The Fantastic Nicknames of Jazz

                                              With apologies to Hayden Carruth

                                                                                           August 2019

                                 Satchmo, Dodo, Pharaoh, Philly Joe,
                           Chico, Django, Dolo, Hi De Ho.
                           Snakehips, Hot Lips, Jeru ‘n Chu,
                           Eubie, Baby, Chubby, Tubby and Bu.

                           Plenty Kings, Queen just one, deuce of Jacks,
                           Gardens of Buds, pair of Boots and Sax.
                           Duke, Count, Baron, and Papa Jo,  
                           A palette of Reds, Rosy ‘n Blue Lou.
                           So many Kids, Big Mama, ‘n Fatha,
                           Frog, Fox, piece of Cake, Maharaja.
                           Cag, Hog and Jug, Keg and Ragbaby,                            
                           The Senator, Guvnor, Pres and First Lady.

                           Cornbread and Fathead, the Judge ‘n Captain,
                           Bounce, Flip, Leap Frog over your Hammond.
                           There’s Tram, Slam, a Slim and a Ham,           
                           Beaver, Mousie, Hawk, Hootie ‘n The Lamb.            

                           Jaco and Guido, Dink, Chink, and Yank,
                           Spike, Punch, and Corky, Tex, Mex and Hank.
                           Brownie and Deedles, Bird and Crane,
                           Keter, Klook, Big Chief, Bubber and Trane.

                          The High Priestess of Soul, Professor Longhair,
                          Ol Blue Eyes, The Prince of Darkness, Papa and Bear.
                          The Divine One, Lord, God, and Tain,   
                          Even The Great Dane with the Never-Ending Name.  



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The Fantastic Nicknames of Jazz...Their Real Names

Louis Armstrong, Michael Marmarosa, Farrell Sanders, Joe Jones
Earl Freeman, Jean Baptiste Reinhart, Charles Mitchell Coker, Cab Calloway
Ken Johnson, Oran Page, Gerry Mulligan, Leon Berry
James Hubert Blake, Warren Dodds, Greig Stewart Jackson, Alfred Hall, Art Blakey

Buddy Bolden, Peggy Lee, Truman Eliot Jenney & Weldon Teagarden,
Earl Rudolph Powell & Bernard Rich, Clifford Douglas & Henry Mussulli, Oett Mallard
Edward Ellington, William Basie, Charles Mingus, Jonathan David Samuel Jones
Kenneth Norville, James McHargue, Lou Marini

Avery Howard, Willie Mae Thornton, Earl Hines
Ben Webster, Maynard Ferguson, Al Wichard, Oscar Peterson
Ernie Cagnolatti, Leroy Cooper, Gene Ammons, Frederic Johnson, Joe Stephens
Eugene Wright, Ken Colyer, Lester Young, Ella Fitzgerald  

Hal Singer, David Newman, Milt Hinton, John Handy
George Mraz, Joseph Edward Filipelli, James Joseph Bennett, Johnny Smith
Frank Trumbauer, Leroy Stewart, Bulee Gaillard, Leonard Davis
William Harris, Elmer Alexander, Coleman Hawkins, Jay McShann, Donald Lambert

John Pastorius, Nicholas Krolak, Ollie Johnson, Martin Abraham, John Lawson,
Edward Bertholf Robinson, Ernest Miller, Edward Cornelius, Gordon Lee Beneke,

          Paul Gonsalves, Bernie Ross Crawford
Clifford Brown, Diane Schuur, Charlie Parker, Dave Burns
William Thomas Betts, Kenny Clarke, Russell Moore, James Miley, John Coltrane

Nina Simone, Henry Byrd,
Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, Louis Tio, Eddie Costa
Sarah Vaughan, Chauncey Westbrook, Art Tatum, Jeff Watts
Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen


Food For Thought

Food For Thought

I am only one. But still I am one.

I cannot do everything.  But still I can do something.

And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something I can do. 

Edward Everett Hale 

Winard Harper and Jeli Posse... and surprises 
March 23, 2019

Like the mythical Zeus, Greek god of the skies, drummer Winard Harper creates his own thunder and lightning.  Seated behind a set of drums he controls the weather, clashing with his cymbals, then reaching with his whole body to silence them.  And they obey.  There seems to be no thing percussion that is not under his dominion, including what appears to be a hollowed-out tree stump on which he created rhythm and melody.  At their recent performance at Flemington’s 90 Main St. jazz series,  Harper and Jeli Posse (Antonio Hart on alto sax, Theo Hill on piano and Vince Dupont on bass), are a cyclone of sound, gathering the overflow crowd into its eye. 

It was only by luck that Michael and I snagged two front row seats in the crowded room, as we arrived late.  A venue that might have otherwise cost several times as much and many times the trials of traveling into the city, afforded us the privilege of sitting directly in front of the band.  Hart, as he took his awe-inspiring and moving sax solos, most notably on “Soul Eyes,” was like a high priest offering incense, turning a mundane space sacred. 

In between tunes Harper talked about the wonders of jazz, reminding us of its greater good, creating community, continuity and connection.  He urges us to nurture the jazz series that creator Judd Roth has established in our little town.

 It’s also full of surprises.  He introduced a vocalist, the 17-year-old Kameelah Harper, without further explanation.  Ms. Harper (Winard’s daughter) turns out to have as much composure and control, style and swing than others with far more experience.  “Our Love Is Here To Stay” and “When Sunny Gets Blue” became hers, with perhaps a hint of Dinah Washington’s delivery to these ears.  Another surprise was just as joyful. Tapper Megha Vadehra delighted the audience by skipping and stepping in her silver tap shoes to several of the tunes, adding another sweet layer of percussion. 

By the way, if you’re curious about the group’s name, as I was, here’s the scoop.  “Jeli” was originally a West African term for traveling historians, storytellers, musicians, praise singers and poets.  Safe to say, tap dancers are welcome in the posse. 


A photo of Winard Harper by Ed Berger appears in my book Jazz Lines, one that embodies the pure and infectious joy he spreads.  

April is Jazz Appreciation Month (with the ever-so-appropriate nickname, JAM) and there are so many ways to celebrate.  Here’s just a few:  Read a jazz biography or history. Rent a movie about jazz – there are some good ones that come very close to reality and there are some indy documentaries that are totally worthwhile.  Subscribe to a jazz magazine.  Listen to your favorite jazz radio (that’s JazzOn2, right?).  Join your local jazz society.  Attend a live performance, one at a time or a jazz festival, make it a family vacation.  Follow your favorite musicians on social media. Make a donation to your favorite jazz radio station (that’s JazzOn2, right?). 

A little history of JAM.  It began in 2001 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History by the museum’s curator, John Edward Hasse.  The U.S. Congress passed the legislation and it was signed by President George W Bush in 2003. It was originally funded by the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.  As the program grew, so did the list of public and private institutions helping JAM achieve its vision of advancing and promoting jazz as our cultural treasure, born in America and celebrated worldwide. 

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Satchmo, Dodo, Pharaoh, Philly Joe,

Chico, Django, Dolo, Hi De Ho.

Snakehips, Hot Lips, Jeru ‘n Chu,

Eubie, Baby, Chubby, Tubby and Bu.

Plenty Kings, Queen just one, deuce of Jacks,

Gardens of Buds, pair of Boots and Sax.

Duke, Count, Baron, and Papa Jo, 

A palette of Reds, R...

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World-Class Vibraphonists Come to Arts Center

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