JazzTimes—or, more accurately, the publication that would become JazzTimes—predates me by about two years. As Ira Sabin and his jazz-loving colleagues in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere labored to turn a record-store circular into a tabloid newspaper, I was a young boy in southeastern Massachusetts finding my way through preschool and kindergarten. When that paper officially adopted the JazzTimes moniker, I was in elementary school in Boston.
I started playing guitar at age nine, and became a jazz fan within two or three years. But I was a latecomer to JazzTimes. Because I regularly haunted the music sections of my local newsstands, I saw it all the time, both the tabloid and the later glossy version. But for some reason I never picked it up and looked inside. My loss. I only started paying close attention to the magazine when I began writing for it, about five years ago. At which point I found it hard to stop paying attention. JT reminded me strongly of my professional alma mater, the late lamented Musician magazine, for which I’d worked in one capacity or another for a decade: It was intelligent, authoritative, serious without being too serious. Good-looking too.
Five years ago, I’d never have guessed that I would now be occupying the editor’s chair of JazzTimes—and that I would have the honor of bringing you this issue celebrating its 50th anniversary. My overwhelming feeling as I write is one of gratitude. So under the circumstances, I think a few thank-yous are in order.
Thank you, first of all, to the Sabin family for making this magazine a reality, and thanks to Madavor Media for taking it over at a challenging time. Thank you to Lee Mergner for believing in me, and to Evan Haga for giving me a shot. Thanks also to Nate Silva and Lollo Nylen for their first-rate design work, to T.J. Buzzeo for his invaluable help on the web and social-media sides, to Bob Beucler for selling the ads, and to Matt Martinelli both for his advice and for the free rein he gives us to do what we do.
Thanks to all the writers, photographers, recording artists, and visual artists who have contributed to JT over the past five decades. Our history was, in large part, made by you.
Thanks, of course, to everyone who plays, sings, writes, arranges, and produces jazz. Thanks too to the managers, the agents, the promoters, the venue owners, the engineers—everyone who makes it possible for us to enjoy jazz. Special thanks go to the publicists who bring all this music to the notice of people like me.
Finally, my warmest thanks to every JazzTimes reader, past and present. Without you, we wouldn’t still be here a half-century later. Here’s to many more years together.