Static From My Attic

Mad renewal card

Interesting Times, 2.0

Each month, it seems, represents a newer normal. Normal wants to update itself relentlessly, much like my Windows operating system—usually at no small inconvenience and

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Wynton at Lionel Hampton Funeral

In Memoriam

In the second month of our siege against an implacable and impersonal enemy, I am a bundle of conflicting and untidy emotions. It really is

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Theater closure notice 768x614 - Stuck Home Stomp

Stuck Home Stomp

There is no point in attempting my usual meandering approach to the topic that preoccupies all of us at the moment. Just as unnecessary travel

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RADIOLA 1920s and 1930s clean radiola365

Words Fail Us

Last December, after wrapping up the layout of my January issue and launching it into the world, I was privileged to revisit what had been

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Kat Edmondson Michael Katsobashvili

I’m Not Worthy! (Am I?)

I was deeply moved—and somewhat embarrassed—to read Larry Melton’s encomium for The Syncopated Times (and its hapless publisher). I do acknowledge that the survival of

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Brunswick Model 102 portable

Portable Joy

Sometimes I forget to breathe. That’s not literally so, but it might as well be. In editing and publishing The Syncopated Times for four years

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cropped Slim Gaillard and Monkey - Why Be Legendary?

Why Be Legendary?

Aside from the mere act of dragging myself out of bed and facing a computer screen every day, the most challenging aspect of editing The

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goofus - Never Mind the Epaulets

Never Mind the Epaulets

I look back with no special fondness on a publication that used to be ubiquitous in waiting rooms, Highlights for Children. I somehow acquired a

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Change is Good - Change is Good?

Change is Good?

I admit an aversion—if not an antipathy—to change. Change is at times necessary, at a certain point it is inevitable, but I wince when I

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Rome Sentinel 1908

Arrivederci, Fresno!

If, upon leafing through this month’s edition of The Syncopated Times, you notice a few differences from how the paper has appeared in previous issues,

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cobwebs - Do You See What I See?

Do You See What I See?

Sometimes we need to be gently but firmly reminded that life is not of infinite length. I’ve been chugging along in my syncopated rut for

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speakeasy - What Price Syncopation?

What Price Syncopation?

Three years ago this month, I set forth on a journey of perpetual astonishment with the first issue of The Syncopated Times. “How did I

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Gaslight 1944 trailer - Jazz By Gaslight

Jazz By Gaslight

 Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer in a Screenshot from the trailer of Gaslight (1944) (Public Domain) Having spent my childhood and an unconscionable portion of my

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Annie and The Hedonists

A Needed Touch of Hedonism

Certain matters of local pride in a community invariably become annoyances to particular members of that community. Twenty years ago we bought a delightful Victorian

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Farm Radio

Turn Off Your Radio

(Related Story: Hot Jazz Saturday Night Cancelled) Most of my life I have been fascinated with radio. My childhood, of course, was dominated by television—because

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Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)

Sorry, Right Number!

It may indicate a distinctly unbusinesslike attitude, but I regard picking up the telephone receiver to make a call with the same enthusiasm I’d muster

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On Going Postal(ly)

When I began publishing The Syncopated Times in February 2016, I stated my determination to reach out beyond the arbitrary borders of this country to

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W. C. Fields in his famous role as Mr. Micwaber. Public Domain

A Season of Superlatives

During the season in which I write this, it is almost impossible to avoid Charles Dickens’ inky thumbprint on our culture. There is a pervasive

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fels naptha original

Keeping It Clean(ish)

I am old enough to remember when the prospect of having one’s mouth washed out with soap was a credible threat. Not that such a

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Poster for a production of Ruddigore, published in 1887.

Coincidence? Nah

I don’t find anything especially remarkable about coincidences, except that they seem to happen all the time. Mostly, they occur, are briefly noted, and then

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oh no not jazz

Jazz and Not-Jazz

When I think of some of the acts that are chosen to perform at certain jazz festivals, I cannot help but hear the persistent voice

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233 e1536007955513 - Message Not Sent

Message Not Sent

On Dancing Bears, Sarcasm, and the Imperfect Reliability of Electronic Mail At certain times I begin to loathe the internet, resent my computer, and nurse

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Dowling Carnegie

Why Scott Joplin Still Matters

“Traveling,” said Mme. de Staël, “is a melancholy pleasure.” I’m inclined to concur, despite the chorus of protest that will rise with discordant variations on

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hqdefault 1 - I’m Sorry for Our Loss

I’m Sorry for Our Loss

One of the little-noted casualties of the Social Media revolution is our fluency in composing a simple and heartfelt message of condolence. The Victorians were

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3084522 3 768x559 - Shellac That Takes You Back

Shellac That Takes You Back

A Kind of Immortality There’s something exquisitely ironic about publishing and editing a paper dedicated to joyous and lively syncopated music and not finding the

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Dog Radio Pipe 768x588 - When are you?

When are you?

This essay ran in our November 2016 issue, before the election of that year. Unless you’ve been in a medically-induced coma for a year or

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why wont you listen 768x412 - What Do You Hear?

What Do You Hear?

My wife and I were fortunate this past month to hear a program of Spanish and Latin American piano music, with commentary, offered as part

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Address label Aug 2016 crop e1547648658796 768x378 - Sing Along With Glitch!

Sing Along With Glitch!

When I launched The Syncopated Times this past February, I made it my policy never to apologize to readers for anything except publishing information that

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img 9333 - MOLDY FIG, GO HOME!


Even when writing about a topic as delightful and congenial as early jazz, it’s quite impossible to avoid controversy. To be fair, just about everyone

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The Pain of Music

I have previously written in this space about “dread.” I then referred to a more general foreboding—which still occasionally visits me, in spite of my

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New Wonders Gotham Jazz Fest April 8 Neal Siegal

This was the Dream

It was a dream: my wife and I were in a large old auditorium which, instead of theater seating, had a polished hardwood dance floor.

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