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Ira Sabin: Cool Daddy-O!

A visit with the JazzTimes founder

JazzTimes founder Ira Sabin
JazzTimes founder Ira Sabin
JazzTimes founder Ira Sabin with Dizzy Gillespie
JazzTimes founder Ira Sabin with Dizzy Gillespie
JazzTimes founder Ira Sabin with Sarah Vaughan, circa 1967
JazzTimes founder Ira Sabin with Sarah Vaughan, circa 1967

“I’ve been very fortunate,” says JazzTimes founder, former record-store owner and ex-jazz drummer Ira Sabin. “I’ve always done what I wanted to all my life. Running a store may have seemed a drag, but I made it a happening thing. The magazine is doing great; it started as a handout in the store, and now we’ve got a large staff—a bunch of good people. I’ve had a ball!”

Ira still talks like the bebop drummer he once was, and in the near quarter-century that I’ve known him I’ve yet to see a frown on his face. He is that true rara avis: a happy man. It all started when he was 12, not long after the Brooklyn-born boy had moved with his family to Washington, D.C. “The Veterans of Foreign Wars hosted an assembly at school, asking for volunteers for a drum-and-bugle corps. I raised my hand and they gave me a drum,” Ira recalls.

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Originally Published

Dan Morgenstern

Dan Morgenstern is director emeritus of Rutgers University’s Institute of Jazz Studies, which he oversaw for more than 35 years. Prior to joining Rutgers, he edited several jazz magazines, including Metronome and DownBeat. He is the author of two books, Jazz People (1976) and Living with Jazz (2004), and has won eight Grammy awards for his album liner-note writing. In 2007, he received the A.B. Spellman Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy from the National Endowment for the Arts.