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.  He has written hundreds of stories in that time, while also doing much to promote jazz in Arizona and indeed everywhere. He taps his extensive network of connections and friends throughout the traditional jazz world to bring us his Jazz Jottings column every month. 

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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

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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

The Final Chorus June 2016

DONALD McGRATH, 90, from cancer on April 17 in Riverside, Calif. A trombonist who during his life played with such California bands as Jazz-A-Ma-Tasa and

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,

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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

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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,

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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

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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

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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’

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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

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Queen City Jazz Band Celebrates 60 Years

Related: Watch a video documentary on the Queen City Jazz Band filmed to mark their 10 year anniversary in 1968 This is a special year for Denver’s

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

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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

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Jazz Jottings May 2018

Zhou Wanrong (center, standing), then 94, plays the maracas during a Shanghai Old Jazz Band performance at the Fairmont Peace Hotel in 2014. (photo courtesy

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Ellis Marsalis Among 2018 Jazz Heroes

2018 Jazz Hero Ellis Marsalis, Jr. (photo courtesy www.gpacweb.com) Ellis Marsalis, Jr., New Orleans, pianist, educator, NEA Jazz Master and the patriarch of a musical

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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

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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

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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

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UNESCO Designates April 30 International Jazz Day

Related Story: Happy International Jazz Day The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has officially designated April 30 as International Jazz Day to

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Film Celebrates Pittsburgh Jazz

(Pianist Mary Lou Williams) The Greatest Jazz Story Never Told, a new documentary film produced by MCG Jazz in Pittsburgh, features the talents of international

On the Levee posed onstage at Mint (2)

Jazz Jottings March 2018

Dedicated to the music of Edward “Kid” Ory, the On the Levee Jazz Band poses onstage at the Mint in New Orleans: from left, Kris

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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

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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

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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.

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“A Crisis of the Old Order”

The Dixie Diehards Jazz Band (Photo Marce, New England Traditional Jazz Plus) Related Post: What is to be Done? Writing in his The Age of

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Chuck Redd: A Drummer’s Odyssey

Percussionist Chuck Redd (photo courtesy allaboutjazz.com) Chuck Redd has a growing reputation as one of the top performers on the jazz circuit today who is

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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

The Final Chorus November 2017

DARLA CASTRO, 80, on Aug. 12 in Three Rivers, California. Wife of Charlie Castro, longtime drummer with the High Sierra Jazz Band. She often traveled

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Jazz Jottings October 2017

Wesla Whitfield Retires Posting an announcement on Facebook that his wife, vocalist Wesla Whitfield is retiring due to health issues that affect her singing, Mike

The Final Chorus October 2017

RICHARD FAZIO, 77, on June 12 in Boulder City, NV. A master pianist and vocalist, he performed with several U.S. Navy bands and the Sea

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The Nash: A Home for Jazz

Legendary drummer Lewis Nash at his namesake venue in his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. (photo by Marilyn Szabo; courtesy www.yelp.com) The Nash In 2011, Attorney

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Was Bix Poisoned?

The Scene The new tenant had only recently taken up residence at 43-30 46th Street in the Borough of Queens, New York. He rarely left

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Jazz Jottings September 2017

Igor Glenn, a.k.a. Igor the Jazz Cowboy, a.k.a. Igor the One Man Band, on The Gong Show (ABC-TV) this year after a 39-year hiatus. He’s

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