Putting together the paper you hold in your hand was no doubt the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life. Added to that, it was necessary for me to teach myself newspaper layout from the ground up as I was assembling my first issue. I will admit to being resourceful, and a quick study—but I am also the Lazy Dog mentioned in “We’re Burning Daylight Here!” (On a good morning, I’m up at the crack of ten.) So, in struggling against my own inertia to scale a learning curve that has been more of a right angle, I’ve managed to amaze myself.
I never meant to be a publisher. That office was more or less thrust upon me. A year ago I had no inkling that I would even be writing again for publication. Though I’ve been assiduously pounding a typewriter since I was twelve years old, I am known to the traditional jazz community (if at all) as the host of a radio program, RADIOLA! My experience has been that if people see you doing one thing, they think that’s the only thing you do. But this was totally unexpected, even for me.
“Wafted by a favoring gale,” I found myself writing for the Jazz Appreciation Society of Syracuse newsletter, Jazfax, and (without applying for the job) I was on the staff of The American Rag. Russ Tarby and Lew Shaw (whose names feature prominently in this first issue of The Syncopated Times) get the main credit for my sudden change in status, which right now feels vertiginous. Once my dizziness subsides, I’ll remind myself to enjoy this moment.
Sincere thanks also go out to Cam Miller for his encouragement (with hopes that he is soon back at his keyboard), Norman Vickers for his excellent book review, Gary Price for his incredible artwork, and Don and Cathie Jones for the many years they published The American Rag. I am deeply thankful for all the advertisers and subscribers taking a chance on an unknown quantity (me). Especial and profound gratitude goes to my wife Sue who patiently endured my severe crankiness over the past few weeks and insisted that I could do this. How could she have known?
And I will need writers to keep this paper brimming with content befitting its mission, which is to keep hot music alive in public performance forever. Send queries and proposals for articles and features to [email protected].