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

Interviews with three outstanding, acclaimed writers and scholars who discuss their books on Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter, and their subjects’ lives in and out of music. 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.

Poetry

The winter collection of poetry offers readers a look at the culture of jazz music through the imaginative writings of its 32 contributors. Within these 41 poems, writers express their deep connection to the music – and those who play it – in their own inventive and often philosophical language that communicates much, but especially love, sentiment, struggle, loss, and joy.

Interview

NBC Radio-photo by Ray Lee Jackson / Public domain
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, acclaimed biographer James Kaplan (Frank: The Voice and Sinatra: The Chairman) talks about his book, Irving Berlin: New York Genius, and 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.

Interview

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection
Richard Crawford’s Summertime: George Gershwin’s Life in Music is a rich, detailed and rewarding musical biography that describes Gershwin's work throughout every stage of his career. In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Crawford discusses his book and 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.”

Interview

photo unattributed/ Public domain
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview with The Letters of Cole Porter co-author Dominic McHugh, he explains that “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.” Mr. McHugh discusses his book, and what the letters reveal about the life – in-and-out of music – of Cole Porter.

Book Excerpt

The introduction to John Burnside's The Music of Time: Poetry in the Twentieth Century – excerpted here in its entirety with the gracious consent of Princeton University Press – is the author's fascinating observation concerning the idea of how poets respond to what the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam called “the noise of time,” weaving it into a kind of music.

Short Fiction

photo Creative Commons CC0
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #53 — “Market & Fifth, San Francisco, 1986,” by Paul Perilli

Interview

photo by Bouna Ndaiye
Interview with Gerald Horne, author of Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music

Poetry

photo by Brian McMillen
"Our Father, Who Art McCoy Tyner" -- a poem by John Stupp

Art

"Out West, Thinking About Miles Davis," by Charles Ingham
Ingham’s “Jazz Narratives” connect time, place, and subject in a way that ultimately allows the viewer a unique way of experiencing jazz history. This edition’s narratives are “"Exactly Where She Is Supposed to Be," "In Memory of Clora Bryant, Standing Outside the Downbeat,” and “Out West, Thinking About Miles Davis”

Book Excerpt

A ten page excerpt from The Letters of Cole Porter by Cliff Eisen and Dominic McHugh that features correspondence in the time frame of June to August, 1953, including those Porter had with George Byron (the man who married Jerome Kern’s widow), fellow writer Abe Burrows, Noel Coward, his secretary Madeline P. Smith, close friend Sam Stark, and his lawyer John Wharton.

Interview

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Con Chapman, author of Rabbit's Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges discusses the great Ellington saxophonist

Jazz History Quiz #134

Photo by Brian McMillen/Brian McMillen Photography
Influenced by Charlie Parker and Phil Woods (pictured), before forming his own group this alto player got his start in Buddy Rich’s Big Band, and shortly thereafter played with Lionel Hampton. While leading his own band, he was famous for playing bebop covers of songs such as “The I Love Lucy Theme,” “Come Fly With Me,” and “Hooray for Hollywood,” and often performed with singer Eddie Jefferson. Who is he?

Book Excerpt

This story, excerpted from Irving Berlin: New York Genius by James Kaplan, describes how Berlin came to write his first major hit song, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” and speaks to its historic musical and cultural significance.

Community

News about the poet Arlene Corwin

Photography

photo of Stephane Grappelli by Veryl Oakland
Veryl Oakland’s “Jazz in Available Light” — photos (and stories) of violinists Joe Venuti, Stephane Grappelli, Jean-Luc Ponty, Zbigniew Seifert, and Leroy Jenkins

Great Encounters

photo of Sidney Bechet by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
In this edition of "Great Encounters," Con Chapman, author of Rabbit’s Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges, writes about Hodges’ early musical training, and the first meeting he had with Sidney Bechet, the influential and legendary reed player who Hodges called “tops in my book.”

Book Excerpt

In the introduction to Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music, author Gerald Horne writes about the severe cultural and economic obstacles jazz musicians have encountered since the music's inception

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

"What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?"
Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

Pressed for All Time

In this edition, producer Helen Keane tells Michael Jarrett, author of Pressed For All Time: Producing the Great Jazz Albums about how the collaboration of Tony Bennett and Bill Evans began, culminating in the 1975 recording, The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album.

Humor

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
"Every Soul is a Circus," by Dig Wayne

In the Previous Issue

photo by Carol Friedman
“The Jazz Photography Issue” features an interview with today’s most eminent jazz portrait photographer Carol Friedman, news from Michael Cuscuna about newly released Francis Wolff photos, as well as archived interviews with William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Lee Tanner, a piece on Milt Hinton, a new edition of photos from Veryl Oakland, and much more…

Contributing writers

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