Join Jeff Fitzgerald, The Dean of American Jazz Humorists©®, on a hilarious romp through the history of jazz.
The history of jazz on the Internet goes back almost to the beginnings of jazz itself, one crisp autumn day in 1924 when Louis Armstrong first conceived of breaking the music down into tiny packets that could then be distributed across a network where they could be reassembled at some other distant point back into their original form. The computer had not yet been invented, and Armstrong's plan was to distribute the packets via America's extensive network of hobos. The plan might have worked, had it not been for the predilection of the hobos to use the set-up to also ...read more
There is an old Indian legend about several blind men examining an elephant. Each examines a different part of the creature and comes to a completely dissimilar conclusion as to what it is. Then the elephant, in a state of musth, stomps the helpless bastards to death to get at a '67 VW Microbus he mistakes for a particularly attractive female. The moral of the story is not to let handicapped people screw around with elephants. But like that story, where each man forms his own opinion of what he is encountering based on his limited experience ...read more
Suppose for a moment that you (or someone a lot like you, except taller) knew someone who had never heard jazz. Or, more likely, had never really listened to jazz. Everyone has heard jazz, in some form or another, even if it was just background music in a TV commercial and/or porno flick (it's hard to tell one from the other nowadays). And suppose that you, a known jazz aficionado, were to introduce them to this music that we love. Suppose they liked it. Then suppose they were to take their newfound love of jazz and spread it to those ...read more
In future generations, when the story of Our Music is told, there will certainly be a short list of absolutely necessary items which must be mentioned for any complete understanding of the birth and growth of Jazz. It is almost easier to determine what does not belong on the list than what does. To narrow it down to the essentials, I pictured the Cliff's Notes of the Reader's Digest Condensed version of Jazz history. To that end, I looked back to my own college years, and called upon everything I still remembered after years of studying music. How ...read more
One of the longstanding traditions around the 'Dome, along with Taco Tuesdays and the monthly Google Nude® check to see if any of my favorite actresses have accidentally" Tweeted private" pictures of themselves recently, is the annual viewing of A Charlie Brown Christmas. Few things bring back the warm memories of childhood and invoke the true spirit of the holiday more than the beloved 1965 animated special, which is a jewel even among the many treasures of the golden era of network television holiday specials. I am of a generation that cherishes Charlie Brown and How the Grinch ...read more
It has been said of Pat Metheny that if Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, and Charlie Christian had somehow all been involved in fathering a single child, that child would grow up to be pursuing her master's in developmental psychology at Stanford while working as an assistant manager at Border's. Where they sell Pat Metheny CD's. How ironic is that? Not ironic enough, according to Microsoft Word's irony check, which rated this paragraph as only 34.7% as ironic as it could have been and suggested that the child grow up to be Pat Metheny. I reminded Word that the definition of ...read more
Being the Dean of American Jazz Humorists®, I am often called upon to weigh in on a variety of important issues affecting the future of Jazz. For instance, I weighed in at 294 pounds on the topic of Why Jazz Still Matters" and a relatively svelte 275 on the topic of Where is the Next Generation of Jazz Coming From?" I won the first debate by fall in 2:35, and the second by a 8-1 majority decision. So, let's consider those matters settled.Still, there are a great many issues facing Jazz as the very fabric of society changes ...read more
It goes without saying that those who appreciate Jazz are a special lot. You will rarely find lovers of Our Music who have not managed to distinguish themselves in their chosen vocations, be it in the arts, business, the humanities, or the kid at Subway who earned Employee of the Month honors while listening to The Bad Plus and making my Cold Cut Combo exactly the way I like it. Clint Eastwood is a shining example of this fact, having established himself as a top box-office draw for over fifty years, and succeeding both in front of and ...read more
April 30Happy International Jazz Day! To celebrate, we're going to drive our vintage 1979 International Harvester Scout to the International House of Pancakes while listening to Akira Jimbo's Jimbo Gumbo." Afterwards, we will return to AAJ Headquarters and have some Maxwell House International Coffee.How do you plan on celebrating this global event?April 29We'd like to apologize to all our friends in Nepal who came out to AAJ's first Sherpa Nite at Club Himalaya. We failed to take into account the effects of the altitude, and none of the horn players were able ...read more
When I am holed up in the 'Dome living the life of a nearly complete recluse (I do occasionally venture out to earn a living, and to buy beer and groceries and then more beer), one of my favorite pastimes is cooking. I first began learning to cook at the age of five, almost forty years ago (by my watch), and have even worked in several restaurants that no longer exist through no fault of mine. I find cooking as pleasurable and relaxing pursuit as any hobby, with the added benefit of producing something legitimately useful at the end. Unlike ...read more
If you were one of the many surprised by Esperanza Spalding's upset of teen sensation Justin Bieber for Best New Artist at the most recent Grammy Awards, then you may be missing out on one of the most promising developments in Jazz since the advent of the Flapper. Turns out that modern teenagers, sick of cloying Auto-Tuned singing" and repetitive uhn-chik uhn-chik uhn-chik" dance rhythms, are increasingly turning to Jazz as a remedy to the bland, soulless pop they're being offered by traditional purveyors of Top Forty tunes. At Alleghany High School in Low Moor, Virginia, 15 year-old ...read more
Does it seem like a year has passed since last we gathered to celebrate the holidays, kids? It seems like only yesterday we finished the last of the Thanksgiving turkey, finally put away the extra tray tables, and threw away the untouched remains of that horrid green bean casserole that someone always feels compelled to bring to these otherwise festive gatherings.Wait, that was yesterday. That's what happens when you play drinking games with The Wizard of Oz. See A Witch, Do A Shot. Glenda counts.Still, an entire year has gotten away from us yet again. If ...read more
Hey kids, remember when the Internet was shiny and new? Back before YouTube and Wikileaks, before Google and Facebook, back when the World Wide Web was only 84% pornography and 16% dancing hamsters? Those were the days, eh, kids? The whole thing seemed filled with such promise of a world where one day, all content would be free and everyone would share intellectual property in some Utopian vision of what socialism would be like if it actually worked.But here we are. We've awakened again to the reality that stuff costs money. See that pile of stuff over there? ...read more
Welcome back, kids. Now that we've gotten over our initial fear of jazz, and of food that can't be ordered from surly teenagers by yelling out of the window of your car, we can now seek out a more thorough overview of Our Music. Don't worry if you still think Thelonious Monk is that funny TV detective and soft bop has something to do with Hasbro's line of Nerf products; as the old saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day (I mean, of course, Rome, Georgia. I don't presume to speak for the Italians).That said.It ...read more
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