Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Genius, But Were Afraid to Ask
Q. Where does Jeff Fitzgerald get off calling himself a Genius?
A. As you know, Jeff won the title Genius by knocking out Albert Einstein at Madison Square Garden in April 1987. He has since defended the title 12 times, most recently against documentary filmmaker and freelance loudmouth Michael Moore. Jeff put Moore on the canvas twice in the second round and the pudgy malcontent failed to answer the bell for the third, preferring instead to sit in his corner and yell slogans. The bout was ruled a technical knockout by referee Thomas G. "Go-Go" Burish, President of Washington and Lee University. Jeff's record is 36-1, the one loss coming early in his career in a stunning upset by actor Jim Varney, that "Hey Vern" guy. Jeff is also licensed by the Virginia Department of Genius and Inland Fisheries, permit on file.
Q. What are his jazz credentials?
A. Besides being a member of the award-winning Alleghany High School jazz ensemble, he majored in music at Mars Hill College. He also attended Virginia Commonwealth University while Ellis Marsalis was in residence, thus fulfilling the Marsalis Involvement Clause required for membership in the jazz community (located off I-64, near the Cracker Barrel). He played jazz trombone (semi)professionally for a short while, before realizing that humorists got more leg than trombonists by an order of magnitude. Jeff is also a member of the Jazz Journalists Association, who obviously don't read their membership applications all that closely.
Q. Is that really him in the picture?
A. No, that is actor Jack Nance, and astute readers know that this picture is from the David Lynch cult classic Eraserhead. It is used by permission of Major League Baseball, who probably weren't quite sure what we were asking when they said "Yeah, go ahead." Jeff was home recuperating from a pulled hamstring (or hammed pullstring) on AAJ's picture day, and missed the make-up day because they were serving peach cobbler in the AAJ cafeteria that day and he just hates peaches.
Q. Why does he seem to have it in for Ken Burns?
A. Jeff's spirited rivalry with Ken "Give Me Two Weeks and I'll Give You A Movie It Takes At Least That Long to Watch" Burns is nothing personal, but rather, just another front in Jeff's overall battle with documentary filmmakers (see above). He feels that most documentary films nowadays are either redundant and unimaginative, or else shrill and self-serving. Also, they seem to contain a conspicuous lack of nude scenes by any of his favorite actresses (Thora Birch, Rachel Weisz, Dame Judi Dench).
Q. Where does he get off calling himself the Dean of American Jazz Humorists® ?
A. 1) He called "dibs." 2) Name another one.
Q. Is it true that he is from, and continues to reside in, the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia?
Q. Isn?t that sort of odd? I mean, that's not known as a hotbed of jazz.
A. Not at all. The power of jazz has traditionally transcended all boundaries, and continues to do so even today as it reaches new and eager audiences all over the world. Assisted by the Internet, which connects the entire world together by common interests and not traditional geographical or cultural separations, it is now possible not only to spread jazz to even the most remote corners of the earth but to see exactly what every single female in the world between the ages of 18 and 35 looks like naked.
Q. What's this fixation with female nudity?
A. Jeff is a practicing, board-certified heterosexual male.
Q. I have several antique green glass Mason jars left to me by my grandmother. How can I determine their age and value?
A. You have obviously arrived at this page by mistake while looking for www.allaboutjars.com. Happens all the time. It doesn't help that jazz legend/home canning expert Sonny Rollins is the editor emeritus of their Jams and Jellies section.
Q. I am looking to start a jazz collection. Any suggestions?
A. Any serious jazz collection should contain: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Molasses, Hydrogenated Peanut Oil, Wheat Flour, Cane Sugar, Milk Powder, and Potassium Benzoate (to preserve freshness). No, wait. Apparently, I read right across my CD rack and onto a nearby package of Archway cookies. Forget the potassium benzoate. And those with peanut allergies, adjust your collection accordingly.
Q. Does Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius really drink as much as he claims?
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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