I am a writer, critic, and biographer of the punk-bluesman Seasick Steve. I write books, and I review music (mostly jazz and blues) and TV for a range of publications. See “publications” for more details.
I am now working on a second biography, and when I have finished that, will revise the draft of my novel, Blue Notes, a darkly comic spiritual journey about a would-be music impresario. My protagonist, inspired by the extraordinary, subversive cultural history of jazz has always wanted to run a jazz club, but his life has been waylaid by circumstance, and he finds himself managing a demeaning career in low-level crime. He is inspired by the history of jazz, a high art form that grew up in the lowliest circumstances, to become, within a generation, America’s most dynamic art music.
As a music writer, I’m particularly interested in the history and culture of African-American roots music. The way in which the West African musical traditions, brought to America with the slave trade, became blues, then jazz, is an extraordinary and compelling cultural phenomenon. Most high culture evolved from popular work, but the speed in which the folk music of a recently emancipated slave class became high art is surely unprecedented.
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Just a sample of my work. To see more or discuss possible work >>