• 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
Uncategorized

An invitation to writers and poets

Hello folks:

In November I will be devoting space to the music and culture of World War II, the centerpiece of which will be my interview with author Gary Giddins, whose highly anticipated book Bing Crosby:  Swinging on a Star, The War Years, 1940 – 1946, will be released at that time.

I am seeking a limited number of short stories and poems about events, figures, music, etc.  that can be associated with the World War II era.    While I am unable to

[…] Continue reading »

Features » In Memoriam

Aretha and her father — the Reverend C.L. Franklin

      The passing of Aretha Franklin yesterday hits hard on a variety of levels.  I am sure we all have wonderful Aretha memories.  For me, she will always be remembered as the singer who opened my world to the sounds of soul and gospel music, and doing so during the height of the civil rights movement, when so much important work was being achieved — and cutting edge art was being created in response to it — virtually every day.

     Aretha learned to sing at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, where her father, the Reverend C.L. Franklin, was minister — “the most famous African American preacher in America,” according to his biographer Nick Salvatore.  Franklin’s style of “booming, soaring, flashy and intense” preaching “revolutionized the art, and his call for his fellow African Americans to proclaim both their faith and their rights helped usher in the civil rights movement.”

     Rev. Franklin had an intense influence on daughter Aretha,  …[Aretha] always sang from her inners,” Ray Charles once said.  “In many ways she’s got her father’s feeling and passion,’ [for when C.L.] — one of the last great preachers — delivers a sermon, he builds his case so beautifully you can’t help but see the light. Same when Aretha sings.”

[…] Continue reading »

Uncategorized

“The Color of Jazz” — an essay by Bob Hecht

     The late, great trumpeter Clark Terry once offered one of the most pointed, and humorous, comments about the perennial controversies in jazz over race and the perceived abilities of white versus black musicians…

     He said, “My theory is that a note doesn’t give a

[…] Continue reading »

Literature » Jazz Fiction by Arya Jenkins

“The Piano Whisperer” — a short story by Arya Jenkins

     In the underground of how it used to be, in days long ago when things were quite good, when the only bad thing, if you want to call it bad, was poverty, which was longstanding, a dull ache of years that traveled with you through good times and bad and sometimes sang you to sleep like a sad horn, bwa la la la (high note) bwa la la la (high note) bwa la la, in that time, the song of poverty that belonged to everyone belonged also to Noname.

       Noname, pronounced Noh-nameh,  ran the bleak streets then 60 years ago when the world was kinder, a better place, where murder was just, well, murder, and horror, ordinary, conceivable, and every person, regardless of how they appeared, who they were, part of a diverse evolving unique American gyroscopic system. Even the most jaded soul understood being different was natural, even if your difference was made of so many facets, no one thing stood alone and nothing alone could capture it–save poverty herself, true interpreter of shades and depths of differences, which we celebrated on saxophone streets, in piano bars and when looking to the heavens for inspiration in the form of

[…] Continue reading »