Land of Plenty

I have now been officially photographed! Cornell College is planning an article on what retired college profs are doing, and so Dee Ann Rexroat, Allan Recalde, and Robyn Schwab Aaron came to my house to take some pictures. One of the pictures is attached.  I don’t know how the others turned out, but the conversation was fun. And their questions re-awakened an ongoing line of thought: the comparison between my present profession and the previous one.

There is one great contrast between now and the old days.  When I taught the English course “Jazz: Fact, Film, and Fiction,” there wasn’t much material easily available in films and books.  Now we live in a world of plenty.  I want to share.

I’ll start modestly–with just two items.

Nick Schneider, a well-known bass player from the Chicago area, recommended Ted Gioia’s book The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire.  This is a great night-time read.  Each chapter is short–two to three pages.  In each entry Gioia tells the story behind one of the standard tunes and suggests some of the best recordings.  I especially enjoy the incidental information.  “Blue Moon” was planned for one film, then cut and used in another. The second film was not a great one, but it was the one John Dillinger saw just before he was shot down by the FBI.  Now isn’t it fun knowing that?

Here is a short video where two of my boyhood heroes introduce another of my boyhood heroes and the three proceed to entertain most swingingly.

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