Gloria Krolak Free Verse and Photos in the Key of Jazz

By: Dec. 12, 2015
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All the verses and their titles are constructed solely of jazz tunes with two exceptions. The title exception is "Jazz Haiku." The content exception is "Vibraphonissimo," a chronological block of vibraphone players whose music I've come to know, resting upon the two pioneers of the instrument. Commas separate titles within the verses, but interior commas from song titles have been removed to prevent confusion. The few words I've added are in italics. There are 1049 tunes and none are repeated. The shortest verse, "When Lights Are Low," has just four titles and the longest "My Little Brown Book," has 73. The final index,"Suprisingly Jazz," lists 31 tunes not thought of as jazz (e.g. "Shenandoah") but given jazz cred by the musicians who arranged and recorded them.

About the Photos:
After four decades of picture-making, Ed Berger has amassed thousands of images of jazz up-and-comers, legends and all those on the journey from one to the other. It's an understatement that choosing 36 for this book was difficult. What these images all have in common is they are all high priests and priestesses of jazz, caught in mid-inspiration. Consider the joyfulness of Louis Armstrong and Winard Harper, the reverence of Lee Konitz and Bill Kirchner, the connection of Catherine Russell and Carol Fredette, the meditation of Eddie Bert and Ron Carter. I couldn't ask for better images to accompany my humble verses.

Gloria Krolak is the host of Good Vibes, the first and only broadcast radio program to feature the vibraphone, a percussion instrument which found its jazz voice in the 1930s with Red Norvo and Lionel Hampton. It is represented on Facebook as Good Vibes on the Radio. She also contributes a monthly column, "On the Road," to Jersey Jazz, the journal of the New Jersey Jazz Society, which reviews venues around the state and eastern Pennsylvania. Her column, "The Club Car," appears at the All About Jazz website. She is a member of and is on the board of directors of the Junior Jazz Foundation based on Hilton Head Island.

Ed Berger is a freelance writer and photographer who took his first jazz photographs in 1966 at the age of 16 at a Louis Armstrong concert. He has been associated with the Rutgers University Institute of Jazz Studies for some forty years, currently as Special Projects Consultant. He is the author or co-author of several books, most recently, Softly With Feeling: Joe Wilder and the Breaking of Barriers in American Music (Temple University Press, 2014). His photographs have appeared in many publications and on many album covers. He is on staff at Jazz Times, and he regularly shoots for organizations as Jazz House Kids, The Jazz Museum in Harlem, and the Jazz Education Network.

A new tabletop book, Free Verse and Photos in the Key of Jazz, is offered on Amazon. This may be just the present for collectors of jazz poetry and/or black and white photographs, or people just getting into the genre. The Princeton jazz historian and photographer, Edward Berger, is better known than the Flemington, NJ poet, columnist ("On the Road" in Jersey Jazz), and broadcaster, Gloria Krolak. But the 84-page, 13 by 11-inch hardback is her baby, and she took the initiative in producing and getting it to market. Ed Berger's magnificent photos have been exhibited across the country, recently at the Institute for Jazz Studies in Newark.

Louis Armstrong beams across the cover, and inside are page after page of Pops's contemporaries: Wynton Marsalis, Lee Konitz, Christian McBride, Winard Harper, Joe Lovano, many others. Each verse is creatively constructed of song titles around a given theme: "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Cookin' at the Continental," "Sweet Jazz o' Mine," to cite three. Hard to believe there could be so many tunes - 1,049 in these poems, and none are repeated. The longest - "My Little Brown Book" - has 73, the shortest only four. You can look them all up in the index, and learn who wrote them.

The new book price from Amazon, excluding delivery, is $112. -from "Noteworthy" in JERSEY JAZZ, December, 2015.


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