A New Year’s message, and an invitation

January 1st, 2020




photo Creative Commons Zero – CC0



“If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for?”

—Alice Walker




Greetings, and Happy New Year, Folks:

…..Two things happen today.  We bring in a new year, and with it a new decade.

…..There is great hope for the decade.   We have to hold that long-term hope, right?

…..I fear, however, that this year is going to a doozy.  The political tactics and smears we are likely to witness could be so tawdry and undignified that even the most hardened and experienced political operatives will be challenged to defend or even comprehend them.   Those addicted to the scent of power will do and say whatever necessary to hold on to it, and the media will do what they do – provoke us enough to watch their programs and buy their advertiser’s products.

…..Amid all this likely acrimony, it will take substantial effort to conjure up hope.

…..At the outset of this political year I resolve to watch less cable television, stay away from the cancer of social media, and bury myself in art and history – more reading and more learning and more viewing art in the hopes that, as Alice Walker says, it will make me “better.”

…..Publishing this site allows me the opportunity to be exposed to lots of art and literature.  I receive so much excellent work from the community of writers who contribute to Jerry Jazz Musician that at times I am surrounded, literally, by poetry and fiction.  It is incredibly rewarding and gratifying.  But, I would love to read more and to learn more from this growing artistic community.

…..With that, I invite writers and artists to submit your poetry, fiction, personal stories, art, photography and film for consideration of publication on Jerry Jazz Musician.  An immediate opportunity is participating in the 53rd Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest (details here).  Another is to have your poetry considered for inclusion in an upcoming Spring collection of poetry, to be published in February.  (Click here to read the Fall collection).  Ongoing opportunities abound, and submissions are considered throughout the year.  Details and submission guidelines can be found by clicking here.

…..The good news about provocative, unsettling times is that the art world tends to respond with creative fervor.  I hope this website can play a role in your desire to share your own creativity with others.

Best wishes for good health and happiness in the year (and decade) ahead.

Joe Maita


Jerry Jazz Musician



Bill Evans plays “You’re Gonna Hear From Me”





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One comments on “A New Year’s message, and an invitation”

  1. Hi Joe: To you, and a very heartfelt article. I find it, very, very sad no one else said something.
    I believe, art is all: jazz is all. Art and literature and jazz make the world survive. These are the hidden truths, over the decades and the senselessness of politics. If you cannot respond because of politics, you are, and jazz and music, and art are dead, to you.
    It took me awhile to write, I was concerned, of being judged. I have no politics, if I think like, you
    have the answer. Jazz and all the arts, have a beauty, out of all of time. They are special
    for the special people that know this. As my minister friend says to me, blessing to all of us,
    blessing for jazz and music to you…… Heartfelt, to you Joe, Alan

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In this Issue

Art by Russell Dupont
Twenty-eight poets contribute 37 poems to the Jerry Jazz Musician Fall Poetry Collection, living proof that the energy and spirit of jazz is alive — and quite well.


photo by Francis Wolff/© Mosaic Images
Interview with Paul Lopes, author of Art Rebels: Race, Class and Gender in the Art of Miles Davis and Martin Scorsese

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

Short Fiction

Photo/CC0 Public Doman
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #52 — “Random Blonde,” by Zandra Renwick


Image by Matthias Gabriel from Pixabay
"Up in the Attic" -- a poem by Alan Yount

Jazz History Quiz #132

photo of Dizzy Gillespie by Brian McMillen
This legendary saxophonist has worked with Lionel Hampton, Johnny Hodges, Dizzy Gillespie (pictured), Art Blakey, and Art Farmer, and has become known as much for his compositions as the greatness of his horn playing, having written standards like “I Remember Clifford,” “Killer Joe,” and “Along Came Betty.” Who is he?


photo of Esbjorn Svensson Trio/Pkobel/Creative Commons
“The Trio That Should Have Reshaped Jazz” — an essay by Scott Archer Jones


photo of Jackie McLean by Veryl Oakland
Veryl Oakland’s “Jazz in Available Light” — photos (and stories) of Mal Waldron, Jackie McLean and Joe Henderson

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.”


photo by Michael Lionstar
In a wide-ranging interview, Nate Chinen, former New York Times jazz critic and currently the director of editorial content for WBGO (Jazz) Radio, talks about his book Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century,, described by Herbie Hancock as a “fascinating read” that shows Chinen’s “firm support of the music

“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

"Jazz Samba"/Verve Records
In this edition, excerpted from Michael Jarrett's Pressed For All Time, legendary producer Creed Taylor remembers the 1962 Stan Getz recording, Jazz Samba


Photographer Carol Friedman
In an entertaining conversation that also features a large volume of her famous photography, Carol Friedman discusses her lifelong work of distinction in the world of jazz photography


“Me, Thinking about Nona Faustine” — a photo-narrative by Charles Ingham


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

Short Fiction

photo/Creative Commons CC0.
Con Chapman, author of Rabbit's Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges, contributes a humorous short story, "Father Kniest: Jazz Priest"

In the Previous Issue

photo of Sullivan Fortner 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…

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