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Jazz Lines: Free Verse in the Key of Jazz Both Erudite and Playful by Gloria Krolak


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Jazz Lines seems to be creating its own poetic niche.
—Anthony Smith, Vibraphonist / Author
Jazz Lines: Free Verse in the Key of Jazz
Gloria Krolak
96 Pages
ISBN 978-1-938417-53-5
Lydia Inglett Starbooks Publishing

Jazz Lines: Free Verse in the Key of Jazz, is a unique, beautifully assembled coffee table book by longtime radio host, jazz columnist and distinguished patron of the arts, Gloria Krolak. The book features a number of original poems, each presenting a theme that ties into the jazz tradition/experience. As a fellow writer of ambitious coffee table volumes, this writer appreciates the incredible amount of time and care Ms. Krolak has put into bringing this one-of-a-kind, high-quality project to fruition.

Using an effective combination of world-class, black and white portrait photography by the late, great jazz photographer Ed Berger, and an original, stream-of- consciousness poetic approach that incorporates deep historical knowledge of both the jazz canon and the Great American Songbook—in addition to a literary flair that is at times erudite, others playful, but always accessible and fun for the reader to digest—Ms. Krolak has created a work that will please the most sophisticated fans of jazz and poetry, but also neophytes who are getting their first exposure to the jazz art form through this volume.

Jazz Lines seems to be creating its own poetic niche: weaving together eclectic song titles from various genres and eras of jazz, to create evocative phrases that stimulate all the senses. Particularly memorable for vibes enthusiasts is the poem “Vibraphonissimo," comprised of a long list of many of the great vibraphonists throughout the history of jazz; the poem is cleverly constructed in the visual form of a family tree, which prominently (and appropriately) features Red Norvo and Lionel Hampton at the bottom, providing the foundation for all who followed.

Like many of the jazz greats included in her book, as well as the composers of the myriad, timeless songs from which she draws her literary material (there is a wonderful, encyclopedic index of titles and composers at the end), Gloria Krolak clearly has a boundless imagination. She also possesses the spirit and willingness to combine random, seemingly improvised choices and references into one big, satisfying gumbo—like a master jazz artist.

As a fellow lover of jazz, this author would like to say: Thank you, Gloria, for this wonderful contribution to jazz literature and photography. You've created a collector's item, which will be appreciated by people from many walks of life and with varied interests. We can only hope this is the tip of the iceberg, and you will be regaling us with many more jazz lines in the future! Jazz Lines is available at gloriajazz.com or starbooks.biz for $34.95.

Anthony Smith, Author, Masters of the Vibes (August 2019)

Photo credit; Mimi Jones and Dave Stryker by Ed Berger

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