Who was your childhood hero?

April 14th, 2013

Childhood Heroes —  We all had them

Excerpted from exclusive Jerry Jazz Musician interviews, our guests talk of theirs.

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Reverend Ralph David Abernathy’s daughter Donzaleigh Abernathy

Low Down: junk, jazz, and other fairy tales from childhood author Amy Albany

Bessie Smith biographer Chris Albertson

Jack Kerouac collaborator David Amram

Jazz Modernism author Alfred Appel

Joshua Berrett, author of Louis Armstrong and Paul Whiteman: Two Kings of Jazz

New Yorker writer Whitney Balliett

Anthony Bianco, author of Ghosts of 42nd Street: A History of America’s Most Infamous Block

Arc of Justice author Kevin Boyle

New York Times writer, Stork Club author Ralph Blumenthal

Lost Sounds:  Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1890 – 1919 author Tim Brooks

Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans author Thomas Brothers

Madam C.J. Walker biographer A’Lelia Bundles

Ralph Ellison ‘s literary executor John Callahan

New York Mayor John Lindsay historian Vincent Cannato

Free Speech Movement historian Robert Cohen

World War II historian David Colley

Gil Evans biographer Stephanie Stein Crease

Cultural critic Stanley Crouch

Writer, critic Francis Davis

Bayrd Rustin biographer John D’Emilio

Chet Baker biographer Jeroen de Valk

Django Reinhardt biographer Michael Dregni

Cultural critic Gerald Early

Bobby Darin biographer David Evanier

Jazz poet Sascha Feinstein

Stardust Melodies writer Will Friedwald

Chet Baker biographer James Gavin

Blowin’ Hot and Cool: Jazz and Its Critics author John Gennari

Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins

Ken Burns advisor Matt Glaser

Beat poet Gary Glazner

Harlem Globetrotters biographer Ben Green

Sam Cooke biographer Peter Guralnick

Billie Holiday historian Farah Griffin

Kansas City Jazz: From Ragtime to Bebop — A History author Chuck Haddix

Complete Poems of Kenneth Rexroth editor Sam Hamill

Journalist Nat Hentoff

Ralph Ellison biographer Lawrence Jackson

Making of Kind of Blue author Ashley Kahn

Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Leters editor Carla Kaplan

Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original author Robin D. G. Kelley

Boogaloo: The Quintessance of American Popular Music author Arthur Kempton

Jazz on the River author William Howland Kenney

Ralph Ellison documentarian Avon Kirkland

Rahsaan Roland Kirk biographer John Kruth

Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution author Neil Lanctot

Critic and writer, Gene Lees

Tony Award winning playwright Warren Leight

Hip: The History author John Leland

Nelson Riddle biographer Peter Levinson

The Burning author Tim Madigan

Fletcher Henderson biographer Jeffrey Magee

They Marched Into Sunlight author David Maraniss

Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, and a World on the Brink author David Margolick

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War author Karl Marlantes

Pulitzer Prize winning author Diane McWhorter

Billy Tipton biographer Diane Wood Middlebrook

Musician, writer Max Morath

Jazz historian, Living With Jazz author Dan Morgenstern

Author, critic Albert Murray

Seriously Funny author Gerald Nachman

Sonny Rollins biographer Eric Nisenson

Paul Bowles biographer Cherie Nutting

Writer Robert O’Meally

Jelly Roll Morton biographer Phil Pastras

Robert Johnson: Lost and Found author Barry Lee Pearson

The Producer: John Hammond and the Soul of American Music author Dunstan Prial

Chasin’ The Bird : The Life and Legacy of Charlie Parker author Brian Priestley

Ralph Ellison in America author Horace Porter

Paul Desmond biographer Doug Ramsey

New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff

Saxophonist Joshua Redman

Writer Ishmael Reed

W.C. Handy biographer David Robertson

Richard Wright biographer Hazel Rowley

Reverend C.L. Franklin biographer Nick Salvatore

Bill Evans biographer Keith Shadwick

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Cab Calloway biographer Alyn Shipton

Jackie Robinson biographer, NPR journalist Scott Simon

Lenny Bruce biographer David Skover

Comedian Tom Smothers

Hoagy Carmichael biographer Richard Sudhalter

Miles Davis biographer John Szwed

Jazz photographer Lee Tanner

Journalist Terry Teachout

Can’t Find My Way Home: America in the Great Stoned Age, 1945 – 2000 author Martin Torgoff

Pianist McCoy Tyner

Jack Johnson biographer Geoffrey Ward

Flying over 96th Street: Memoir of an East Harlem White Boy author Thomas Webber

Newport Jazz Festival founder George Wein

Satchmo Blows Up the World author Penny Von Eschen

Fire in a Canebrake author Laura Wexler

Our Mothers’ War: American Women at Home and at the Front During World War II author Emily Yellin

Mitchell and Ruff biographer William Zinsser

Dixie Hummingbirds biographer Jerry Zolten

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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

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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

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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?”

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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

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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.

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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

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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.”

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Interview Archive

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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.

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