Joe Sullivan

This is Joe Sullivan's birthday. Although Rifftides posted an item about Sullivan and others only three months ago, it is never too soon to call him to the attention of listeners who may not have made the acquaintance of a man who inspired countless other pianists. Here is a Rifftides golden oldie. It is not good enough simply to recycle an archive piece. As a double bonus, here are two versions of Sullivan's most famous composition, "Little Rock Getaway." The first is his 1933 Parlophone … [Read more...]


In the scratch-scratch tradition of cross-referencing that is an important aspect of the blogosphere, Don Heckman has responded to the November 4 Rifftides piece about him, The Los Angeles Times and the general decline of writing about jazz in newspapers. That posting is two exhibits down the page. Heckman asks: Do the complaints, the angry emails, the letters to the editor make a difference? Well, as Jake Barnes said to Lady Brett in The Sun Also Rises, "Isn't it pretty to think so." To read … [Read more...]

After The Election

When I was in college and involved in the jazz community in Seattle, I helped to arrange a concert in my home town. Some of the musicians who traveled to the interior of the state to perform in that conservative agricultural community were black. One of my closest childhood friends came to the concert. Afterward, I took him to a party for the musicians. In the course of the socializing, I danced with a newer friend, the pianist Patti Bown. When I returned to the table, my old buddy told me, with … [Read more...]