It was roughly 27 years ago that I received a letter from Woody Laughnan welcoming me as a subscriber and the Arizona correspondent of his new journalistic venture – The West Coast Rag. Regarding compensation, he informed me “you will of course receive the same salary as we all do: six figures of satisfaction for your contribution to traditional jazz and ragtime.”
Woody elevated me to the august position of Associate Editor, but that did little to change my pay or contributions to the budding paper. After about five years, a fellow by the name of Don Jones came along and bought the paper from Woody, and he and his wife Cathie have kept the flame burning for the past 21 years.
That doesn’t fully recognize or appreciate the full impact of Joneses’ contribution to the trad jazz community. They have devoted the past two decades of their lives to publishing some 230 issues and laying out 9,700 pages of stories, listings and ads about festivals, jazz parties, concerts, reviews, bands and musicians dedicated to performing OKOM as the last-surviving, nationally-circulated print publication devoted to “News You Can Use About Traditional Jazz and Ragtime.” A humongous task, to say the least, that certainly entitles them to a well-deserved retirement.
As the majority of our readers know, age and health take their toll, and we must face reality. Now the paper enters the Andy Senior era, who is committed to the continued publication of the paper. While relatively new to the staff, Andy is a brilliant writer with an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz. He is the ideal candidate to guide the paper into the next phase of its existence. I am looking forward to going along for what I’m sure will be an exciting ride.
Won’t you join us? You won’t be disappointed.