Coen Hofmann, Managing Editor of Names & Numbers, Passes Away

Discographer and typeface designer Coen Hofmann.

Word has come from the Netherlands that Coen Hofmann, the managing editor of and driving force behind the Jazz discography periodical Names & Numbers, died in the first week of May 2023.

Born in Amsterdam in 1939, Hofmann was trained as a typesetter and then studied calligraphy. He worked in the graphic arts and as a painter and designer of typefaces, and was co-author of several books on calligraphy. Many Amsterdam businesses and shops once used his typefaces for their shop windows.

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Coen Hofmann was also a record collector and discographer of long standing. Hofmann contributed to the April 1985 premiere issue of Eric M. Bakker’s Micrography, which was published in Amsterdam until January 1987. In October 1998, Hofmann and Gerard J. Hoogeveen resumed the publication with the title Names & Numbers, and it continued for a combined total of 102 quarterly issues until it ended in July 2022.

The N&N website, www.names-and-numbers.nl, described it as a quarterly discographical magazine dedicated to publishing research findings in the field of classic jazz and blues from the period 1900 to 1970.

Until illness forced him to give up his work, he dealt with the technical aspects of the magazine as managing editor. Gerhard J. Hoogeveen was editor and contributor to N&N and presided over administrative and financial matters including subscriptions.

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Konrad Nowakowski, whose essay on Brun Campbell in Names & Numbers was republished in TST in October 2020, said Coen Hofmann was “the heart and soul of the magazine,” but after his lung trouble worsened, he was unable to continue the publication. Konrad described Coen’s “friendly and patient communication, quick and incredibly precise work, and highly professional design.” He said working with Coen could not have gone better. Konrad went on to tell me that as a type face designer, Coen created over 23 font families, including his font used in N&N since 2003, named “Altrincham.”

In addition to the 102 issues of the magazine, Names & Numbers also published a respectable catalog of books and CD-ROMs including a collaboration by Hofmann and Hoogeveen titled Two Can Play, the Music of Bob Gibson and Jack Montrose: A Discography, and The Blue Note Label, 1939-1999, a CD-ROM discography compiled by Michael Cuscuna and Michel Ruppli.

Larry Melton was a founder of the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in 1974 and the Sedalia Ragtime Archive in 1976. He was a Sedalia Chamber of Commerce manager before moving on to Union, Missouri where he is currently helping to conserve the Ragtime collection of the Sedalia Heritage Foundation. Write him at [email protected].

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