Friday, January 21, 2011

A Few Words From Pete Hamill

"You can go into a bookstore for Sarah Palin's book and say, 'Here's a book by Melville' that you haven't read yet. And you'll buy both of them.

" isn't the same as going down an aisle. The same as record stores. You'll go for Billie Holiday and you buy Gustav Mahler as you're going out the door." --Pete Hamill, from "Pete Hamill Talks About Newspapers, Fiction, and Life with Keyboard and Pen" by Mark Bialczak, The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), December 6, 2009.

I recently went to Borders to buy Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns which is about the Great Migration of Southern blacks to the North and West. I didn't buy another book but I did browse the shelves. What a joyful experience that was!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Jazz's Distinctive Voices

"There is no one 'correct' way to play an instrument in jazz--consequently, every great jazz musician has a distinctive sound, or 'voice.' You can identify from a single note the great ones--Pops, Miles, Bird, Prez--and Stanley [Turrentine]."--Don Sebesky, musical arranger, from his CD liner notes, If I Could by tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine (1993).

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Langston Hughes's Prophetic Vision

"What is this the big shots are saying about us Negroes being cool because there might be a Negro President in the year 2011 in the U.S.A., huh? If I am going to run for President, I want to run now--because by 2011 I would be too cool."--Jesse B. Semple, from "For President" by Langston Hughes, Simple's Uncle Sam (Hill and Wang, 1965).

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Greeting

Happy New Year! Let's hope 2011 will be a healthy, happy, and prosperous year for all of us.