I was sitting around the 'Dome the other day, thumbing through my Peterson Field Guide to North American Marsalises
(because you never know when one might be called upon to differentiate the Mocha-Crested Branford from the Roundheaded Wynton) when it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't had a decent death threat this year. As a polarizing figure in the jazz world, I've been accustomed to getting death threats every morning with breakfast (though, that did subside somewhat when I stopped eating Alphabits cereal).
I immediately surmised that there could only be two reasons why the tide of animosity had seemingly stopped. First, country legend Buck Owens had shuffled off this mortal coil. Or second, my iconoclastic humor was no longer rousing the ire of the kind of jazz fan who has a top five list of favorite Svend Asmussen solos.
A quick check of Wikipedia informed me that not only was Buck Owens deceased, but that he had also invented the Internet and was responsible for modernizing rice production in Ghana. But he passed away in March of 2006, at which time I was still receiving Whitman's Samplers filled with C4 from "a friend." That must mean that my AAJ missives were no longer getting under the skin of death-grip jazz zealots the world over.
Checking AAJ, I was stunned to find that my work had not appeared on the site since 2006. Concerned, I checked my computer and found that my trusty ColumnMaster ©® software, which I'd purchased to churn out my monthly gems and free me up to pursue my twin passions of drinking and baseball, hadn't been functioning properly for months. It seems it had gotten locked up trying to execute a particularly complex Jimmy "J.J." Walker-Nobel Prize gag, missing the obvious "dyn-o-mite" reference. Moving forward.
After all these months away from my post, I figured it might be a good idea to ease back into things rather than trying to resume at the highest level of my creative abilities. Much like a baseball player coming back from an injury getting a couple of rehab starts in the minors, I don't want to risk trying to do too much too soon and end up on the DL. Look what happened to Ring Lardner, who came back too soon from a serious case of writer's cramp and ended up dead at 48 from tuberculosis.
Coming up in the new year will be a complete return to form for Your Own Personal Genius. There'll be a profile of Keith Moon, a listening guide for the JazzNoob, and the long-awaited Sun Ra piece. Plus, my unique blend of nonsense, tomfoolery, and just plain bullsh*t.
Till next month, kids, exit to your right and enjoy the rest of AAJ.