Giant Steps — 1959

It began again a few weeks back — mad scrambles by terrified jazz folks pulling their hair out because the revered Coltrane House in Philadelphia was being threatened again. This time the fear ran hot for good reason. Award-winning architectural critic Inga Saffron sounded the alarm with a column that said the twin home sharing the party wall with the famed Coltrane House at 1511 N. 33rd Street had been bought by a nebulous LLC hiding behind the name “1509 N. 33rd Street LLC,” and the developers were about to unleash the gentrifying forces of greed to demolish it to…

Photo by Cooper Baumgartner on Unsplash

“I got your number from Tyrone. Can you fill in this Friday? I need a drummer just for the first set.”

The scratchy voice on the other end was undeniable. It was Chico. Of course, Tim accepted. Immediately. He’d been feeling feverish and a bit draggy, but this was Wednesday. He’d be fine by Friday.

Tim hung up and stared at the unfamiliar number on his cell and instantly added it to his contacts. He’d finally gotten the call he’d been waiting for probably all his life. Every Chico Baker record release in print resided lovingly in his bookcase built…

Very thoughtful and enlightening essay, Steve QJ. I will be sharing this with my students. Keep writing and I will keep following!

You're definitely scary, Kurt, so I'm following. Oh, BTW, how are the woeful Republicans gonna wind up?

By Suzanne Cloud

Photography by Michael Perez

It was quite a place to grow up for a young man. His home at 1927 Federal Street in South Philadelphia was the place for musicians to hang and jam with his much older brothers: saxophonist Jimmy Heath and bassist Percy Heath. So it wasn’t hard to imagine that young Albert Heath, named “Tootie” by his grandfather for tutti-frutti ice cream in his youth, would follow in his famous brothers’ footsteps to be named a 2021 Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Not bad for a kid who would steal up to the projects…

Photo Courtesy of

He sees you as “disgusting” and he was glad COVID-19 infected our country because now he has an excuse for not shaking hands with you. His good friend talk show host Howard Stern has said that Trump actually “despises” you. Trump insists you adore him inside and side-by-side at rallies with no masks, no distancing, screaming your approval of his abuse of others. You put your lives on the line for this liar, allowing yourselves to be changed into human disease vectors to infect others as well as yourself. The Tulsa Rally caused a huge surge in coronavirus cases in…

Coronavirus coverage as of 3/15/2020. Heatmap/Center for Systems Science and Engineering at John Hopkins University — Clay Banks (Unsplash)

I have never been one to indulge in conspiracy theories. Never. I always want the solid facts at hand before following the conclusion jumpers off the cliff into the magical world of paranoia. In fact, I wrote a recent essay on the subject for the Broad Street Review, a Philadelphia arts, culture, and commentary e-zine. However, a podcast this month on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour made me rethink all the dicey info we’ve been getting over the mediaverse about the coronavirus that has made our lives hell. Might there be smoke here?

The title of the podcast “Did Covid-19…

Photographer Jasmin Sessler Upsplash

I’ve always been a recycler. When I was a kid, my best friend Willy and me would take our wagon from house to house and collect empty soda bottles to claim the 2 cents for each one at Doc’s pharmacy. Later in life, when I would visit my mom in Montana, I would agonize every time she’d throw a plastic milk container in the trash with the glass bottles, left-over deli meat, and banana peels because scenic Big Sky Country had no dependable recycling programs. …

By Lorie Shaull from St Paul, United States — George Floyd Mattered graffiti along 38th St in Minneapolis on Wednesday, after the death of George Floyd on Monday night in Minneapolis, Minnesota

I am so outraged, my eyes almost bleeding from watching the news and only the news. The marchers, mostly young people, in the streets are so brave, daring COVID and the police to kill them for standing up to finally see justice done. It’s wonderful and terrifying that tens of thousands are testifying for their families with their feet, with voices choked by tear gas, with eyes blistered by pepper spray.

There’s a young girl in a sun dress by a wall with blood pouring down her face from a blow to her forehead; two teens in a car tased…

Andy Griffith as Lonesome Rhodes in A Face in the Crowd

Director Elia Kazan’s 1957 film, A Face in the Crowd, predicted the rise of a narcissistic entertainer/politician and the havoc someone like Trump could wreak on a body politic in the future. The end of the film is satisfying in that it has the lead character, Lonesome Rhodes, played expertly by Andy Griffith, going absolutely bonkers as his tired enablers leave him for good and as his lackey switches an applause machine on and off as he screams into the night.

As COVID-19 continues to ravage our beloved country, our narcissistic entertainer/President relentlessly calls on states to “open up.” First…

Suzanne Cloud

Writer, historian, jazz singer-songwriter, PhD American Studies. Authored 6 YA history books and the play “Last Call at the Downbeat”

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