(More of) “A Great Day in Harlem”

An iconic image of music history is Art Kane’s August 12, 1958 photograph of 57 of the music’s most important (and now beloved) figures in jazz music, who congregated on the curb and stairs at 17 East 126th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenue.

Forever known simply as “A Great Day in Harlem,” the photograph was taken, as John Leland reminds us in the September 28 edition of the New York Times, in the era when “the generation of Count Basie and Duke Ellington was yielding to the newer bebop players, who in turn were starting to be challenged by the next wave, not seen in this shot.”  Many in New York’s scene came that morning, among them Monk, Basie, Dizzy,

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October 3rd, 2018

The Memorial for Peace and Justice — a critic’s analysis

     In the June 4 New York Times, the art critic Holland Cotter describes the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama as an artistic opportunity to “encourage truth-telling far and wide.”

     The Memorial is one of two newly opened sites in the city (the other is the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration) created by Bryan Stevenson, director of the non-profit advocacy group the Equal Justice Initiative and author of the best-selling book

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June 4th, 2018

The art of John Allinson

In his description of Welsh painter John Allinson’s work “House of Dreams” – a mural in progress “celebrating a viewpoint of entertainment as an art form” that will eventually be 1000 feet wide – the art critic Rex Harley wrote that “a host of artists and entertainers emerge from a swirl of colours, in the same way that their counterparts stepped out from the stream of history to entertain and enrich our lives.” 

This is also an apt view of Allinson’s prolific and noteworthy interpretations of jazz ensembles.  His work evokes appropriate nostalgia and sentimentality while expressing passion for the culture of jazz music by

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May 18th, 2018

Masters of Jazz Photography: Paul Hoeffler

Photographer Paul Hoeffler, who studied with the likes of Ansel Adams, Alfred Eisenstadt, and Nancy Newhall, discovered an interest in photographing jazz musicians through his regular attendance at Rochester, New York jazz clubs the Pythodd, the Ridgecrest Inn, the Auditorium Theater, the Eastman Theater, and the University of Rochester auditoriums.  He cites Louis Armstrong as an early inspiration, and he subsequently photographed Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck and a variety of others during their tours through

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March 17th, 2018

“All is Heard in Painting” — the art of Jazzamoart

The visual artist Jazzamoart of Guanajuato, Mexico has long enticed serious jazz collectors with his uncommon, audacious, and joyful paintings. Possibly the most important expressionist artist interpreting jazz, the critic Antonio Rodriguez wrote that Jazzamoart’s paintings “are reminiscent of Jackson Pollock’s style and the expression takes from the horrorific elements of Willem de Kooning’s work,” while Jose Luis Cuevas describes it as “if he were a mad jazz dancer who discovers the origins of the earth every time his toe dips into it.”  His color-filled work includes abstract interpretations of musicians and the settings they perform in.  The musicians often wear masks which symbolize, according to the artist, “the multiplicity of human identity, that life is improvisation and invention.”

 

Examples of his work follow…

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November 28th, 2017

Chick Corea at the Blue Note — photos by John McCluskey

Photographer, writer John McCluskey contributes these photographs he took while attending the Chick Corea show on Saturday, September 30 at the Blue Note in New York. 
 
“At the end of the performance Chick’s wife Gayle Moran joined them onstage and sang,” McCluskey wrote in his email to me.  “It was a very intimate scene with Chick and Gayle collaborating and exchanging

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October 3rd, 2017

Nancy Ostrovsky — performance artist inspired by jazz music

Jazz music has long been inspiration for artists, poets, and writers (Romare Bearden, Jack Kerouac and Langston Hughes are some obvious examples)…For more contemporary evidence, check out these remarkable videos featuring performance artist Nancy Ostrovsky, who creates wondrous paintings while accompanied by 1) the Roswell Rudd Trio, 2) saxophonist Patrick Cress, 3) saxophonist Stan Strickland, and 4) by a

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September 13th, 2017

“Cover Stories with Paul Morris,” Vol. 22


Paul Morris is a graphic designer and writer who collects album art of the 1940’s and 1950’s. He finds his examples of influential mid-century design in the used record stores of Portland, Oregon.
 

In this edition, Paul features album covers of his favorite pop singers of the 1950’s 

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July 29th, 2017

“Cover Stories with Paul Morris,” Vol. 21

Paul Morris is a graphic designer and writer who collects album art of the 1940’s and 1950’s. He finds his examples of influential mid-century design in the used record stores of Portland, Oregon.

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In this edition, Paul features samples of Alex Steinweiss album covers, created during the early 1940’s, at the beginning of his career

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April 26th, 2017

“Jazz in the Schools”

Many thanks to Doug Ramsey, honored jazz journalist and publisher of the blog Rifftides, who during his visit to Portland to cover the PDX Jazz Festival, took the time to meet with me and learn about the “Jazz in the Schools” program we instituted at PDX Jazz.  You can read his report and get information about the program by clicking here.

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February 22nd, 2017

In This Issue

This issue features an interview with Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins; a collection of poetry devoted to the World War II era; and a new edition of “Reminiscing in Tempo,” in which the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz recordings of the 1940’s” is posed to Rickie Lee Jones, Chick Corea, Tom Piazza and others.

Features

In this edition of Reminiscing in Tempo,, Chick Corea, Rickie Lee Jones, Tom Piazza, Gary Giddins, Randy Brecker, Michael Cuscuna, Terry Teachout and many others answer the question, “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite recordings of the 1940’s?”

Interviews

Interview with Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins, author of the new book "Swinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940 - 1946"

Poetry

Eight poets — John Stupp, Aurora Lewis, Michael L. Newell, Robert Nisbet, Alan Yount, Roger Singer, dan smith and Joan Donovan — write about the era of World War II

The Joys of Jazz

Award winning radio producer and host Bob Hecht shares his love of jazz through his podcasts on his site “The Joys of Jazz.” In this edition, he tells two stories; the history of the virtual anthem of World War II, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and the friendship and musical rapport of Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong.

Short Fiction

Hannah Draper of Ottawa, Ontario is the winner of the 49th Jerry Jazz Musician New Short Fiction Award. Her story is titled "Will You Play For Me?"

Coming Soon

Three prominent scholars in a conversation about the lives of Billie Holiday, Ralph Ellison, and Langston Hughes (pictured)

Contributing writers

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