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Genius Guide to Jazz

Genius Guide F.A.Q.

By Published: April 4, 2003
A. Not currently, since he does abstain from alcohol during Lent. The rest of the year, however, Jeff is quite fond of all manner of spirits. Being a native Southerner and descended from a long line of prime elbow-bending stock, primarily Irish and German, even his saliva has an alcohol content of 3.2%. He is not an indiscriminate boozehound, though, despite his inexplicable love of Budweiser. He is the lone beer snob among the wine-loving majority of AAJ staffers, and his current beers of choice are bottle-conditioned Belgian ales. Jeff suggests La Trappe Quadrupel, Triple Karmeliet, and Ommegang (a Belgian-style ale brewed in Cooperstown, NY).

Q. What gives with Jeff's e-mail address (

A. Jeff, a passionate baseball fan and student of the Deadball Era of major league baseball, has long been involved with an effort to get both Shoeless Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver reinstated to baseball. As you may or may not know, those two men were banned from the game for life as part of the Black Sox Scandal of 1919, wherein eight members of the highly favored Chicago White Sox were accused of taking money from gamblers in exchange for throwing the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. Though there is still considerable debate as to whether Jackson accepted the money, his play in the Series is unassailable. He batted .375, had a record 12 hits, hit the only homerun by either side, and played errorless ball. Weaver took no money and did nothing to throw the Series, but was banned for knowing about the scheme and not reporting it. Jackson, whose lifetime .356 average is third highest in major league history, clearly belongs in the Hall of Fame but cannot be elected until he is reinstated; and Weaver, a respected and well-liked player who was just coming into his own at third after a shaky start in the majors at shortstop, deserves to be delivered from ignominy even if it is purely ceremonial. Another bit of trivia about the name Black Sox: It had nothing, at first, to do with the scandal. The White Sox under tightwadded, dictatorial owner Charles Commisky were the worst paid and worst treated players in baseball, and were even charged by the club to launder their uniforms. When they refused to wash them, preferring instead to wear the dirty woolen garments over and over, they came to be known as the Black Sox. It could be argued that Commisky had as much to do with the scandal as any of the players involved in the conspiracy.

Q. What the hell does that have to do with jazz?

A. Hey, you asked.

Q. Was pioneering saxophonist Frankie Trambauer really a raccoon, or Coati, as claimed in various places throughout the Guide ?

A. Yes, he was.

Q. What proof do you have to back that up?

A. Jeff cites the memoirs of bandleader Jean Goldkette, who recalls seeing Trambauer insist on washing his food before eating it. "Once, at this really swank joint in Chicago, Frank conspicuously dunked a perfectly good Beef Wellington in his fingerbowl. It was then we all started to suspect something was up with him." Close friend Bix Beiderbecke often complained that he "couldn't keep Frank away from (his) trash cans." And let's not forget that Trambauer won the North American Procyonid Society's "Man" of the Year Award 12 years in a row (1924-36).

Q. When will the Genius Guide be published in a convenient book form?

A. Funny you should ask. The Genius Guide to Jazz should be published by AAJ Press in time for the holidays.

Q. What holidays? Easter? Arbor Day?

A. Thanksgiving and Christmas, at the latest.

Q. Will it just be a collection of the columns published first on the Website?

A. No. While it will contain some material from, it will be composed mostly of original material.

Q. Wow, where can I get copies for myself and all my friends and loved ones?

A. It will be available right here on, at our online retail partners and at select "bricks and mortar" retailers.

Q. Was this whole line of questioning in fact just a shameless plug for the upcoming Genius Guide book?

A. Yes, yes it was.

Till next month, kids, exit to your right and enjoy the rest of AAJ.

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