Articles by Douglas Groothuis

Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

OPINION

On Missing Live Jazz

Read "On Missing Live Jazz" reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

This pandemic has snatched much from us through its reign of disease and death. We have lost family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances to COVID-19. Millions have lost jobs or fear losing them. By all accounts, the whole thing stinks. We try to cling to what remains, and we hope and pray for restoration. How does all this upheaval affect the jazz world? We have lost a host of old and not-so-old jazz luminaries to this disease, such as ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz and the Dream of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Read "Jazz and the Dream of Martin Luther King, Jr." reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

Without jazz, there may have been no “I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King Jr. Delivered at the August 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, this historic oratory is most known for improvisation--a skill without which there is no jazz--that was not found in his original written text. Moreover, the very spirit of the civil rights movement owes much to jazz, as Dr. King himself said, as we will find. Mahalia Jackson was ...

PROFILE

Goodbye, Ellis Marsalis, Jazz Father

Read "Goodbye, Ellis Marsalis, Jazz Father" reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

The COVID-19 Reaper has claimed another senior statesman of pianist and educator, Ellis Marsalis, who left us on April 1. He was 85 and died in his home city of jny: New Orleans, which has recently ignited as a hot spot for the menace virus. We will likely lose many senior jazz performers in the coming weeks and months. As the Hebrew Psalmist wrote of God and death. You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz and the Meaning of Life

Read "Jazz and the Meaning of Life" reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

I find jazz meaningful and delightful for a happy riot of reasons: its grand tradition and respect for standards, its uniquely American (but also global) identity, its breaking of color barriers, its persistence through changing musical fashions (jazz will never die), its courageous freedom within beautiful forms, and more. Therefore, I was fascinated to find that the prolific literary critic and philosopher Terry Eagleton likens the meaning of life to a jazz performance. That sounds promising! In his ...

INTERVIEW

Edward Green: Delighting in the Duke

Read "Edward Green: Delighting in the Duke" reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

Duke Ellington's music can be enjoyed on many levels by many people. The simple lover of good music can revel in his more memorable tunes--snap their fingers or dance to “Take the A-Train," “Perdido" or “It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got that Swing." Or they may pause reflectively while listening to “Mood Indigo." They might watch video performances and delight in Duke's sly smile, ever-hip demeanor, and way with spoken words. The jazz aficionado, such as myself, ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Good Vibes, Bad Vibes: Jazz in Film

Read "Good Vibes, Bad Vibes: Jazz in Film" reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

Several films about jazz depict troubled and vice-ridden musicians, such as Charlie Parker, in Bird, and Chet Baker, in Born to be Blue. I walked out of the latter after twenty minutes of excessive obscenity, graphic vice, and general disgust. These films reinforce the idea that jazz is associated with illegal activities, illicit sex, and generally flawed character. The Miles Davies film, Miles Ahead, gives the same picture. I will not watch that movie, since I already know enough about ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz, Suffering, and Meaning

Read "Jazz, Suffering, and Meaning" reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

“Primary progressive aphasia" was a disease I had not heard until March of 2014. Now it is darkly stained into my life, since it is the form of dementia that afflicts my wife, Rebecca Merrill Groothuis. As Rebecca and I walk down this road, we are not alone. We have our church, our friends, and our God to walk with us and help carry our load. One of God's gifts to me is jazz, which helps me stumble on without ...


ENGAGE

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