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Rob Wood

Rob Wood imagines he is the accidental, great great grandson of Fats Waller.

About Me

I’ve been a reporter, speechwriter, magazine editor, teacher, and riverboat deckhand . . . all honest work. While I was teaching at Xi’ian International Studies University, my Chinese students called me “Grandfather.” Perhaps that captures my musical weltanschauung. I tend to take a long view. I’m interested in the intersection of jazz with art (Portrait in Seven Shades by Ted Nash; Romare Bearden Revealed by Branford Marsalis), jazz with history (The Jazz Age, copyright Museum Music, Inc.) and jazz and politics. These days I produce a jazz program for an Ohio university (WLFC 88.3FM). I tell the kids that Duke Ellington is just as important as Thomas Jefferson.

My Jazz Story

Published on: 2018-09-09

Music isn’t just music. It’s a cultural marker. My childhood home had an upright piano. Hello, Middle Class. I labored diligently over my Thompson piano course. However, I noticed that it was jazz that my trumpet-playing mother loved. Likewise our circle of friends who worked as promotional artists for the nearby Vega banjo factory. (Think Eddie Peabody.) It was jazz. They were riffing; they were improvising. And that’s what I still look for and love, be it Marquis Hill on the horn or Steve DiBonaventura on the banjo. Check him out: his “Joy Spring” will convince you that the banjo is not just for beer and peanuts. I, of course, still love playing my Vega four-string. Built in the 1920s, it’s my own personal cultural marker.