The “Three Dot Update”…An occasional flurry of news and information, Vol. 1

January 28th, 2020



photo Creative Commons Zero – CC0


Miscellaneous news and notes to share…


….I am currently in the process of compiling the Winter collection of poetry, with hopes of a publication date in the Feb. 10-ish range.   Readers will find lots to like in it. Stay tuned…Roger Singer, who was the “original” Jerry Jazz Musician poet ( I began publishing his poetry many years ago) informs me that he has just been named the poet laureate of Town of Old Lyme, Connecticut.  Congratulations are in order to a consistently excellent and often brilliant poet whose passion for jazz comes out in loving warmth and energetic and insightful bursts…The Pittsburgh poet Kristofer Collins has a new collection, The River Is Another Kind of Prayer: New & Selected Poems (Kung Fu Treachery Press)…(click here for details)John Stupp – also from Pittsburgh – has a new collection as well..When Billy Conn Fought Fritzie Zivic (Red Flag Poetry Press) is now available for presale (click here for details)…I.

….While preparing for an upcoming interview with James Kaplan, author of an entertaining and excellent new biography of Irving Berlin, I have been diving deep into Berlin’s music.  A composer of countless standards (“All By Myself,” “Always,” “Blue Skies,” “Say It Isn’t So,” “White Christmas,” “God Bless America,” well…you get the idea), I was inspired to put together an Irving Berlin Spotify playlist that readers may also enjoy.  Not meant to be comprehensive and not listed chronologically, the list (currently 129 songs) features great music and performances, and is a reminder of the enormity of Berlin’s presence in the world of music – and of those who embraced and interpreted his music.  Click here to access the playlist…In between the music of Berlin and George Gershwin (whose most recent musical biographer Rich Crawford will soon be joining me in an interview), I have been laying my ears on a recording I am  smitten enough with to recommend; Light Blue, by the Belgian saxophonist Julien Hucq.  Now residing in New York, this album features Hucq’s loose, vibrant playing as well as the incomparable George Cables on piano, whose presence alone is enough to make it to the turntable.  Check out Hucqs website, or the album on Spotify.

….I recently had the opportunity to interview Gerald Horne, author of Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music, and who Cornel West describes as “one of the great historians of our time.”  His book tells a jazz history not often told – of the exploitation, racism, sexism, and “racial capitalism” jazz musicians faced and had to perform within.  It is a provocative topic and a discussion worth having.  I discovered much in the process of reading this book, and recommend it to those interested in a history that is at times ugly and uncomfortable and doesn’t always get told.  Look for the interview in the coming days…

….The artist Charles Ingham continues to expand his brilliant series of what he describes as “Jazz Narratives,” photo montages and stories that take us to great and long lost jazz landmarks and events.  An updated post featuring this entire series will be coming soon…Meanwhile, you can click here to see the current editions within the series.

Until next time…





Julien Hucq talks about his album, Light Blue





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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.


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.


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.


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.”


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


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


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


"Speaking in Tongues" by Charles Ingham
Charles 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 “Released from Camarillo State Hospital, Charlie Parker Plays Jack’s Basket Room,”“Diz Railing at the Cosmos,” and “Speaking in Tongues”

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.


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.


News about the poet Arlene Corwin


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.


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…

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