Very few people can make a dirty joke and a deeply insightful comment in the same sentence, but Joel E. Siegel was one of those folks. The former JazzTimes contributor died March 11 at George Washington University Hospital from spinal meningitis. He was 63.
For his primary job, Siegel taught film studies at Georgetown University for 32 years before retiring in 1998. But over the years he was an active freelance writer on film and music for many publications, primarily for Washington City Paper, D.C.’s alternative weekly. His sometimes acerbic but always perceptive music writing received the ultimate award in 1993 when he won a Grammy for his contributions to the liner notes to the 10-CD set The Complete Billie Holiday on Verve, 1945-1959.