Sam Chell is a champion of the composers of the American Songbook and the musicians who keep it alive.
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I'll confess that I'm an academic and not an experienced
writer, computer wizard, or internet traveler (not even Facebook).
remember to take the music seriously and not myself, it seems to
for me. Also, I've always admired Socrates, ever since reading as
college student the Apologia, where he claims he was wise simply
because he could admit to himself that he knew nothing. His
was about asking questions, especially the ones that would lead
new areas of discovery.
Many followers of this music talk about its presence and influence
their homes as kids. That's fine for them. But for just as many
an identity thing. Growing up in the northern boonies of Wisconsin,
simply required an alternative to Dick Clark, Cousin Fuzzy, Elvis,
Beatles and Stones. So I taught myself to like jazz (all the easier
because my parents hated it.)
Perhaps this background qualifies me all the more to encourage
who has refrained from submitting articles or accepting editing
responsibilities out of a sense of inadequacy to become involved.
teacher who is candid about his work must confront two humbling
The first is related to a quote sometimes attributed to Faulkner--
things most worth teaching can't be taught: they can only be
From this follows the second--teaching something, or simply
about it, is the best way to learn it.
I wish more young people (in spirit as well as years) would take
seriously the benefits of writing / editing for a publication like All
Jazz. First of all, it's a team effort to produce the biggest, most
consistently awarded (and substantive) jazz site on the web, and
results are there for all to see on a daily basis. Second, it's a
experience. I know of few great musicians who consider
experts. Music may be a universal language, but it continues
challenge (and sometimes frustrate) its users; the same is true of
verbal language. But the more you read and write and edit, the
you push yourself to improve in your command of a language--
that's a satisfaction greater than any notoriety or monetary
Alto and tenor saxophonist Sonny Stitt was as close to being an
on his horns as any musician I've followed closely, yet he
that words like creativity and originality don't meaning anything
without a point of reference. Sonny insisted that musicians should
to entertain people and, to that end, make their music
Art Tatum did--and he wasn't being ironic.
If I can indulge in a bit of esoteric talk (forgive me, Sonny),
appeals to the yang, or my Apollonian, left-brained logical-
side; Bill Evans the yin, or my Dionysian, right-brained emotional
hemisphere; Coltrane the Promethean idealism and lingering
anxiety that most of us carry. But that's verging on the academic.
challenge is to say it simply--and never take yourself seriously
appearances, no one else will).