August 20, 2021


Jerry Jazz Musician ( is a non-commercial website you’ll want to bookmark.  It’s all things jazz curated by Joe Maita, founded and published in Portland, Oregon in 1997.  Music, culture, history, art, poetry, interviews, fiction, Maita shares the best in jazz. If it were a museum it would be the Smithsonian; if it were a book it would be Carl Sagan’s Cosmos; a magazine National Geographic.  Now you get the idea of the quality represented here.


The name came from one of Woody Allen’s stand-up routines from the 1960’s.  Called “Unhappy Childhood,” Allen describes traveling the subway to his clarinet lessons dressed as “Jerry Jazz Musician,” that might have included a beret and probably a beard, if he’d been able to grow one at the age of 15, when he began.  This may have been his first acting role.  Joe Maita doesn’t to act, his fascination with everything jazz is real and natural and you’ll see it when you visit his website. 


The summer issue is the poetry collection, which includes a poem from my book Jazz Lines, “Sweet Jazz O’Mine.”  My lighthearted dissection of jazz instrumentation stands on tiptoe trying to reach the height of insightful odes by true poets, to the giants of jazz lore like Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Miles Davis,  and many worthy others.  I’m so excited to be included! 


This is the second verse from Jazz Lines that Maita published at jerryjazzmusician.  In the June 24, 2021 issue Maita included “Teach Me Tonight,” under the title “Thelonious Monk…and Five Poems.”                                         Link here.

Food For Thought

Review of Jazz verse in the key of jazz  

by Debbie Burke

Author of Icarus Flies Home 

Sing a song of jazz titles
From musicians near and far
Big band, bebop, traditional
Bring lyrics to where you are

Ed Berger’s photos lovingly placed
In luminous black & white
Accompanied by free verse from
Gloria Krolak from NPR, that’s aight

In her book from 2018, NPR host and author Gloria Krolak uses the photos of Ed Berger and poetry to tell a story of the jazz life. The images are lush and convey the right mood: Lee Konitz, Christian McBride, Carol Fredette, Kurt Elling. Krolak’s free verse explores categories that song titles suggest: the passage of time through the days of the week; an address book with women’s names (“Georgia on My Mind,” “Nancy with the Laughing Face”) and anatomy (“Body and Soul,” “Sugar Hips”). Krolak is the host of “Good Vibes” and is a jazz columnist.

Photographer Ed Berger (1949-2017), who at 16 took his first jazz photo at a Louis Armstrong concert, was an author, radio host and record producer.

“Jazz Lines” is inventive, satisfying, and beautifully produced.

 Also visit

(c) 2021 Debbie Burke

There's a hard-copy magazine down here in Hilton Head called Local Life. It's a beautiful glossy monthly that is widely read. In the April 2021 issue there is an article on me by writer Carolyn Males. Carolyn went above and beyond to learn about the vibraphone before interviewing me and she showed her in-depth understanding in writing it. She came from a musical family but the vibes were totally new to her. It was her idea to include photos of Lionel Hampton and the instrument, which makes it well-rounded.

So, it's not all about me. The vibraphone, as I see it, is the star of the show and it's all about education, education, education. Go online at The article is on the first page if you scroll down a bit.

Let me know what you think!

Updated: Apr 17

“It’s A Great Day in Harlem,” a black and white photograph by Art Kane taken in 1958, is a national treasure. It’s also the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary in 1994 and the children’s book Jazz Day: The Making of A Famous Photograph by Roxane Orgill and illustrated by Francis Vallejo in 2016. The photo was taken in front of 17 East 126th St. between Fifth and Madison. Kane chose this particular address because it was near both rail and subway stations, and it looked like a typical street in Harlem where the black jazz musicians of the day might live. Rents were inexpensive and the neighborhood was friendly. The 33-year-old Kane put out a call for musicians to show up for the photo that would appear in Esquire magazine at every venue he believed would attract them. The early call for 10 AM probably posed a hardship for the notorious night owls, but they showed dressed in their finest, 57 in all. Among those who stood on the curb and stoop were Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charles Mingus. Count Basie sits on the curb with an even dozen youngsters from the block. Mary Lou Williams chats with Marian McPartland and three younger children observe from a window of the brownstone. If you have not already studied Kane’s image at least once, you need to check it out. A picture that tells many thousands of words or none at all excepting “awe.” And I bring this up because… …the cover of a new album by The Ed Palermo Big Band, A Lousy Day in Harlem. There Palermo sits, in a Lewis Black-ish pose, on the curb in front of 17 East 126th St. Alone. Spiffy suit, straw hat, but no band members. Maybe it was just too early for them. In any case, the album gets great reviews for its musicianship and Palermo’s sense of humor shines through.

Updated: Apr 17

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.