• Extensive interview with Gary Giddins, his generation’s most eminent jazz writer and author of Bing CrosbySwinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940 – 1946

     

  • Has Tenor, Will Travel
    (for Stan Getz)

    Like syrup on pancakes,
    His solos pour out,
    Languid and melodic,
    Effortless at any tempo.

     

  • The Best Dancer at St Bernadette’s and Me, by Tricia Lowther

    Nothing can spoil today, not even our Sue. It’s the third Saturday in September, 1978. I’m 11 years old and like every other girl in our street, (and some of the boys), I’ve waited months for this. 

  • A brief history of Detroit’s elegant dance hall.

  • Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins
  • "Has Tenor, Will Travel" - a poem by Freddington
  • "The Best Dancer" -- a story by Tricia Lowther
  • Historic Venues: Detroit's Graystone Ballroom
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Coming Soon to Jerry Jazz Musician

Tomorrow, our interview with Gary Giddins, author of the forthcoming book Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star:  The War Years, 1940 – 1946 will be published.  The interview is a fascinating read — a virtual history of Crosby’s life and his impact on America during its most consequential decade — and a primer for Giddins’ outstanding biography, due in book stores November 1. 

Also, in the early days of November, be on the lookout for these features:

  • A collection of poetry devoted to the era Giddins writes about – the 1940’s. Poets write about the society, the music, and the hope, love and loss associated with the war during America’s most challenging time.
  • A new edition of “Reminiscing in Tempo: Memories and Opinion” in which prominent Americans answer the question: “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite

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Features » Historic Venues

Historic Venues: Detroit’s Graystone Ballroom

On February 27, 1922, when dancing in giant ballrooms was wildly popular, Detroit’s Graystone Ballroom – a block long structure on Woodward Avenue —  opened with the All-University Ball.  According to Dan Austin of HistoricDetroit.org,  the property’s original owners were planning a ten story building that “was to house a restaurant called the Chinese Gardens,” but the owners ran out of money before it could be constructed.  Enter Detroit bandleader Jean Goldkette, whose investment and vision created an entirely different experience.

In addition to leading a famed Detroit orchestra, Goldkette — who studied piano at the Moscow Conservatory as a child prodigy before his family emigrated to the United States in 1911 (he arrived in Detroit in 1916) — was prominent in the entertainment business during his time, being principal in Jean Goldkette Orchestras and Attractions, which worked out of […] Continue reading »

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An update from David Amram

In addition to his brilliance as a musician, composer, conductor and author, a major part of the 88-year old David Amram’s biography will forever be his role as Jack Kerouac’s musical collaborator, when, in the late 1950’s, their work together – an “intoxicating stew” combining theater, poetry, and jazz – was the first “performance art” of its kind. 

In my 2002 interview with him, he said that during these performances he “never knew whether Jack was reading something that he made up on the spot or if it was something of his own. There may be something by Walt Whitman in there, or maybe a fragment of a poem by Hart Crane, or something from Shakespeare, Beowulf or Chaucer. He knew all of these French poets like Celine, and he would say ‘check this out’ or ‘dig this’ and start reciting a

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Driving Don Shirley

On November 21, Universal Pictures will release Green Book, a film directed by Peter Farrelly, and starring Mahershala Ali as African-American pianist Don Shirley, and Viggo Mortensen as “Tony Lip,” a New York bouncer who worked as Shirley’s driver during his 1962 concert tour of the South.

Shirley’s musical style can most easily be described as varied.  His cabaret-style jazz playing at times sounds like “Eric Satie meets Erroll Garner,” while his impressive classical work took him to, among others, performances with the Boston Pops Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, and Detroit and Chicago Symphonies.  He also composed several symphonies, string quartets, and classical piano pieces.  His work caught the attention of Duke Ellington, who hired Shirley to play at his 1955 Carnegie Hall performance.  His career featured a long stint with Cadence Records, where, during the 1950’s and 60’s he recorded 16 albums, including 1965’s

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