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On the web since 1999

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About

About Jerry Jazz Musician

 

Founded and published in Portland, Oregon since 1997, Jerry Jazz Musician is a non-commercial site whose mission is to explore the culture of 20th Century America with, as noted jazz critic Nat Hentoff wrote, “jazz as the centerpiece.”

We focus on publishing content geared toward readers with interests in jazz music, its rich history, and the culture it influenced – and was influenced by.

We regularly publish original interviews, poetry, literature, and art, and encourage our readers to share their own perspectives.  Information about how to do so is provided further down this page.

Praise for Jerry Jazz Musician

Nominated by the Jazz Journalists Association for “Best Website Concentrating on Jazz,” 2006 and 2007 

 

“Of the jazz websites I visit, the most far-ranging – and therefore, most often surprising – is Jerry Jazz Musician…The site encompasses what could be called American civilization with jazz as the centerpiece.” 

– journalist Nat Hentoff

 

“Your site is a wonder.”

– author Greil Marcus

 

“It’s a tremendous site, full of surprise and information.”

– critic and author Gary Giddins

 

“You do an astonishing job with these materials.  More power to you – and many thanks for picking me to receive the full JJM treatment!”

– Jack Johnson biographer Geoffrey Ward

 

“First time visiting your site, to read the [Pulitzer Prize-winning author] Diane McWhorter interview, which was so good.  The way the graphics and links are tied in is really wonderful, and the interview was serious.  Your site is a hip experience.”

– author Tom Piazza

 

“There is a much richer level of thought in your magazine than what one encounters in any other American magazine – the most ambitious and the most remarkable jazz magazine I have ever seen.  What a sweep!  What you are doing for American culture is so unique and so well considered, all the rest of us can do is observe it with awe.”

– critic Stanley Crouch

 

The origins of “Jerry Jazz Musician”

The origins of the character “Jerry Jazz Musician” came out of a Woody Allen stand-up routine from the 1960’s called “Unhappy Childhood.”   During the routine, Allen jokes about riding the subway to his clarinet lesson, dressed  “Jerry Jazz Musician style.” The description conjured up images of someone who is hip – a guy who “made the scene.”

 

This image became inspiration for creating a fictional character who embodies all the qualities of the mid-century urbanite – stylish, well read, loves music, sports and culture, and hangs out in night clubs, record and book stores, and travels around the world.

 

In 1997, a logo was developed, and two years later, the site was launched as part catalog, part magazine.  The magazine portion of the all non-commercial site continues to be published.

 

Woody Allen’s reference to “Jerry Jazz Musician” in “Unhappy Childhood” can be heard at the 1:10 mark.

 

Founder and Publisher:

Joe Maita

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area listening to the sounds of my father practicing his trumpet and viola in the basement of our suburban home.  While our house consisted mostly of the sounds of Montovani and Al Hirt, thankfully Ellington and Basie recordings were also at my disposal (as were the Beatles, Creedence, Stones, the Who, Santana, the Doors, and all the rock gods of the era).

 

My life changed, like so many others, upon hearing Kind of Blue for the first time (at age 14).  I subsequently spent most of my time (and paychecks) in the record stores of Berkeley and San Francisco, chasing down the recorded lives of everyone from Armstrong to Ornette — a quest that continues to this day.

 

I wanted to be a writer, but, in 1978 I moved to Portland, where I started a career in the record business, at first stocking record warehouse shelves with LP and 8-track recordings by the Bee Gees, Peter Frampton, and Billy Joel (not the hip existence I was expecting from the record business), and then gaining access to the company’s front office via sales, promotion, marketing and various management positions, which included selling records to some of the coolest record stores in the western U.S.

 

I have since been a veteran of the record and entertainment software business for 40 years (recently retired), and am also Past President of PDX Jazz, the presenting organization of the Portland (Oregon) Jazz Festival.

 

I started Jerry Jazz Musician as a way to communicate my passion for the culture of jazz, and for the associated history it altered and inspired.  I hope you enjoy…

 

Jerry Jazz Musician regularly publishes work by contributing artists, and encourages you to consider submitting work for consideration.  The following addresses general questions about how to submit and terms/conditions.

What we seek to publish:

Any creative offerings are considered for publication, including original poetry, short fiction, memoirs, criticism, essays, nonfiction, interviews, fine art, short films, and photographs.  Ideally your submission will appeal to readers who have an interest in jazz music and related culture.

While we don’t wish to restrict your submissions, basic guidelines are as follows:

Short fiction, nonfiction, essays, etc. – no more than 5,000 words, please

Short fiction can be entered into our Short Fiction Contest, which is held three times every year. Details on how to submit your story can be found here

Poetry – submit three to five at a time

Fine art and photography – send samples via JPG attachment or provide a link to your work

Multimedia – before submitting, explain your work in an email (you will be requested to send your file after that).  Please limit your submissions to up to ten minutes.

Simultaneous submissions are accepted.  If your submission is accepted elsewhere while being considered by Jerry Jazz Musician, please inform us.

Submit your work via email (with PDF or Word document attached) to jerryjazzmusician@gmail.com. Please submit a short biography (two sentences for starters) with your work.  Once submitted you will be contacted within a reasonable amount of time that it has been received.

Publishing terms and conditions

The artist retains complete copyright of published submission.

 

When you agree to these terms and allow your work to be published on Jerry Jazz Musician (www.jerryjazzmusician.com), you extend your rights on a worldwide basis (the breadth of the Internet).

 

Once your work has been published on Jerry Jazz Musician, you may publish and sell your work at any time, and to anyone you choose.  We only request artists to note that the work was originally published on Jerry Jazz Musician.

Editing/Display/Publication

Your work may or may not be edited prior to publication.  If extensive edits are required, the artist will be notified well in advance of publication for appropriate discussion.  If a minimal amount of editing is required, Jerry Jazz Musician reserves the right to publish without review of the artist.

 

Jerry Jazz Musician may use your name and the name of your work in order to market and publicize the work.

Payment

Short Fiction Contest winners receive $100.  (Contest details can be viewed here).  Unless otherwise stated, all other accepted and published submissions are done so without compensation to the artist.

Artist representations

Artist represents and warrants that the submission is an original work of art and will not infringe or misappropriate the Intellectual Property Rights of any third party.  Artist agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Jerry Jazz Musician for any loss, injury, or damages resulting from a breach of these warranties.

 

If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at jerryjazzmusician@gmail.com and I will do my best to answer them.

 

Thanks for considering sharing your work with the Jerry Jazz Musician community.

 

 

 

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.

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.

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

Poetry

photo by Eric Frommer (transformed from color)/CC BY-SA 2.0
Two poems of reflection and remembrance, by Michael L. Newell and Russell DuPont

Art

"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.

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.

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

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

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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