John grew up in Chicago and now lives in Oaxaca, Mexico. He's the author of Mingus Speaks and Jive-Colored Glasses.
After graduate school and a Ph.D. at the Universities of Chicago and Wisconsin, I taught English in New York at NYU and City College during the Vietnam years. I wrote a music column for The New Leader, a notable small leftish monthly, and then covered jazz, classical and rock for Playboy for nine years.
One way or another I have been involved with jazz since I was a young child. I’ve also been a teacher, writer-editor, media and political consultant, critic and blogger, writing about everything from cell biology to the story of a great labor union. Wearing many hats is OK, but jazz has been the enduring passion. See my memoir, Jive-Colored Glasses, 2015.
Charles Mingus was a source of fascination for me, both because of his music and his outspoken opinions on everything. Playboy commissioned my review of his “comeback” concert in February 1972, and from there we got to know and trust each other. The outcome was a series of interviews that would finally be published as Mingus Speaks, 2013.