Michael Steinman, who has a new blog, Jazz Lives, loves jazz because it mixes pure sensual pleasure and intellectual striving as few arts do.
Catch my new jazz blog, "Jazz Lives," http://jazzlives.wordpress.com, where I describe swinging nights in downtown New York clubs, praise my living and long-gone jazz heroes, and marvel at the recordings that shaped and enhanced our lives.
News flash: my blog was just nominated as a contender to be "Jazz Blog of 2009" by the Jazz Journalists Association!
By day, I am a college professor and literary critic. When the sun goes down, I can assume my other identity as jazz critic and hero-worshiper, my aesthetic model being the late Whitney Balliett. My jazz immersion began with Louis Armstrong, surely the ideal place to begin. I then branched out to his colleagues and the great improvisers of then and now -- from Sidney Catlett exploding in back of Bird and Diz to Jimmy Rowles lingering over a ballad. These days, I find joy in the work of Scott Robinson, Jon-Erik Kellso, Mark Shane, Kevin Dorn, Becky Kilgore, and many others. Perhaps I am a "traditionalist," but that encompasses Jim Hall as well as Teddy Bunn, "Giant Steps" as well as "Let Me Call You Sweetheart." Beauty and swing should always be cherished, and a world where they are hard to find seems unthinkable. We must keep the faith, spread the word, and pat our feet to stay alive. Amen!