Despite backing everyone from Lee Konitz to Lenny Tristano, this quiet mid-century talent only recorded one LP under his own name. It’s one of jazz’s best guitar albums.

Guitarist Billy Bauer browsed the record store’s Blues section for at least fifteen minutes before he saw his own record. It was shelved on the wall above the neighboring jazz section, displayed between a first pressing of guitarist Grant Green’s Am I Blue and a reissue of The Interpretations of Tal Farlow. Norgran Records released Farlow’s LP in 1955, the same label that released Bauer’s Plectrist the following year. Plectrist was Bauer’s…


I loved this popular satire section of the magazine, so I tried to write some funny satire myself. All my attempts fell flat. Or did they? You decide.

An introductory note: I wrote this one in the form of a high school newspaper article.

“Poopooing Shampoo, Before It Was Cool.”

By Rebecca S. Winfield, Special to the Hartshorne High School Times

“I honestly think in five years people are going to go, ‘Oh God, remember when we used to wash our hair with shampoo?’” says Michael Gordon. ─Wired magazine

Lately, it has become fashionable to give up shampoo. Fast Company’s…


AP Photo/Capital City Weekly, James Brooks

I know as much about classical music as I do car mechanics, which is close to nothing, but I do know I like it. Not choruses. I’m not a fan of things like Bach’s choral works. And as much as I appreciate Mozart, his best work is too tempestuous for me. I prefer chillaxed baroque chamber music. I prefer Bach’s Orchestral Suites and Brandenburg Concertos. And Franz Schubert, Joseph Haydn, Felix Mendelssohn, Handle’s Water Music, “Pachelbel’s Canon,” and the kind of sprightly, buttoned-up small group sound that fits quiet workday mornings and cups of…


AP Photo/Richard Vogel

It’s always 420 somewhere, especially here in Portland, Oregon, where a cannabis dispensary seems to stand on every other corner. I smell weed while biking with my daughter through quiet residential neighborhoods. I smell weed while driving with my windows closed. I smell it at the food carts and on the clothes of college students whose papers I used to help revise at Portland State University. Last year I was skating a park around 8 am one morning, and I smelled weed. No one was walking a dog. No one was playing Frisbee golf. I swear the…


Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“On psychedelics,” Dr. John Halpern, head of the Laboratory for Integrative Psychiatry at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts, told The New York Times Magazine, “you have an experience in which you feel there is something you are a part of, something else is out there that’s bigger than you, that there is a dazzling unity you belong to, that love is possible and all these realizations are imbued with deep meaning. I’m telling you that you’re not going to forget that six months from now.” That rings true to me.

For the record, I’m…


Tommy Potter, Charlie Parker, and Max Roach performing. William Gottlieb/Redferns

I am a jazz devotee, the kind with shelves of jazz books and photos of John Coltrane and Charlie Parker in his home office. Because I love music so much, I want to understand where it came from, and learn about the people who made it.

What is jazz? “It can be said that the entire story of jazz is actually a story about what can urgently be passed down to someone else before a person expires,” Hanif Abdurraqib writes in his book Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes on…


Bob Dylan playing on the Olympia stage, France, May 24, 1966, on his 25th birthday. Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Music legends from Tom Waits to Joni Mitchell immediately heard Dylan’s genius in songs like “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands,“ but not me. It took me two decades to warm to Bob Dylan. It’s a common story. He’s one of those artists that people say will “grow on you,” or, in more patronizing terms: You’ll understand when you’re older. No young person wants to hear that, but people I knew in high school loved Dylan, so I gave him a try.

Compared to all the loud, cutting-edge guitar bands my friends and I listened to in the ’90s, like Bad…


The story of the jazz saxophonist’s final artistic achievements

Starting with his first Blue Note Records comeback session in July, 1959, tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec recorded five albums worth of material as a leader in the early 1960s, two of which are undisputed masterpieces: Blue and Sentimental with guitarist Grant Green, and the organ jazz album Heavy Soul with organist Freddie Roach. Quebec died of lung cancer in 1963 at age 44. He was just getting restarted. History has divided his career into before his comeback and after his comeback. …


Revolutionary times call for revolutionary music

Those of us who love the Bad Brains always will, but recent vocal protests to end the violent, systematic oppression of Black Americans have revitalized the band’s message of unity and resistance.

Founded in 1977 by four Black men in Washington D.C., Bad Brains blends punk, reggae, metal, and funk, particularly across the course of their first three landmark albums Bad Brains, Rock for Light, and I Against I. Darryl Jenifer plays bass. Gary “Dr. Know” Miller plays guitar. Earl Hudson plays drums, and Earl’s brother Paul “HR” Hudson sings. HR stands for Human…


“The Ballad of Johnny Butt” is one of the California band’s most moving songs, even if it’s the least-serious sounding

Sublime playing Warped Tour in Asbury Park, NJ 8/18/1995. Getty Images

“Lovin’ is what I got. Said remember that.” –Bradley Nowell

For a perpetually stoned band that took very little seriously, the California band Sublime played some seriously powerful music.

Twenty-plus years after their dissolution, you might not think it’s cool to like Sublime. You might think of them as a white boy reggae-punk “SoCal” band for backwards hat frat boys who smoke herb but hate peace and ride longboards to their college classes even though they live in Ohio. And…

Aaron Gilbreath

Essayist, Journalist, Burritoist. Longreads Editor. Writing: Harper’s, NYT, Slate, Paris Review, VQR, Oxford American, Kenyon Review. 3 nonfiction books.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store