  Joey must have taken care of the bill. Actually, it was Cyril, the saxophonist.

One of the recording engineers stood up, and, microphone in hand and announced what they were going to do.

“We will be recording three songs from the Clive Barrows Sextet.  While we are recording we don’t want any talking or shuffling about.  When a song is completed you may clap.  To begin with we will take about fifteen minutes to finally set up the equipment, based where the players are placed.  Quiet during that time is also needed.  I will tell you when we are starting.”

In eighteen minutes and at quarter-past-ten he stood up again and said, “We’ll start now.”

The room went quiet.

The first song was”Josephine’s Blues.”  It went smoothly.  When Joey slipped a mute into his trombone bell, it made the woe more believable, although it was a change from the score.  Every player noticed, but it didn’t interrupt the flow.  The song ended and was cheered enthusiastically.

Before the next song, Clive called Joey over. “Any other surprises?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Actually, it was pretty good kid,” Clive grinned.

The second song was “Whooping it Up.”  The song was interrupted by the recording engineer after thirty seconds, the brass section was too strong.  He repositioned the microphones and the group launched off again. It too went well.

The third song was “Riding the El in Harlem.”  There was a complicated interplay between each of the brass instruments as the conversations on the El. It went exceptionally well.  Clive Barrows was especially pleased because it was his composition.

At the end of the last recording, the room erupted in cheers and applause.  Many of the patrons, including Marianne, leaped to the front of the dance floor to take pictures.  Flashbulbs were popping all over.  Marianne asked the head waiter to photograph her and Pete in front of the group, so there would be a record of the visit with Joey at Le Jazz Hot.  Marianne shot the whole twelve-picture roll of black and white film. It was half-an-hour before the commotion settled down.

The sextet took another fifteen-minute break as the recording people gathered up their microphones, cords, tape recorders, sound board, and repositioned the tables and chairs to the side of the dance floor.

The group had another ninety minutes to play.  Marianne and Pete went to the stage before the group was ready to start again and told Joey they were leaving.  He introduced his sister and nephew to Clive and Cyril. Clive whispered, “Joey is good.  Thanks for coming.”

Joey played that night, and the night following as well.  He was paid forty dollars – twenty-five for the recording session and fifteen dollars  for the rest.  He played again the following weekend, as it was The Clive Barrows Sextet’s last session at Le Jazz Hot.  He received another thirty dollars for the two nights.

Joey was still on his high, excitedly recounting the beauty of playing trombone with the group — when he received his draft notice.  He had to report to his local draft board.  There he was given a date of September 30, 1942 to be inducted at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn.

 

***

 

On April 21, 1950, late afternoon, Cyril Synoco, saxophonist for the Clive Barrows Sextet, tracked down the address and telephone number for Joey Tomasini again through the Italian-American club.  They were back in New York City for the first time in years.  He and Clive Barrows made the call to the house.

The phone rang and Pete answered.

Cyril asked,” Is Joey Tomasini there?”

“Wait a minute. I better get my mother,” Pete said.  He was now fourteen years old. “Hey Mom, somebody wants to talk to Joey.  You better get this.”

Marianne asked tentatively, “Yes?”

“This is Cyril Synoco and Clive Burrows.  We have a number of awards we need to give to Joey.  He played with our group way back in 1942.

“I remember,” Marianne said, hesitating as she tried to figure out how to answer.  What was the right way to answer.  “You haven’t heard then, I guess? Joey was killed during the D-Day invasion on Omaha Beach.”

It still hurt to say it. Every time it brought back the memory of her younger brother dying on just his second day in action.  It also hurt remembering the visit from the army officer to tell her and her mother of their loss.  Saying it and thinking about it — hurt, which is why she tried not to think about it very often.

There was a long silence.  “I didn’t know.  I am so, so sorry.  How tragic.”  Then Cyril went silent again.  “But we do have some great news about Joey when he played with us and made those recordings.  Can we come over tomorrow and present them to you?”

“One minute.”  Marianne went into the parlor and talked with her mother.  Sophia at first shook her head no.  But then she said, “If it is good news, alright.”

“My mother says okay.  I say okay.  What time?

“Would three in the afternoon tomorrow be all right?”

“Sure.  You have the address?”

“Yes.  Once again, I am so sorry.”

“We’ve learned to live with it.  We’ll see you then”.

Marianne hung up the phone on the kitchen wall. “Peter, go into the hall closet and get the shoebox labeled PHOTOS on the top shelf and bring it back to me.”  He had been listening intently to the whole conversation.

She rummaged through the box and found the yellow-jacketed album of black and white photos with her writing on it – Joey at Le Jazz Hot.  Marianne flipped through the twelve photos slowly and tears formed in her eyes.  “Pete, here are the photos of the night when Joey played with the Clive Barrows Sextet in Harlem.”

Pete went through the photos with care.  “Hey, Mom, there’s two pictures of me in the set.”  He was surprised.  He had never seen these before.

“You were there.  I took you so you could see your uncle playing.”

“And who are the other people?  They are almost all colored folks?”

Marianne sat down with him, went through the pictures and told the story of each.” He listened, fully absorbed.

After each photo Pete could only say, “Wow.” Then when they finished he asked, “And, who are the guys coming over tomorrow?”

His mother showed him the picture of Clive and Cyril, specifically pointing them out.

Clive and Cyril were right on time.  First, they were introduced to Sophia and Pete, then were led into the parlor.  They could see that both Sophia and Marianne had been crying. Cyril put a box he had been carrying on the coffee table.

Marianne began, “Tell us about what you’ve brought for Joey?”

Cyril hesitated, “There is so much to say.  I don’t know where to start.”

Sophia, Marianne, and Pete all waited.

Clive asked, “Is there anything more we should say about Joey?  I mean about your loss?”

Marianne said simply, “Let’s wait. Tell us about why you came.”

Clive started.  “If you didn’t know it, Joey was an exceptional trombone player.  We were skeptical at first, but the truth is… the truth is…”

Cyril continued, “…if it weren’t for Joey there that night, these awards would not have happened.”

Clive cut back in. “Put simply, the recording of “Riding the El in Harlem” backed by “Josephine’s Blues” was voted the Best Redbird Jazz recording of the 1940’s.  The record was also listed in the top three jazz recordings of the decade by Downbeat.  All this happened in the last month. Those awards…never would have been given to us without Joey.”

Sophia and Marianne tried to absorb the weight, the impact of this announcement.

Cyril added, “Let me say it this way, because this is the way I feel it.  The jazz world and the field of music lost one of its outstanding trombone stars.  We have no way of knowing how far he would have risen, but it would have been to the top.”

Now, Sophia and Marianne were silently sobbing.

Pete said, “That’s amazing, my uncle.”

Clive added, “We also have a check made out to him in the amount of $500, which is his portion of the monetary awards from Redbird records and from the Sextet. We will make it out to either of you.  Let us know.”

Cyril added, “A copy of all the awards, and the magazine article is in this box, as well as a copy of the original first-cut recording of the two songs, and the most current copy of the record, the fifth release.”

“How fortunate Joey played with us,” Clive mused.

 

***

 

 

As I mentioned earlier I have no specific recollection of all these events when they happened.  But, with the photo album, Mom’s vivid recollection of that night, the visit of Clive Barrows and Cyril Synoco, and listening to the recordings, especially picking out Joey’s contribution, the event is now solid in my mind.

To this day I often visit Uncle Joey blowing his trombone at Le Jazz Hot, and his death in the war, and endlessly wonder what the jazz music world would be like with Joey Tomasini still in it – a jazz world of talent and inspiration.

 

 

_____

 

 

 

Lawrence J. Klumas has written poetry since 1958, and continued writing for his engineering profession — but, most recently re-immersed himself into poetry and writing with a passion.  He has been published in Que sais-je, on-line atJerryJazzMusician, Diocesan Messenger. He contributes a poem weekly to the Fallbrook, CA Episcopal Church newsletter. He has a chapbook submitted for San Diego Book Awards.

He is a retired USAF officer, an engineer, a Viet Nam veteran, and a past Assoc VP Occidental College (Facilities).  He has a BS In Business Administration (with a minor in Literature) from Eastern Nazarene College, and both a BS and MS in Industrial Engineering from Arizona State University.

 

 

Share this:

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

photo via RawPixel.com
“Style” by Laurie Kuntz

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 #169

This trumpeter was in the 1932 car accident that took the life of famed clarinetist/saxophonist Frankie Techemacher (pictured), and is best remembered for his work with Eddie Condon’s bands. Who was 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 Pedro Coelho/Deviant Art/CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 DEED
“After The Death of Margaret: A True Novella” by S. Stephanie...This story -- a finalist in our recently concluded 64th Short Fiction Contest -- harkens back to Richard Brautigan's fiction of the '70s, and explores modern day co-worker relationships/friendship and the politics of for profit "Universities"

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