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  • Jazz History, Culture, Community
  • Jazz History, Culture, Community

In This Issue

A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Summer, 2020 Edition


The 43 poets who contribute to the Summer Collection communicate their heartfelt passion for the artistry and inspiration found in jazz music, and help readers, in the words of Art Blakey, “wash away the dust of everyday life” – a special gift to share during this restless summer of discontent…and hope.


(painting of Clifford Brown by Warren Goodson, whose art is featured throughout the collection)



Also in this issue…

…..The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s 1959 album Time Out has long been recognized as one of jazz music’s most important and enduring recordings. While that album remains essential (and enjoyable) listening – Paul Desmond’s “Take Five” may be the most recognizable jazz recording ever – Brubeck’s genius is that through much of his 66-year-long-career he managed to construct music that displayed complex technique while simultaneously earning wide commercial success.

…..Brubeck’s most notable achievements came during a time of major societal and cultural change, and often in the face of critics who at times found his music too technical and bombastic. He was an enigmatic and extraordinary pianist, composer, and band leader, and a subject ripe for biography.

….. In the introduction to Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time, the author Philip Clark writes that his plan for the book was to “thread his life back through the times that formed it.” Much of the book revolves around conversations and details that emerged during a ten day period in 2003 when, according to the book’s publisher (Da Capo), the author was “granted unparalleled access” to Brubeck. The result is that “Brubeck opened up as never before, disclosing his unique approach to jazz; the heady days of his ‘classic’ quartet in the 1950s-60s; hanging out with Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, and Miles Davis; and the many controversies that had dogged his career.”

…..Clark’s book is an impressive blend of expert musical analysis, the sociology that surrounded and informed much of Brubeck’s art, and an appropriate amount of esteem reserved for his legendary subject.

…..Clark discusses his book in a May 26, 2020 interview






…..An interview with Maria Golia, author of Ornette Coleman:  The Territory and the Adventure, who author discusses her compelling and rewarding book about the artist whose philosophy and the astounding, adventurous music he created served to continually challenge the skeptical status quo, and made him a guiding light of the artistic avant-garde throughout a career spanning seven decades.






…..At the heart of great jazz music are the tunes that make up the Great American Songbook.  These songs – most often written for Broadway musicals and films of early Hollywood – have become known as “American Standards,” and are some of the most revered in popular music history.


…..While many distinguished composers contributed to the Songbook, we are directing attention on three eminent figures – Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Cole Porter – whose lives have come into focus due to the recent publication of three outstanding works devoted to them: Irving Berlin: New York Genius, by James Kaplan; Summertime: George Gershwin’s Life in Music, by Richard Crawford; and The Letters of Cole Porter, by Cliff Eisen and Dominic McHugh.


…..In this issue of Jerry Jazz Musician, we feature interviews with these acclaimed writers and scholars who discuss their books and their subjects’ lives in and out of music.


…..In our interview on Irving Berlin, Kaplan – author of Frank: The Voice and Sinatra: The Chairman – discusses Berlin’s unparalleled musical career and business success, his intense sense of family and patriotism during a complex and evolving time, and the artist’s permanent cultural significance.


…..In our interview with Richard Crawford, the professor emeritus at the University of Michigan, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a past president of the American Musicological Society who has published ten books on American music, discusses Gershwin, the man he has described as a “fresh voice of the Jazz Age” who “challenged Americans to rethink their assumptions about composition and performance, nationalism, cultural hierarchy, and the racial divide.”


…..In our interview with Dominic McHugh, the Professor in Musicology at the University of Sheffield, U.K. who has published six books on American musicals (including Loverly: The Life and Times of My Fair Lady and The Complete Lyrics of Alan Jay Lerner) talks about how “several of the big biographical tropes that we associate with Porter are either modified or contested by the letters,” and that “when you put together these letters, and add our quite extensive commentary between the letters, it creates a different picture of him.”


…..These interviews – which each include photos and several full-length songs – provide readers easy access to an entertaining and enlightening learning experience about these three giants of American popular music.


photo by Veryl Oakland

Veryl Oakland’s “Jazz in Available Light” — photos (and stories) of Dexter Gordon, Art Farmer and Johnny Griffin

In this edition of photographs and stories from Mr. Oakland’s book, Dexter Gordon, Art Farmer and Johnny Griffin are featured.

photo courtesy John Bolger Collection

Interview with Philip Clark, author of Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time

The author discusses the enigmatic and extraordinary pianist, composer, and band leader, whose most notable achievements came during a time of major societal and cultural change, and often in the face of critics who at times found his music too technical and bombastic.

photo of James Baldwin by Allan Warren

Interview with Nicholas Buccola, author of The Fire is Upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America

During the interview, the author tells the story of the historic 1965 Cambridge Union debate between Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and Buckley, a staunch opponent of the movement and founder in 1955 of the leading conservative publication, National Review. The evening’s debate topic? “The American dream is at the expense of the American Negro.”

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress

Great Encounters: When Lionel Hampton recorded with the King Cole Trio

“Great Encounters” are book excerpts that chronicle famous encounters among twentieth-century cultural icons. In this edition, Will Friedwald, author of Straighten Up and Fly Right: The Life and Music of Nat King Cole, writes about the 1940 Lionel Hampton/King Cole Trio RCA Victor recording sessions.

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