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Mezz Mezzrow

Dirk Sutro By

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Mezz Mezzrow was the hippest of white hipster jazz musicians in 1920s Chicago and 1930s New York. He was a respected player as well as a scenester who hung with both black and white musicians. Mezzrow's autobiography Really the Blues was a real discovery for me. It has a vibe of authenticity I've not found in other accounts of those times—he captures what it was really like to hit the clubs and late-night jams, to hang out offstage after hours, and the effects (up and down) of various substances on the music. Mezzrow paints a gritty, colorful picture of Chicago and New York (especially Harlem) in their prime years for jazz.

In future podcasts I will tell stories of musicians and important periods in jazz, of photographers, authors, editors, labels, and music execs who promoted this under-appreciated music; and I will spotlight some of my favorite CDs. I'm an advocate for underdog musicians, lesser known recordings, and odd historical details. My goal is for each podcast to contain an element of discovery.

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Learn more about Mezz Mezzrow at The Red Hot Jazz Archive.


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