“Life during the time of isolation and social distancing” Vol. 3 — journalist Joe Hagan and photographer Tim Davis

May 5th, 2020

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Downtown Man” by James Brewer

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…..In recent days, I have posed this question  via email to a handful of creative artists and citizens of note:

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…..“During this time of social distancing and isolation at home, what are examples of the music you are listening to, the books you are reading, and/or the television or films you are viewing?” (If you wish, please feel free to also share your thoughts on the effects this isolation is having on your creativity or on your world).

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…..Responses to this question will be published periodically as this era progresses.

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This edition features the email responses of journalist Joe Hagan and photographer Tim Davis

(published with only minor stylistic editing)

 

 

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photo Tim Davis

Joe Hagan

Investigative journalist;  special correspondent for .Vanity Fair; .author of  Sticky Fingers:  The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine

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This response was submitted on April 1

…..For me, music is a daily elixir and especially right now. I’ve been playing records at night on Facebook Live, a little living room jam for friends, and getting a lot of mileage from the Basie “jam” albums on Pablo Records and Yusef Lateef’s 1960s albums for Atlantic. But the album I keep coming back to is this odd but absolutely fantastic album, “Newport Rebels.”

…..In 1960, Charles Mingus and Max Roach decided they’d had it with the “annual Ben-Hur-with-a-horn production at Freebody Park,” as the liner notes put it. The Newport Jazz Festival, they felt, had become too commercial and formulaic. Ever the provocateur, Mingus put on his own outlier program in nearby Cliff Manor. Later that fall, he and Roach — with Roy Eldridge, Eric Dolphy, Jo Jones and the great Tommy Flanagan — cut this album, an homage to their achievement. It’s a warm and deeply brotherly jam, with Mingus and Jones — and, alternately, Mingus and Roach — giving the elder Eldridge room to stretch out on some swinging, bluesy solos that surprise and delight at every turn. The feeling of intimate connection inside these jams is palpable. You can tell Mingus has so much heart for Eldridge and Jones, who are bonded in the blues. Flanagan’s touch on piano, of course, is the essence of soul. If you were quarantined with only one band, you could hardly do better than this.

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…..If you only sample one track, try “Me and You,” the closer. It’s magic. (Originally released on the Candid label, this is a reissue from Barnaby Records, pressed in 1978)

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Tim Davis

Tim Davis (born Malawi, 1969) is an artist, writer, and musician who lives in Tivoli, NY and teaches photography at Bard College. His latest project, I’m Looking Through You, will be published by Aperture in 2021. The Tang Museum at Skidmore College showed alarge survey of recent work in photography, video, sound, sculpture and performance entitled “When We Are Dancing, I Get Ideas” in 2019. The catalog will be published in 2020.

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This response was submitted on April 9

Once Trump and Pence died of Covid-19, we all remember the jubilation many felt when Nancy Pelosi became president. And in her first week, like a lion in winter, she passed the CAT (Covid Arts Transfusion) Act, which provided a huge swell of funds for artists who can “ameliorate, absorb, swaddle, and embrace the pain humanity is suffering.” My project, Healing Blimps, immediately swelled into fruition. I received a grant to float a dozen dirigibles over the country’s settlements, broadcasting a playlist of music that, just by being in its presence, heals the soul. Each was outfitted with a speaker system that wouldn’t be out of place at a Led Zeppelin concert or Papal Encyclical, to bring our message of hope and delirium to the world. The playlist for the blimps quickly evolved, over a marijuana-fueled Zoom meeting between me and my global musical shaman-consultants. Of course, there were accidents. The spring weather in Oklahoma is problematic for blimps. But mostly, the country reported that when the Healing Blimps arrived, communities came together, (six feet apart) and wept (in their masks). Hearts were opened and genuineness flowed through the lymph systems of our sisters and brothers in quarantine. Here is the first Healing Blimps playlist:

 

          1. Alice Coltrane, Turaya &  Ramakrishna
          2. Hilliard Ensemble, Guillaume Dufay, O Sancte Sebastiane
          3. Come Live with Me, Dorothy Ashby
          4. The Inflated Tear, Rahsaan Roland Kirk
          5. Paris, Texas, Ry Cooder
          6. Aguirre I Lacrimae de Rei, Popol Vuh
          7. Bismillahi ‘Rrahmani ‘Rrahim, Harold Budd
          8. It Never Entered My Mind, Miles Davis Quintet
          9. Flying, The Beatles
          10. Alabama (Live at Birdland), John Coltrane
          11. Lift Him Up, That’s All, Washington Phillips
          12. Chants d’Auvergne, Vol. 1: No.2. Bailero, Joseph Cantaloube
          13. Magnolia, Jorge Ben
          14. I Want to Pay You Back, The Chi Lites
          15. B-A-B-Y, Carla Thomas
          16. Coldest Night of the Year, Vashti Bunyan
          17. Memphis in June, Nina Simone
          18. Swamp Fire, Duke Ellington
          19. That Summer Feeling, Jonathan Richman
          20. I Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape, Nugrape Twins
          21. I Must Be in a Good Place Now, Bobby Charles
          22. A Love Supreme, John Coltrane
          23. We Shall Overcome, Charlie  Haden
          24. Rivers of Babylon, The Melodians
          25. Arvo Part, Spiegel im Spiegel
          26. Fleurette Africaine, Duke Ellington
          27. Astral Traveling, Pharaoh Sander
          28. Bwaata, Joe Henderson
          29. His Blessings, McCoy Tyner
          30. Like it Is, Yusef Late
          31. Let Her Dance, Bobby Fuller Four

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          Click here to read Volume 1 of this series, featuring recording artist Bruce Cockburn.

          Click here to read Volume 2 of this series, featuring music writers/critics Howard Mandel and Joel Selvin

          Click here to read Volume 4 of this series, featuring Spelman College president Mary Schmidt Campbell

          Click here to read Volume 5 of this series, featuring Arizona State University historian Tracy Fessenden

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In this Issue

A Collection of Jazz Poetry – Spring, 2020 Edition There are many good and often powerful poems within this collection, one that has the potential for changing the shape of a reader’s universe during an impossibly trying time, particularly if the reader has a love of music. 33 poets from all over the globe contribute 47 poems. Expect to read of love, loss, memoir, worship, freedom, heartbreak and hope – all collected here, in the heart of this unsettling spring. (Featuring the art of Martel Chapman)

Interview

Ornette Coleman 1966/photo courtesy Mosaic Images
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Ornette Coleman: The Territory And The Adventure author Maria Golia 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.

Features

Red Meditation by James Brewer
Creative artists and citizens of note respond to the question, "During this time of social distancing and isolation at home, what are examples of the music you are listening to, the books you are reading, and/or the television or films you are viewing?”

Book Excerpt

In the introduction to Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time – the author Philip Clark writes about the origins of the book, and his interest in shining a light on how Brubeck, “thoughtful and sensitive as he was, had been changed as a musician and as a man by the troubled times through which he lived and during which he produced such optimistic, life-enhancing art.”

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.

Book Excerpt

In the introduction to Maria Golia’s Ornette Coleman: The Territory and the Adventure – excerpted here in its entirety – the author takes the reader through the four phases of the brilliant musician’s career her book focuses on.

Art

Art 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. Volume 7 of the narratives are “Torn from Its Moorings", "Watching the Sea" and "Plantations" (featuring west coast stories of Ornette Coleman and Billie Holiday)

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.”

Jazz History Quiz #138

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Shortly following their famed 1938 Carnegie Hall performance, Benny Goodman’s drummer Gene Krupa left the band to start his own. Who replaced Krupa?

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

Photography

photo by Veryl Oakland
In this edition of photographs and stories from Veryl Oakland’s book Jazz in Available Light, Frank Morgan, Michel Petrucciani/Charles Lloyd, and Emily Remler are featured

Poetry

photo Bret Stewart/Wikimedia Commons
“Afterwards — For the Spring, 2020” — a poem by Alan Yount

Interview

photo by Fred Price
Bob Hecht and Grover Sales host a previously unpublished 1985 interview with the late, great jazz saxophonist Lee Konitz, who talks about Miles, Kenton, Ornette, Tristano, and the art of improvisation...

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

Humor

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
"Louis Armstrong on the Moon," by Dig Wayne

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.

Pressed for All Time

In this edition, producer Tom Dowd talks with Pressed for All Time: Producing the Great Jazz Albums author Michael Jarrett about the genesis of Herbie Mann’s 1969 recording, Memphis Underground, and the executives and musicians involved

Interview

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

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.”

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.

“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

In the Previous 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.

In an Earlier 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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