Letter from the publisher
In July of 2012, Arya Jenkins’ short story “So What”—a story about an adolescent girl who attempts to connect to her absent father through his record collection – was chosen as the 30th winner of the Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest. When that outstanding work was soon followed up with another quality entry with jazz music at its core, I invited her to contribute her fiction to this website on a more regular basis. We agreed to a commission of three stories per year, and tomorrow’s publication of “The Piano Whisperer” is her 15th story to appear on Jerry Jazz Musician.
I recently received word from Ms. Jenkins that Fomite Press, a small, independent publisher out of Vermont whose focus is on exposing high level literary work, will be publishing these stories in a collection titled Blue Songs in an Open Key. Publication date is...
August 13th, 2018
In the October 17 edition of the New York Times Magazine, in an article titled “Streaming Music Has Left Me Adrift,” Dan Brooks articulates what many of us who grew up with the long playing record album have long mourned, the passing of the era when consumers “owned” their own music collection based on a dedication of pursuing musical interests.
With the current ability to listen to just about anything ever recorded with merely an insignificant monetary monthly subscription (Brooks calls it “sharing the same record collection”), gone are the days when...
October 24th, 2014
Besides doing his best to help raise three kids, during my 1960’s childhood my father worked his heart out at two jobs — one of which was as owner of a restaurant on Oakland’s Telegraph Avenue, and the other as a musician, playing trumpet and viola throughout the San Francisco Bay area, mostly on evenings and weekends in “casual” jobs. For years he was part of a strolling quartet that entertained San Francisco’s elite at the World Trade Club — an ensemble that at its peak toured the Philippines, playing to an audience that included “strongman” Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda.
Prior to that, in the 30’s he traveled the country and led his own band in Sacramento. In the 40’s, he spent the war years as a member of the Winged Victory Orchestra. And, in the late 40’s and 50’s, among many musical pursuits (although toned down once he married my mom in 1947), he played in the Jack Fina Orchestra, as well as in Ernie Heckscher’s orchestra, which famously played at the Fairmont Hotel atop Nob Hill.
He loved his music, and part of my own early appreciation for music came as a result of hearing his practice sessions. To this day I can still very clearly hear the sound of his viola...
June 15th, 2014
With the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ appearance on Ed Sullivan prominently in the news this past week, it is interesting (and entertaining) to revisit some of the critical perspectives of their music following the performance.
On February 10, 1964, Theodore Strongin, music critic for the New York Times (who Wikipedia describes as a “champion of new music”) wrote that “The Beatles’ vocal quality can be described as hoarsely incoherent, with the minimal enunciation necessary to communicate the schematic texts.” Three days later, acknowledging the phenomenon that hit our shores, George Dixon of the Washington Post wrote, “Just thinking about the Beatles seems to induce mental disturbance. They have a commonplace, rather dull act that hardly seems to merit mentioning, yet people hereabouts have mentioned scarcely anything else for a couple of days.”
Months later, William F. Buckley, the era’s chief conservative voice and founder of the National Review got into the act, writing...
February 11th, 2014
There is no disputing the fact that the power of jazz lies within the music itself. Giants of the art like Armstrong, Duke, Basie, Dizzy, Bird, Monk, Miles and Coltrane ushered us into this music with a display of genius so great that an entire lifetime isn’t ample space to fully absorb all their passion....
September 16th, 2013
For 11 years, Jerry Jazz Musician has sponsored 33 Short Fiction Contests resulting in 30 different contest winners. During that time, I estimate that I have read and considered over 3,000 short stories.
The stories vary in content and quality, of course, and it has been my goal to publish the best story regardless of its theme. This has at times led to confusion by some writers over the years who believe that, since Jerry Jazz Musician’s focus is on jazz history – and in particular within the confines and culture of mid-20th Century America – the winning story should always be about jazz or a character within that setting....
September 12th, 2013