Larry Blumenfeld


I'm a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, New York. Most of the time, whatever I'm up to, I'd rather be listening to live music or playing basketball. When I'm not covering jazz for The Wall Street Journal or another publication, I'm probably writing about the fight for and beauty of New Orleans culture, which began with my work as a Katrina Media Fellow with the Open Society Institute in 2006.
I'm also editor-at-large of Jazziz magazine, for which I was editor-in-chief from 1996-2000 (my monthly column, BluNotes, appears there). And though jazz is my specialty (if one can and should have such a thing), and Thelonious Monk the touchstone for that obsession, I tend to listen to all sorts of sounds -- from Van Morrison's Astral Weeks to John Zorn's string trio music to 1950s field recordings of Central African Pygmies. I suppose the African diaspora is one important thread to my musical tastes, though I've realized that only in retrospect. My writing about music appears in The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly, and, among other publications. I was a 2001-2 Fellow in the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University; our semester began one week before September 11th. The experience broadened my work, prompting me to chase stories about how music and culture connect to our social and political lives, and resulting in reporting about the effects of Bush administration policies on musical exchange between the U.S. and Cuba, The Festival of World Sacred Music in Fes, Morocco, and the "American-ness" of jazz (if I can get it together -- technically, that is -- some of this work will appear on this site). Mostly, I'll use this site to share my lust for new and favorite sounds and my ongoing need to find, share, and explore the stories behind these sounds and the ideas they stimulate.
February 15, 2007 5:21 PM | | Comments (5)



This is mostly a mystic longshot, but I am organizing a panel on New Orleans culture post-Katrina for the fourth annual Rising Tide blogger's conference on the recovery and future of New Orleans.

While on our tiny budget I can't promise anything more than lunch and to pick up your drinks after out of my own pocket, you would be a prefect panelist *if* (here's the mystic longshot angle) you were a person of so little sense you might happen to be in New Orleans on Aug. 22 in the dire heat.

I am going to continue to look for an email address but if by chance you stumble into this first and this sounds the least bit interesting, please drop me a line.

Alternatively, if you have any suggestions on other people as knowledgeable as yourself (I am trying to get Micheal White; Bruce Sunpie Barnes is sadly out of the country touring at this time; if anyone else of that caliber comes to mind I would welcome your suggestions).

Mark Folse
Toulouse Street--Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans

hello larry
saw your article in wall street journal.thought you would be intersted in knowing about huey. he will be at jazz festival in next week. kathieDate: April 23, 2007 2:47:05 PM EDT
Subject: Huey Long -103 yr. old orig. member of INKSPOTS to receive lifetime achievement award at New Orleans Jazz Festival MAY 3

i am a friend of the woman on the right..she has befriended Huey over the past two years and has forged a wonderful friendship as well as a professional one without compensation. she has helped him realize a dream to publish his memoirs(done) and in process is a film documentary being made about his life and the jazz world. she has a wonderful and humble story unto itself by unselfishly spending time and money to help him tell the world what he feels should be documented in music history .....
it is remarkable that someone of this age (huey) can be so determined, spirited, sensitive, and so gifted ....It is humbling to know my friend, nancy tankelson , has unselfishly
taken an idea to fruition for no other reason than to honor this very special musician. I believe my friend is as special to be in the Friendship Hall Of Fame.

For further info/press releases on Huey's documentary/award friend
Alan Ames & Associates 713-627-0145
Nancy Tankelson 713-725-9430
Kathie fieldman (nancy's friend) 508-816-3050

GREAT Human Interest Story about friendship, a living musical legend , and current event........

Hope You get to use this piece! kathie

> Max Boyd Harrison, owner of M² Gallery, is collecting birthday cards
> for Huey Long, which he will present to him as a book of photos. Cards
> may be sent to: Huey Long, c/o Gallery M², 325 W. 19th St., Houston,
> TX 77008
> When musician Huey Long turned 102 last year, about 1,200 people
> jammed the M² Gallery on 19th Street in the Heights just to wish him
> well.
> The former Ink Spot sang a bit, cut his cake and thanked everyone for
> coming. Visitors spent more than $1,000 on his CDs.
> Now 19th Street merchants, having taken Long under their collective
> wing, are planning his 103rd.
> "I have lived quite an exciting life, and I have been blessed to live
> this long," Long said on the occasion of his 102nd birthday.
> Long, born in Sealy, joined the Ink Spots during World War II, and
> though he was a member for less than a year, it's that connection with
> musical history that captures the imagination of passers-by, who meet
> him Saturday afternoons at Venus Hair, where he signs autographs and
> sells his autobiography and CDs.
> "It's fabulous. I hope to have him around forever," says Susan Venus,
> who invited Long into her shop as a regular fixture after he nearly
> fainted from the heat outside (where he used to sell his CDs) several
> years ago.
> Long, who walks with a cane but otherwise doesn't look a day over 79,
> always manages a smile and a greeting for his public from his place of
> honor -- an antique barber chair.
> Although Long was not one of the first four members, he is considered
> the last living original Ink Spot because he played with the original
> band. Many other versions of the Ink Spots came along later.
> In 1923, Long, a young ukulele player, was running a shoeshine stand
> on the sidewalk outside the Rice Hotel downtown when he met Frank
> Davis of the Louisiana Jazz Band, Houston's hottest group. He joined
> the band but first had to buy a banjo -- on credit. He pulled out the
> contents of his pockets -- a handful of nickels -- to make a down
> payment.
> Despite local success, Long felt the lure of music scenes first in
> Chicago and then New York, where he played with jazz greats Sarah
> Vaughan, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Fats Navarro. By 1933, he
> had switched instruments again, trading banjo for guitar. He taught
> guitar for years in New York and has published instruction books for
> the chord-melody guitar style. Long and his contemporaries used chords
> to carry the melody, rather than playing single string solos or riffs.
> Max Boyd Harrison, owner of M² Gallery, said the Heights, with its
> history and ambience, is the perfect place for Long to have settled.
> "He is a Heights treasure and a treasure to anyone around the world
> who has ever enjoyed the Ink Spots," Harrison said. "His life is
> important, and what he's given everybody is important.
> "So many people fade into oblivion and never get to realize how
> they've improved people's lives. Anything that's going to draw
> attention to creativity is important to me."
> Harrison said he is also collecting birthday cards for Long, which he
> will present to him as a book of photos.
> "It would be a nice homage for Huey if local musicians come and play
> music for him. Any musician is welcome."
> See what's free at

This is a blog worth reading. Thank you.

It was interesting to read your observations concerning the Indians.

I concur heartily, having experienced it. Or as expressed by Coco Robicheaux -- Congo Nation allowed me to walk in the Spirit Lands a little while. The only other times I get there is with the Rumberos and certain others in Cuba. These are healing experiences, for both body and mind. My damaged back is the best witness to this as true experience. Before, I am hurting, cranky, tired, and after I am at peace, my spinal column is long and does not hurt.

It was good to meet you finally (Ned speaks of you, and highly) -- and do so via Congo Nation.

Love, C.

Larry - good work and good to hear from you - thanks for sending this !!

Larry, keeping up with you is a breath of fresh air. Thanx, Shirley

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.