Poetry reflecting the era of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season — Vol. 1

I recently extended an invitation to poets to submit work that reflects this time of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season.  

What follows are some of those submitted.  More will appear in the future.

-Joe Maita/Editor and Publisher

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June 18th, 2020

Poetry by Jerrice Baptiste and Moe Seager

. . photo by Tengilorg / CC BY . . While Playing A Vinyl Record   Music lightens blue mood.  It softens mind like feather floating towards earth, then brushes against cheek, chin and ear.  Body sways with Jazz in air.  A tickle on skin, sensations cradled in ears, harvesting goodness like wheat to enjoy … Continue reading “Poetry by Jerrice Baptiste and Moe Seager”

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June 12th, 2020

“Roads Crossing, Crisscrossing” — a short story by Susandale

“One ticket please,” David said aloud to Gladys.

 Studying him with eyes peering over her glasses, the ticket seller, Gladys, squinted with disbelief at the sense of disproportion standing before her; David’s battered face and tortured eyes, so contradictory to his features of lapidary refinement.

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June 12th, 2020

“Listening to Bill Evans, June 2020” — a poem by John Stupp

    . . © Veryl Oakland Bill Evans, Berkeley, California; April, 1969 . .     Listening to Bill Evans, June 2020 First the piano by itself— after months of darkness after a Winter of clouds and wind after discontent after lies and lies explaining lies and prayers and ice and rivers forgetting to … Continue reading ““Listening to Bill Evans, June 2020” — a poem by John Stupp”

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June 12th, 2020

“At the Grand Canyon” — a poem by T.S. Davis

. . photo/National Park Service South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park . ___ .     At the Grand Canyon   A white man and a black man stand side by side on this precipice, silently looking across the Grand Canyon, watching the revolutionary ravens surf the deep blue ocean of sky and … Continue reading ““At the Grand Canyon” — a poem by T.S. Davis”

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June 5th, 2020

“Afterwards — For the Spring, 2020” — a poem by Alan Yount

. . photo Bret Stewart/Wikimedia Commons . . Afterwards …………………….For the Spring of 2020 . …………………..“The World Breaks Everyone, And Afterwards, ……………………Many Are Stronger At The Broken Places.” …………………………………………………………….– Ernest Hemingway.   . many, many, years ago …………I was in need …………………..of some extra money. I had decided …………to sell my upright 1940’s ………………….. kay … Continue reading ““Afterwards — For the Spring, 2020” — a poem by Alan Yount”

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May 23rd, 2020

News about the poet Michael L. Newell

. . . …..The poet Michael L. Newell, whose work has often appeared in the pages of Jerry Jazz Musician, has informed me that his new book, Wandering, is now available.  Published by cyberwit.net, the book features selections of his poetry from the past fifty years. …..Michael draws readers into his lyrical, vast world with … Continue reading “News about the poet Michael L. Newell”

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May 22nd, 2020

“One August Morning”– a short story by Jeanine DeHoney

No one knew why he did it. Why early one August morning, the day after I turned eleven, when stores were just pulling up their metal gates, and delivery trucks were double parked in front of them, when as Mama said the sun was so oppressive you could fry an egg on the sidewalk, Mr. Carmichael left his seventh-floor apartment right above ours in The Bridgeton Apartments…

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May 14th, 2020

A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Spring, 2020 Edition

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.

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May 12th, 2020

“Searching Alex” — a short story by Robert Knox

. .   “Searching Alex,” a story by Robert Knox, was a short-listed entry in our recently concluded 53rd Short Fiction Contest. It is published with the permission of the author . . .   © User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons/Flicker/CC BY-SA 4.0 .  . . “Searching Alex” by Robert Knox .     …..He remembered a happy … Continue reading ““Searching Alex” — a short story by Robert Knox”

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May 4th, 2020

“St. Anthony, St. Jude, & Deborah Walk into a Bar…” — a short story by L. Shapley Bassen

Deborah lost her wallet. Most of us have at one time or another. It’s one of the awful feelings, TMW you know you don’t know. Or the last time you knew … anything. It swallows you, that feeling. Utter loss. Utter failure. All the work it will take to regain lost ground. All the effort. If.

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April 27th, 2020

“Louie Armstrong on the Moon” — humor by Dig Wayne

The Saturn V mega rocket had a problem with syncopation from the get go. The uber squares shipped in the highest foreheads and keenest flat tops money could buy but the translunar queso bullseye refused to step and fetch it.

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April 14th, 2020

“Aubade” — a short story by Jeff Bakkensen

Doesn’t every house have its own unique smell? How is that, when everyone’s mom cooked the same pot roast, used the same cleaning powder? And why is it that you never notice your own house’s smell, but you’ll recognize it. Like a false memory. Deja vu.

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April 13th, 2020

“Oblivious” — a short story by Carolyn Geduld

Her granddad shook Bridgett awake. He was sniffling.

“What’s the matter? Are you sick?” She propped herself on her elbows.

“It’s Morrison. Gone.“ He was standing there in a faded tie-dyed shirt, smelling musty. His thinning gray hair, reaching past his waist, had not been tied back, but he was wearing his love beads.

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April 7th, 2020

“The Rumproller” — a poem by Kristofer Collins

There is a great banging coming from inside the brewery
while out here in the sun my blood knocks at the blue
ceilings of my veins like an irate tenant in the apartment
one floor down unprepared for that first blast of Lee
Morgan’s trumpet

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March 31st, 2020

“All Our Fields” — a short story by Jay Franzel

.I’m in bed, my windows open to the summer breeze, when I hear the guy outside again, singing. The curtains shift, as if with his voice, and glow a little, from the streetlight nearby. I’m thinking about the Apollo nose cone bobbing in the waves, about catching a tennis ball thrown high over the road. My dog’s on the floor, wedged between my bed and the dresser. He’s a Dalmatian, a big one. He got mean for a while—for weeks he’d try to bite whoever came near us.

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March 30th, 2020

Short Fiction Contest-winning story #53 — “Market & Fifth, San Francisco, 1986,” by Paul Perilli

You walk on the rose-colored strip of concrete that starts on the sidewalk, goes under the big black awning with the street light shining on it, and stops at the two heavy wood doors inviting in all of Central Ave. You pause long enough for Walt, the bouncer you should never irritate to the degree of getting his exclusive attention, to nod you inside even though he knows you.

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March 15th, 2020

“The Blues Are Always With Us” — a short story by Michael L. Newell

Rain sang off the roof for hours.  The ancient on the porch rocked, strummed his guitar, whispered, “Make Me a Pallet on the Floor,” one minute sounding like Sam Chatmon, the next his licks would have made Mance Lipscomb proud.

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March 2nd, 2020

A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Winter, 2020 Edition

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.

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February 17th, 2020

“A Darling Interest” — a short story by Kevin Nichols

Don’t be surprised when kindred spirits meet each other at the right place at just the right time. People need people, even if they try to deny it. How many times do you see two people together and wonder, ‘Why do they get along so well?’ You see these people and they don’t look good or don’t seem to fit together; it baffles what should just be familiar.

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January 16th, 2020

“We Call Him Man-Man” — a poem by Aurora M. Lewis

. . . We Call Him Man-Man ……………In honor of my grandson, Domonic His name is Domonic, we call him Man-Man Only 13, but whatever he wants to do he can He has music running through his veins Beats, rhythms, melodies on his brain At 6 he played the drums in the school drumline moving … Continue reading ““We Call Him Man-Man” — a poem by Aurora M. Lewis”

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January 5th, 2020

“Quiet Xmas” — a poem by Arlene Corwin

There will be no presents, wrapped or not.
Gifts can be sought, bought, ought to
Anytime, occasion rhyming with a need one’s own.
Food? By all means, and of course!
Lots of courses, for it’s fun to cook,
Break traditions, keeping some.
Summing up a feel and food one’s own.

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December 24th, 2019

“Piano Girl” — a short story by Shannon Brady

Arlena Sawyer’s mother had spent all seventeen years of her life warning her against what seemed like every last thing under God’s creation. With her thin, trilling voice she had done her best to hammer fear and caution into her only daughter’s head like the beak of a woodpecker into a tree.

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December 17th, 2019

News regarding the poet John Stupp

I have had the privilege of publishing John Stupp’s poetry for several years now.  Every time he gifts me with an email stuffed with submissions, I eagerly open it like a kid unwrapping the shiniest package under the tree.  His creativity is really, honestly, that special.

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December 4th, 2019

“A Jazz Thanksgiving of a Sort” — a poem by Michael L. Newell

It was a rainy Thanksgiving when
everyone I was related to
or knew even somewhat
were out of town.

I found some semi-edible
turkey at Hughes Market, along
with frozen stuffing that proved
reasonably tasty, adequate

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November 28th, 2019

Short Fiction Contest-winning story #52 — “Random Blonde,” by Zandra Renwick

I’ve been bitter a long time. It’s like sucking a wedge of lemon on and on and on, pulp disintegrating, everything dissolving until the flavor turns mellow and mild, almost sweet. I’ve been bitter so long it’s hard to know anymore how anything should feel, or which part of me navigating the world each day is tainted with bitterness and which part is how I always was, even before Ty Greggor smashed through my life.

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November 13th, 2019

A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Fall, 2019 Edition

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.
(Featuring the art of Russell Dupont)

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November 11th, 2019

“Father Kniest, Jazz Priest”…a short story by Con Chapman

. . Boston-based writer Con Chapman is the author of two novels, over thirty stage plays, and fifty books of humor.  Most recently, he is the author of Rabbit’s Blues, The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges. I had the good fortune of interviewing Mr. Chapman recently about Hodges.  That discussion will be published in … Continue reading ““Father Kniest, Jazz Priest”…a short story by Con Chapman”

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November 7th, 2019

“Sonata” — a short story by Kirk Loftin

Jonathan was only eight years old the first time he fell. It was the first winter in the new house, and he wasn’t used to the biting cold yet. It was a large, Gothic structure that scared him at first, but he had grown accustomed to the imposing house on the hill.

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October 14th, 2019

“The Stories of Strange Melodies” — a short story by Vivian Li

The girl lived on the outskirts of town. It was mainly deserted, save for a few wild beasts that roamed the lands. But she lived with the wolves, and couldn`t breathe without feeling their fur across her lips and teeth. She asked them: what would you do if I left? And the wolves shook their grey eyes and stared at her until she cried.

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September 30th, 2019

“In Herzegovina, near the Town of Gorjad” — a short story by Nick Sweeney

There’s a new song going around, with a maddening refrain as catchy as that flu plotting its course around the world, killing venerable ancients and babies newly out of the womb. You hear it everywhere and, no matter how much you hate it, you’ll find it bursting out of your head.

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September 15th, 2019

“A Price Too High” — a short story by Russell Waterman

Robert Shines lifted his sweat stained fedora just enough to wipe his brow. Stuffing his handkerchief back into his breast pocket he repositioned his hat at a slight angle, rakish style, just enough for a breeze to cool his skin, should one happen by. As luck would have it the Mississippi air was stagnant and sticky this August evening.

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September 3rd, 2019

“Vespers” — a poem by John Stupp

    . . CC0 Public Domain Power house mechanic working on steam pump photo by Lewis Hine, 1920.  . .   . Vespers  In the foundry men made engine blocks ate dirt ate sand made fire Henry Ford was the captain and his word was law when a shift was done there was a … Continue reading ““Vespers” — a poem by John Stupp”

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September 2nd, 2019

Poetry by Michael L. Newell and John Stupp

    . . Photo by. Marco Chilese .on. Unsplash . .   Prayer to the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh . Who I love who I pray for more than anyone but my wife and children do you think of me beautiful Allegheny when you reach the Gulf of Mexico? Monongahela what about you? and … Continue reading “Poetry by Michael L. Newell and John Stupp”

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August 14th, 2019

“Oswald” — a short story by Rolli

. . “Oswald,” a story by Rolli, was a finalist in our recently concluded 51st Short Fiction Contest. It is published with the permission of the author. . . .   Photo by. Jolanda van der Meer .on. Unsplash . Oswald by Rolli . _____ .   …..Mom was talking to the guy behind the … Continue reading ““Oswald” — a short story by Rolli”

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August 5th, 2019

Poems for Rahsaan Roland Kirk — by John L. Stanizzi

. . Rahsaan Roland Kirk at the Jazz Workshop, San Francisco April, 1967 (photo by permission Veryl Oakland)   . . FROM FLYTOWN When I die I want them to play the Black and Crazy Blues, I want to be cremated, put in a bag of pot and I want beautiful people to smoke me … Continue reading “Poems for Rahsaan Roland Kirk — by John L. Stanizzi”

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August 1st, 2019

A collection of jazz poetry — Summer, 2019 edition

Seventeen poets contribute to a collection of jazz poetry reflecting an array of energy, emotion and improvisation

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July 25th, 2019

“Climate Change” — a poem by John Stupp

  . .   . Climate Change If the sea keeps rising it will reach Pittsburgh tomorrow and I will put on new clothes and forget Myrtle Beach and Charleston and the Outer Banks and I will pray with the fish over rusty mills and trade places with ore cars and cranes roses are red … Continue reading ““Climate Change” — a poem by John Stupp”

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July 20th, 2019

Short Fiction Contest-winning story #51 — “Crossing the Ribbon,” by Linnea Kellar

Do you ever have a time in your life when you feel like you’re about to step off a cliff?

 I don’t normally have those moments. If I could organize my entire life playing by the rules, I think I could mosey along and get through living just fine. I am the student my teachers wish me to be. I am the daughter my parents desire. I am the perfect best friend to the girls in my class. According to choirmaster, I am one of the best sopranos in the church choir.

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July 9th, 2019

“Learning to Fly” — a short story by Mary Burns

Harry Delaney is a night janitor, and he is teaching himself to fly. As he works his mop up and down the dim corridors of Waterville Public High School, he can feel what it would be like, floating, say, four feet above the floor, moving easily through the air, though not fast.

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June 15th, 2019

A collection of jazz poetry — June, 2019 edition

In this month’s collection, with great jazz artists at the core of their work, 16 poets remember, revere, ponder, laugh, dream, and listen

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June 6th, 2019

Seven poets, seven poems…a septet of jazz poetry

A low tide
in South Carolina recedes
like the end of a Sonny Rollins solo
until
sand leaves its resume in the inlet
or until
pelicans take the remaining choruses
out where the ocean says I am the God

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May 24th, 2019

A collection of Short Fiction — May, 2019

We had many excellent entrants in our recently concluded 50th Short Fiction Contest.  In addition to publishing the winning story on March 11, with the consent of the authors, we have published several of the short-listed stories…

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May 12th, 2019

In this Issue

photo courtesy John Bolger Collection
Philip Clark, author of Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time, discusses the enigmatic and extraordinary pianist, composer, and band leader, whose most notable achievements came during a time of major societal and cultural change, and often in the face of critics who at times found his music too technical and bombastic.

Spring Poetry Collection

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.

Poetry

Mood Indigo by Matthew Hinds
An invitation was extended recently for poets to submit work that reflects this time of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season. The first volume of this poetry is now published.

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?”

Interview

A now timely 2002 interview with Tim Madigan, author of The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. My hope when I produced this interview was that it would shed some light on this little-known brutal massacre, and help understand the pain and anger so entrenched in the American story. Eighteen years later, that remains my hope. .

Poetry

"Sister" by Warren Goodson
"Shit's About To Go Down" -- a poem by Aurora M. Lewis

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. This edition's narratives are "Nat King Cole: The Shadow of the Word," "Slain in Cold Blood" and "Local 767: The Black Musicians’ Union"

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 #139

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
This bassist played with (among others) Charlie Parker, Erroll Garner, Art Tatum, Nat “King” Cole (pictured), Dexter Gordon, James Taylor and Rickie Lee Jones, and was one of the earliest modern jazz tuba soloists. He also turned down offers to join both Duke Ellington’s Orchestra and the Louis Armstrong All-Stars. Who is he?

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.

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

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...

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

Pressed for All Time

A&M Records/photo by Carol Friedman
In this edition, producer John Snyder recalls Sun Ra, and his 1990 Purple Night recording session

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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