“Billie Holiday” — a poem (with collage) by Steve Dalachinsky

. .   “Billie Holiday” by Steve Dalachinsky . . Billie Holiday someone’s special greatness hides inside us somewhere like a strange fruit……..unexplainable hard ripe rotten..fine..fractured but mellow filled with love…disappointment & solitude & heavy like…a rock in one’s heart you may make it or you may die in your room overlooking the park….or an … Continue reading ““Billie Holiday” — a poem (with collage) by Steve Dalachinsky”

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January 7th, 2019

A collection of poetry celebrating the culture of jazz — January, 2019

  . . In this collection, nine poets contribute ten poems celebrating jazz in poems as unique as the music itself . . . .   I Am Jazz . I Am Jazz. It is my nature to evolve, to change and adapt. I’m restless. I move towards a future I cannot see or predict. … Continue reading “A collection of poetry celebrating the culture of jazz — January, 2019”

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January 7th, 2019

Two poems for the New Year…by Alan Yount and Michael L. Newell

. . . . AS DAY ENDS . Clark Terry’s horn unleashes a silvery note ……………….that ascends ………………………ever higher ………………………………to join a golden full moon ………………………………………rising into early evening orbit. When the note ends, listeners discover they have forgotten ……………….to breathe, ………………………and slowly rejoin ………………………………………their quiet neighborhood and prepare for sleep ………where they will drift … Continue reading “Two poems for the New Year…by Alan Yount and Michael L. Newell”

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December 31st, 2018

“He Wrote a Song for Tina” — a poem by Aurora Lewis

. . . . . He Wrote a Song for Tina Monk’s first love was Ruby, McCoy Tyner wrote of Aisha, Miles, Back Seat Betty and he wrote a song for Tina the one who broke his heart, led astray only to creep back in again with someone else’s baby, I nursed his wounds gave … Continue reading ““He Wrote a Song for Tina” — a poem by Aurora Lewis”

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December 26th, 2018

Three poems by Phyllis Wax

. . .   Cool Blue He leaned back, closed his eyesand blew and knewthat next to him a string bass twirled,was plucked and plinked, and the drumwas a follow-up man with a tin cancollecting coins from flat handsmeeting in the darkto celebrate the soulfulsound of his breathbecause the moon was fulland the night cooland … Continue reading “Three poems by Phyllis Wax”

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December 19th, 2018

Poetry celebrating jazz and the holiday season

  . . 12 poets contribute 19 poems dedicated to the culture of jazz music, and to the holiday season… .   .   Collage by Steve Dalachinsky     John Stupp’s third poetry collection Pawleys Island was published in 2017 by Finishing Line Press. His manuscript Summer Job won the 2017 Cathy Smith Bowers Poetry Prize and will … Continue reading “Poetry celebrating jazz and the holiday season”

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December 14th, 2018

“Songbird” — a poem by Michael L. Newell

    SONGBIRD a blues note broken in the middle the songbird in the brambles startled into silence shame for the intrusion all autumn I have wandered in search of a music which would still this dull grief for every person I see wandering alone every child I see looking at the world with a … Continue reading ““Songbird” — a poem by Michael L. Newell”

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December 14th, 2018

Thankful…for poetry (and poets)

So many great poetry submissions of late, for which I am incredibly thankful.  The spirit within every poem received — whether published or not — is evident and cheered and appreciated.

Here are three recent arrivals…

Happy Thanksgiving, peace and blessings to all.

_____

The Keyboard Player

by Robert Nisbet

 

Daily, he worked from nine o’clock till five.
His life and family and things were fine.

For some the moment, the anticipatory one,

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November 21st, 2018

Luciana Souza’s musical interpretations of poetry

Those interested in the power and possibility of mingling poetry and music – especially jazz music – will find great joy in a 10 minute conversation between Brazilian singer and composer Luciana Souza and NPR’s Lisa Mullins, in which Souza discusses her 2018 album, The Book of Longing.  The album features poems by

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November 17th, 2018

“Mel Torme and Buddy Rich Rip Roaring” — a poem by Michael L. Newell

two hepcats scat sing
            drum the hippest
of hip music
            advertise “Love for Sale”
in wild musical riffs
            dancing through air
nothing held back
            all is passion
imagination
            total physical commitment

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November 9th, 2018

Two new Roger Singer poems

        FULL OF FAT From discarded crumbs, like falling stars onto stage horns and strings form dreams from blues and tears, where fear has no place and lies provides promises past midnight while jazz makes people hungry and rhythm tops off the soul like cities next to rivers smothering the seeds of … Continue reading “Two new Roger Singer poems”

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September 26th, 2018

“Planet Braxton” — a poem by Mark Kerstetter

Time is all time
for the player in cosmic space.
Undo the bolts & let fly
or jump back in the box
and die.
These are your reality implications
on any day of earth-clinging.
But as to the progressive continuance
of organic life on this orb,

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September 19th, 2018

“Listening to Charlie Parker, Play Jazz, In the Dark” — a poem by Alan Yount

charlie parker
sits on the end
of my bed
holding his alto sax.

and for pete’s sake!  mr. traps:
buddy rich was also there,  
getting his drum kit ready
by the end of the bed.

then ray brown’s there
and making a

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September 13th, 2018

“It’s The City, Blue”– a poem (to the Williamsburg Bridge) by Jay Franzel

Concert postings and colored stickers on the crossbeams,
black-clad cyclists crossing East River—
I remember when nobody pedaled
past your grim entrance—around 1985,
when Garden Cafeteria had to close
to keep the junkies out.
They even shut you down in ’88,
said you were

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August 21st, 2018

Poems by eight poets

Eight poets — Michael L. Newell, Aurora Lewis, Roger Singer, Lawrence J. Klumas, Freddington, Victor Enns, dan smith and John Stupp — connect their poems to the spirit of jazz in this eight page collection…

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August 10th, 2018

“Miles of Highways and Open Roads” — a poem by Michael L. Newell

The carpenter (whose hands have grown
too large for the twenty house town
he was born in) sticks out his thumb
and catches a jet to Los Angeles where
he drowns off the Santa Monica beach trying
to ride a wave to beautiful downtown Burbank.

 

II.

His sister stays home and marries
the county’s star high school running back
who turns into the

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June 2nd, 2018

A poetic appreciation of Chris Connor — by Lawrence J. Klumas

“Who,” you ask.
“Chris Connor,” I repeat.
“Oh, sure, right,” you say
            (with little enthusiasm.)
“You have to listen, really listen,” I say.
“O.K.” (an acquiescence).
I carefully place the vinyl record
            on the Rek-O-Kut turntable.

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May 15th, 2018

“Homage (to Joe Albany)” — a poem by Anggo Genorga

And a daughter is not enough or a son
or be a couple with someone who would stick thru all the shit
or the idea of a family
and god or the belief to a higher being is not enough.
The cheap girls and empty sex are always there but never

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April 9th, 2018

“Bicycled Dusks Garaged” — a poem by dan smith

Snow & Ridge our rock n roll Mecca.
The Tastee Shoppe jukebox our holy of holies
best for miles around was our Kaaba
where Elmore James’s Dust My Broom
sent shock waves through my hormone addled brain
& Night Train by Rusty Bryant & his Carolyn Club orchestra
was a bump & grind fantasy of rockin’ & rollin’ ecstasy.

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April 2nd, 2018

“With Us Yet” — a poem by Susandale

Theirs’ was a kind of mediation between then and now
No, it was a meditation on their only freedom: the deliverance of their music
No, no: a melding. One musician calling out: another answering.
Or maybe, a metaphor for the chorus of life
The way Lady-Day lamented the brief glory of

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February 27th, 2018

A collection of poetry celebrating love and jazz

In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, I recently invited many of our contributing poets to submit work that combines the themes of jazz music and love, with the result being a collection of voices expressing their own contributions to the language of love… 

Dozens of writers submitted over 100 poems, and the best of the submissions — 29 poems by 18 poets — are found on the following 12 pages. Advance through the selections by utilizing the page monitor at the bottom of each page. 

Many thanks to everyone who submitted their work.

 

JJM

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February 14th, 2018

Jazz poetry by Steven Dalachinsky, Michael L. Newell, John Stupp, Ron Kolm, and Freddington

A wealth of excellent poetry has been submitted recently.  Poems by Steven Dalachinsky, Michael L. Newell, John Stupp, Ron Kolm, and Freddington are examples…

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January 29th, 2018

“For Keely Smith” — a poem by Diane Elayne Dees

Godmother of the gypsy tramp
half-breed goddess, unparalleled queen
of less is more, effortless weaver
of that old black magic—
your strength lay in the space between
the screaming sax and the scatting singer.
If midnight blue velvet were sound,

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January 24th, 2018

“Illinois Jacquet” — a poem by Michael L. Newell

(in response to an invitation
musical and raucous from the fingers
of Wild Bill Davis tickling the keys
of his organ seeking a musical response
by someone and something of equal stature)

Illinois I say accepted the challenge and blew
some blue some very blue blue blue notes
that set listeners

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January 19th, 2018

“The Passing of a Poet” — an appreciation for Mike Faran

Poetry is a courageous art form.  No poet can possibly succeed without the willingness to create a completely transparent window into his or her soul.  A poet rarely achieves by faking it.

A successful poet’s thoughts are naked to the world, and this full-on exposure — because it is so often blunt and painful for the poet — leaves the reader with a reasonable understanding of lives led and footsteps taken (or not).  These revelations build a rewarding and intimate connection.

I have never met or spoken to Mike Faran, whose poetry I occasionally publish on Jerry Jazz Musician.  I only outwardly know him by the short biography he sent me — retired lobster trap builder from Ventura who has had some work published in journals around the country.  That’s it, really.  I don’t even have a photo of him. 

He has periodically sent me emails with a poem or two attached to them, seeking my interest in publishing them.  (“Here is another poem that I hope will meet with your approval.”) Although I haven’t published them all, they almost always

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January 17th, 2018

“Christmas Alone 1992” – a poem by Michael L. Newell

The slow tumble of snow past
my partially open window
recalls the year in Amman
I sat for hours watching
a bleak whiteness deepen

all through the abandoned farm fields
surrounding my apartment
while the cool sound of Miles
gave shape and form to my grief
thousands of miles from

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December 19th, 2017

“One Evening Walking in London, December 2002” — a poem by Michael L. Newell

 

Just off Oxnard Street (littered with last minute shoppers
two days before Christmas), an old man decked out
in a ragged trench coat and a torn stocking cap
played a slow mournful jazzy interpretation
of “Time after Time” on a battered flute.
 
The flute echoed through neighboring streets,
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December 6th, 2017

“Beehive Records” — a poem by Michael Yellin

Tonight I’m spinning
the ugly, unhip
jazzmen of Beehive records,
sweating in their transition shades,
mustaches sincere and wide,
collared tapestry shirts,
hair erupting from ears and noses

and they’re killing—
bellicose ogre grunts

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November 22nd, 2017

Two poems by Robert Nisbet

From red kite country, driving South,
Dai Grandpa, fresh from yesterday,
such yesterday. Only when the
June sun sank, had Dai – dudein’
up my shirt front, puttin’ on
the shirt studs – reached evening’s land
– and such a yester-e’en. (Dai caught
the breeze, his ship came home.)
He breakfasts now in wild kite

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November 13th, 2017

“Hearing Dizzy Gillespie at Dino’s Club in St. Louis for the First Time” – a poem by Alan Yount

we all were
three fifteen year olds
along with one of our fathers.

we were
the only white guys
in the club.

it was at dino’s club
in st.louis, in the fall of 1962
at the corner of

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November 10th, 2017

“Harry Inspired by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band” — a poem by Michael L. Newell

 
rattlin’ bones rattlin’ bones just the cost an old man pays
dancin’ round his livin’ room tryin’ to enjoy life alone
but full of zest ripplin’ with vim vigor and hot sauce fuelin’
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September 28th, 2017

“Portugués (for Astrud Gilberto)” — a poem by Ed Coletti

This truly foreign language
              absorbs me into its differences,

rosetta stone hidden
              in a cave of similarities

certain words share
              with those of spanish

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September 16th, 2017

“A Brubeck Landscape” — a poem by Michael L. Newell

all day a light breeze baptizes the landscape
gentle and captivating as a Paul Desmond solo
bushes rap windows and walls with rhythms

unusual and unexpected that Joe Morello would

approve would groove to and trees sway with

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September 1st, 2017

“When You Fell Out of a Window” — a poem (for Chet Baker) by Alan Yount

when you fell out of a window
… you made me give up on you.
(maybe I shouldn’t have).

when the movie about you
recently came out: all of us
believed ethan hawke
was you, in “born to

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June 22nd, 2017

“The Runner” — a poem (for John Coltrane) by Freddington

The purpose of motion begins,
A clear mind, aware and in focus,
Ahead, the optical pathway lies empty and silent,
Slow at the start, breathing steady,
Stepping through the changes,
Favouring a motif,
Blowing hard,
As the intensity builds,

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June 18th, 2017

“You Bring Out the Jazz in Me” — a poem by Erren Kelly

You bring out the jazz in me
The art blakey, max roach the roy haynes in me
Seeing you  shake your hips like
Congas…the way you move your hips to a mamba
My heart pounding like drums inside my head
But this fever won’t put me in bed
Instead I get out on the dance floor

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June 11th, 2017

“Jazz” — a poem by William Chene

Somewhere between the wide open spaces
And those tiny, secret places in the heart,
The sound of nursery rhymes and temple chimes
Mingle with incense and nonsense
Until even the air has to smile.
That’s where you’ll find me, in my hiding place,
Making up rhymes and trying to keep time
To the pace of the

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May 4th, 2017

“There With Anita Baker” — a poem by Russell MacClaren

Watch her closely; loosen your clothes.

Her quiet storm makes love to listeners

in the heat of each performance,

cuts through crap, produces mystic music…

 

She’ll seduce you with contralto soul

until you lose your mind,

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April 19th, 2017

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.

Greetings from Portland!

Commentary and photographs concerning the protests taking place in the city in which I live.

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. 14 poets contribute to the first volume of collected poetry.

Poetry

photo by Russell duPont
The second volume of poetry reflecting this time of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season features the work of 23 poets

Short Fiction

photo FDR Presidential Library & Museum
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #54 — “A Failed Artist’s Paradise” by Nathaniel Neil Whelan

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

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.

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)

Publisher’s Notes

On taking a road trip during the time of COVID...

Photography

photo by Veryl Oakland
In this edition of photographs and stories from Veryl Oakland’s book Jazz in Available Light, Dexter Gordon, Art Farmer and Johnny Griffin are featured

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

photo by John Vachon/Library of Congress
“Climate Change” — Ten poems in sequence by John Stupp

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.

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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