Louis

By Nat Hentoff From Jazz Is, 1976 Louis Armstrong, summoned by King Oliver, came up to Chicago in the summer of 1922, Buster Bailey reports that “Louis upset Chicago. All the musicians came to hear Louis. What made Louis upset Chicago so? His execution, for one thing,...

The Impression

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports, December 1980 When I heard Ali had agreed to fight Holmes, the first thought I had was that Ali would be killed. The punch was five years gone, his hand speed had been mediocre over his last half dozen fights, and he’d been getting hit by...

Lenny

By Seymour Krim Nugget, June 1963 We come, with mixed feelings, to the Case of Lenny Bruce. You probably have an opinion—who doesn’t?—but sit still long enough to hear ours. First, so that no matter how finky you finally think our stand is, let it be triple-clear that...

Good Old Sidney

By Alex Belth Bronx Banter, June 15, 2011 My father was an incorrigible name dropper. He called famous actors and directors by their first names, suggesting an intimacy that didn’t always exist. He had met a lot of celebrities when he worked as a unit production...

George Kimball: The Professional

By John Schulian Bronx Banter, July 8, 2011 George Kimball was blessed with the kind of voluble charm you find in an Irish bar, and, brother, let me tell you he’d been in a few. No amount of drink, however, could rein in his galloping intelligence. It was as pure a...

Why Has the Fun Fled Fun City?

By Joe Flaherty The Village Voice, October 27, 1966 They all stood there waiting for the helicopter to come down. You had the feeling some of them wouldn’t have minded if it didn’t make it on its own power. Up in the sky was the mayor of New York, John V. Lindsay. He...

Me and My Old Man

By Paul Hemphill from The Good Old Boys, 1974 ICC is a-checkin on down the line, Well, I’m a little overweight And my log book’s way behind; Nothin’ bothers me tonight, I can dodge all the scales all right; Six days on the road And I’m a-gonna make it home...

Express Trane

By Nat Hentoff From Jazz Is, 1976 Coltrane, a man of almost unbelievable gentleness made human to us lesser mortals by his very occasional rages. Coltrane, an authentically spiritual man, but not innocent of carnal imperatives. Or perhaps more accurately, a man, in...

Bedtime Story

By Carlo Rotella From Playing in Time, 2012 I was in a city far from home, working on a magazine story. I spent the day and evening going around asking questions, watching people do what they do, filling up a couple of pocket notebooks. Among other places, I visited...