All That Jazz
If you dig jazz, you’ll dig “Joined At The Hip”. This fascinating read by Jay Goetting keeps the beat from beginning to finish. From the early days through Prohibition & the swing era, then to bebop & beyond, Jay’s tome is the story of jazz music, musicians, & venues in Minneapolis & St. Paul, Minnesota. Jazz first churned its way into the Twin Cities (or simply “The Cities” as the hip folks say) on the Mississippi river excursion boats, which brought the likes of Jelly Roll Morton & Louis Armstrong to listeners on the levee-& it never left. When Paul Whiteman, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, & other jazz greats toured the clubs & concert halls of “The Cities, young musicians listened in the alleys outside, bought records, & learned more of this exciting new music. The local scene there began to nurture players like Lester Young & Oscar Pettiford, who went on to bigger things, as well as those who remained close to home to ply their craft, like Rook Ganz, Percy Hughes, Doc Evans, & Dave Karr. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Les Fields make an appearance in here somewhere with his pocket trumpet. Using an invaluable set of interviews taped with jazz personalities that were broadcast by Dave Sletten & Kent Hazen in the 1990’s & rare photographs spanning the entire era, author Jay Goetting recounts the lore & explores the social aspects of the story: racism, the gangster era, unionization & strip joints, & the ever-evolving music itself. Writer Jay, a journalist & bassist, has been a broadcaster, newspaper reporter, arts administrator, & county supervisor. Minnesota has to be the hippest state in the country! I mean, what else can you say about a state that produced such notables like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Bob Dylan, & the late Eugene McCarthy! “Joined At The Hip-A History of Jazz in the Twin Cities is available from the Minnesota Historical Society Press. Visit www.mhspress.org & grab Amtrak some weekend for a weekend in The Cities. The people there are so hip, that they don’t even eat a “square” meal! As the late Billie Holiday sang, “gimme a pigfoot & a bottle of beer…make mine a Summit EPA!