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1970 Is Happening (Again)

Lee Mergner introduces September 2010 issue celebrating publication’s 40th anniversary

Forty years is a long time, and for a magazine it’s nearly an eternity. I know because I’ve been with the book for exactly half that time. I was a skinny single guy with long brown hair when I started with JazzTimes in 1990. Now, well, I am still a guy. Suffice it to say, the years have had their way with me.

Imagine how JT founder Ira Sabin must feel. He started the publication initially as a circular, a promotional vehicle for his record store, Sabin’s Discount Records, a jazz, blues and R&B shop originally located in the famous U Street Corridor of Washington, D.C., and then on Pennsylvania Avenue. I was never there, but his sons, Glenn and Jeff, who succeeded Ira in the ownership of the brand, told me enough stories that I feel I was a regular. Their favorites (and mine) revolved around the “Mind-Expanding Meditation Chamber,” which was simply a dark room with cushions, black-light posters and a stereo cranking out jazz and psychedelic tunes. The tall tales flowed accordingly.

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