I write about jazz because I like jazz.
Bob Bernotas is a widely published jazz journalist and a respected historian and
lecturer. Bob's profiles, interviews, and reviews have appeared in such print and
Internet publications as Piano & Keyboard, Saxophone Journal, Jazz Player,
Windplayer, the Online Trombone Journal, the International Trombone Association
Journal, Jazz Improv, AllAboutJazz.com, and New York Latino. He is the author of
Top Brass: Interviews and Master Classes with Jazz's Leading Brass Players and
Reed All About It: Interviews and Master Classes with Jazz's Leading Reed
Players (JazzBob Books), and Branford Marsalis: Jazz Musician (Enslow
Publishers), and has written liner notes for over sixty jazz CDs.
In September 2003 Bob debuted his weekly program, Just Jazz, which from
November 2004 to October 2015 was heard over 91.9 WNTI in Hackettstown, NJ,
and worldwide on the internet. He also was the host of WNTI's On the Dance
Floor and The Sinatra Hour. From November 2015 to March 2018 he hosted
the radio and internet show, Just Jazz featuring The Sinatra Hour, on WRNJ in
In January 2014 Bob began teaching Jazz Appreciation, a jazz history and
listening course for non-music majors, at Rutgers University's Mason Gross School
of the Arts.
My Jazz Story
I write about jazz because I like jazz. Just as much, I write about jazz musicians because I like jazz musicians. Without question,
the most intelligent, witty, articulate, resourceful, sensitive, honest, and generous people I know are jazz musicians. Not all of
them, of course; but within the jazz community I have found these qualities to exist in overabundance, and the proof is in my
work. Meanwhile, these special men and women must live the lives of artists in a world that overvalues all the wrong things
and undervalues all the best ones. But through it all, they persevere, producing - against all odds - beauty, truth, and joy. I'm
honored that so many of these remarkable people have shared their ideas, experiences, insights, and, of course, music with me.
In Arthur Miller's masterpiece, Death of a Salesman, the title character's long-suffering wife reflects on the life of her broken,
defeated spouse. "Willy Loman never made a lot of money," she laments. "His name was never in the paper." These words also
describe, all too well, the life of the typical jazz musician. It's an old, but apt, joke: "How do you make a million dollars playing
jazz? Start with two million." And for the huge majority of jazz players, the only newspaper article that will be published about
them - aside from a perfunctory two hundred-word review, churned out by some tin-eared dilettante on a tight deadline - is the
one that the subject never gets to read, the one always written in past tense.
But the artists I have met have lived and, in most cases, are still living valuable lives, lives that truly do produce beauty, truth,
and joy. (And, unlike Willy Loman, they are not broken and defeated, but robust and triumphant.) Invoking the salesman's wife
once again, "Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person." That's why I write about jazz and jazz musicians: to pay
attention to lives well lived, lives well worth looking at, learning from, and celebrating.