Lew Shaw

Lew Shaw started writing about music as the publicist for the famous Berkshire Music Barn in the 1960s. He joined the West Coast Rag almost thirty years ago and has been a guiding light to this paper through the two name changes since then as we became The Syncopated Times.  47 of his profiles are collected in Jazz Beat: Notes on Classic Jazz. Volume two, containing profiles from 2013-2016 will be available on Amazon soon. He taps his extensive network of connections and friends throughout the traditional jazz world to bring us his Jazz Jottings column every month.

Ed Clute America's Got Talent

Jazz Jottings April 2020

At my advanced age, the thing I like about jazz parties is that they are held in a single venue (usually a hotel ballroom with

Glenn Miller Band

Recalling Bandleaders from the Big Band Era

From the dusty recesses of my jazz history archives, I recently came across a slim 32-page pamphlet published in 1942 entitled “America’s Band Leaders” by

Nicki Parrott

Jazz Jottings March 2020

One of my favorite songs is “Once in a While.” Or should I say that two of my favorite songs are “Once in a While”

Barbary Coast Jazz Band on paddleboat

Jazz Jottings February 2020

The Barbary Coast Dixieland Jazz Band holds a special place in Minnesota music history—and not just because its members were inducted into the Minnesota Music

Evan Arntzen at Cafe Bohemia opening night Joseph A Rosen Forbes

Jazz Jottings January 2020

Longtime pianist-arranger John Sheridan has assumed leadership of the Jim Cullum Jazz Band, which will continue its bi-weekly gigs at San Antonio restaurants as well

Jazz Beat - Jazz Jottings Going On Pause

Jazz Jottings Going On Pause

A Re-ordering of Priorities . . . I have been fortunate in chronicling jazz events and personalities for this paper and its predecessors over the

Anderson Twins 16 - The Andersons Come Out Swinging!

The Andersons Come Out Swinging!

When asked what attracted them to jazz, the response you get from Pete and Will Anderson is “The jazz bug hit us very early on.

Rebecca Kilgore

Jazz Jottings May 2019

When Sam Pilafian was 11, he was told that if he switched from the accordion to the tuba, he would always have friends. When he

Jazz Appreciation Month logo

April is Jazz Appreciation Month

Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) is celebrated every April in recognition of the significant contribution that jazz music has made to society. First established in 2011

Evan Christopher Portrait

Jazz Jottings April 2019

As the High Sierra Jazz Band closes out its 42-year run on the festival circuit this month at their home base in Three Rivers, California,

Muse shoes stamps3 768x576 - Jazz Jottings March 2019

Jazz Jottings March 2019

In a One Day University lecture, University of Maryland professor of music Anna Celenza identified three musical masterpieces that changed America. Stating that “music does

A Great Day In Harlem Art Kane web optimised 1000 768x461 - Jazz Jottings February 2019

Jazz Jottings February 2019

It is apparent that the story about bandleader Glenn Miller’s disappearance over the English Channel during World War II has no end. The latest version

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New San Diego Fest Head Announced

Paul Daspit has retired as director of the San Diego Thanksgiving Festival, a position he has held since 2011. Taking his place is Bill Adams,

EllintonStrayhorn 768x512 - Jazz Jottings January 2019

Jazz Jottings January 2019

For the past 20 years, Dave Robinson has been the leading advocate in promoting the concept that traditional jazz should be a vital part of

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Ehud Asherie: “A Jazz Polymath”

Ehud Asherie has definitely taken a circuitous route to becoming a professional musician. The 39-year-old pianist was born in Israel, lived in Italy for six

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Jazz Jottings December 2018

It’s a special time for festival goers when they are introduced to a band they haven’t heard before that suddenly gets everyone excited, fills the

A Jazz Band by Miguel Covarrubias (plate from Blues by W.C. Handy, 2nd Ed., 1926)

The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural, social, and artistic explosion that took place in Harlem, New York, spanning the 1920s into the mid-1930s. It was

Vince Giordano Credit Charlie Gross1 crop bw 768x549 - Jazz Jottings October 2018

Jazz Jottings October 2018

Vince Giordano has received the New York Hot Jazz Festival’s first Lifetime Achievement Award. September also marked the fifth anniversary of Vince and his Nighthawks’

Emperors Sacramento - Jazz Jottings September 2018

Jazz Jottings September 2018

If you believe in the tried-and-true, be aware that there are eight festivals and one jazz party coming up in the next two-and-a-half months that

Ellis horne Yerba Buena Jazz Band

Turk Murphy’s Respect for the Past

I first heard Turk Murphy’s band back in my sportswriting days when I was in Cleveland, Ohio, to cover a college football game in 1949.

Adrian Cunningham

Adrian Cunningham: The Professor Swings

Australian-born Adrian Cunningham got hooked on jazz early in life listening to his father’s collection of 78 RPM records. As he began to achieve success


Mike Vax on Jazz Education

For more than four decades former Stan Kenton lead-trumpeter Mike Vax has traveled the United States and overseas preaching and playing the Jazz Gospel. So

Jim Martinez Trio Charlie Brown Christmas

Jazz Jottings August 2018

Jim Martinez is a man of many talents who wears many hats. He is a versatile pianist and organist, a Steinway artist, recording artist, concert

International Sweethearts of Rhythm

Midsummer Night Swing Under Way

After the opera, ballet, and classical music seasons ended at New York City’s Lincoln Center, a magical transformation took place around the bandshell in Damrosch

Banu Honda May 19 2018

Jazz Jottings July 2018

Clarinetist extraordinaire Ken Peplowski is back performing after six weeks on the DL due to a broken knuckle in his right hand suffered while on

Wende Harston Queen City

Queen City Jazz Band Celebrates 60 Years

This is a special year for Denver’s Queen City Jazz Band. It’s their diamond anniversary, which means they have been entertaining jazz fans for the

Tony Pringle

Remembering Tony Pringle, 1936-2018

Tony Pringle was a founding member, cornetist, vocalist, and musical leader of the Boston-based New Black Eagle Jazz Band. Originally from Liverpool, England, he was

Peter (tenor sax) and Will Anderson (alto sax)

Jazz Jottings June 2018

For the past four years, Pete and Will Anderson have devoted the month of April to a cross-country tour of concert and school performances. Their

Old Jazz Band Fairmont Peace Hotel Shanghai

Jazz Jottings May 2018

Writing about the 60th anniversary of the Queen City Jazz Band got me to wondering where they ranked among the longest continuous-performing trad jazz bands

Lew Shaw

Music May Lead to a Happier, Longer Life

A study conducted in the U.K. contends that regularly attending live musical events can help extend one’s lifespan. The research determined that 20 minutes at

2018 Jazz Hero Ellis Marsalis, Jr. (photo courtesy www.gpacweb.com)

Ellis Marsalis Among 2018 Jazz Heroes

Ellis Marsalis, Jr., New Orleans, pianist, educator, NEA Jazz Master and the patriarch of a musical family, heads the list of 2018 Jazz Heroes who

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Festival Scene in Flux

With the continual announcements regarding jazz societies and festivals shutting down, it would appear that the good ship TradJazz is sailing in turbulent waters. But

Bria Skonberg

Bria Skonberg: A New Force in Jazz

It was about 15 years ago that I first began to hear rave reports about a young Canadian trumpet player who was taking the Dixieland

Museum for Making Music

The Museum of Making Music

Located just off of Interstate 5 in Carlsbad, California, 30 miles north of San Diego, the Museum of Making Music describes itself as the only

Evan Arntzen by John Herr 2017-07-24

Evan Arntzen Carries Family Tradition Forward

Four generations of reedman Evan Arntzen’s family have been merry music makers. Covering more than 100 years. Evan’s great-grandfather came to North America from Norway

Pianist Mary Lou Williams

Film Celebrates Pittsburgh Jazz

The Greatest Jazz Story Never Told, a new documentary film produced by MCG Jazz in Pittsburgh, features the talents of international Jazz Masters George Benson,

On the Levee posed onstage at Mint (2)

Jazz Jottings March 2018

After 32 years of service, John Edward Haase has stepped down as Curator of American Music at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and

Sacramento Traditional jazz society

Sacramento Jazz Society Reboots

The traditional jazz society in Sacramento lives to see another day! It’s just in a different format. The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society officially went out

Sacramento Traditional jazz society

STJS Files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Following the announcement of the cancellation of the 2018 Sacramento Music Festival, the decision by the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society

Marlene VerPlanck by John Herr 8-2017

Marlene VerPlanck, 1933-2018

Marlene VerPlanck, one of the best-known interpreters of the American Popular Songbook died Sunday, January 14, 2018, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital after a brief illness.

Sacramento Jazz Jubilee

“A Crisis of the Old Order”

Writing in his The Age of Roosevelt three-volume series, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. referred to the Depression days of the early 1930s as

Molly and Bria on Harry Connick TV show1 768x476 - Jazz Jottings January 2018

Jazz Jottings January 2018

Even from an early age, Nicole Pesce took to the piano like the proverbial duck takes to water: ♫ Beginning at the age of 7,

The Final Chorus January 2018

FRANK GRECO, 88, of congestive heart failure on Nov. 2 in Hemet, Calif. Originally from Warsaw, Indiana, he learned to play the piano and organ

Cakewalkin at Tony Packos Dec 10 Diane Teall Brackett 768x456 - Cakewalkin’ Jass Band Celebrates 50 Years

Cakewalkin’ Jass Band Celebrates 50 Years

The Cakewalkin’ Jass Band pack Tony Packo’s in Toledo, Ohio, for their 50th anniversary celebration. From left: Russ Damschroeder, trombone; Dave Kosmyna, cornet; Buddy Lopez,

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Bruce Boyd Raeburn: Dr. Jazz Retires

Dr. Bruce Boyd Raeburn in the record stacks at Tulane’s Hogan Jazz Archive (above) and in his office (top right). (submitted photos) After Bruce Boyd

Bob Draga Photo by Laura Wuest bw 768x512 - Jazz Jottings December 2017

Jazz Jottings December 2017

The sounds of New Orleans were very much in evidence at the 28th annual Arizona Classic Jazz Festival held Nov. 2-5 at the Crowne Plaza

The Final Chorus December 2017

NICHOLAS DENUCCI, 94, on Sept. 9 in Keene, New Hampshire. In his 20s, Nick DeNucci was the pianist for Glen Gray and his Casa Loma

s l300 1 1 - Letters to the Editor December 2017

Letters to the Editor December 2017

– Not Shellac? Alack! – To the Editor: You mentioned Diamond Discs recently (“A Diamond Disc as Big as the Ritz,” August 2017) and wrote

Chuck Redd

Chuck Redd: A Drummer’s Odyssey

Chuck Redd has a growing reputation as one of the top performers on the jazz circuit today who is equally adept on the drums and

Big Earl bw 768x512 - Jazz Jottings November 2017

Jazz Jottings November 2017

Earl McKee, beloved tubist and vocalist for the High Sierra Jazz Band, has published his second book. (photo by Amy Heintz) For the past 40


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