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The Jackie Robinson of Jazz

The Jackie Robinson of Jazz

Everybody knows Brooklyn’s number 42, but I’m surprised how many people are unaware of how popular music got integrated in the 1930s, paving the way for Robinson and Rickey to break baseball’s color line after World War II. The pivotal figure for jazz was Teddy Wilson, whose musical compatibility with the King of Swing created …

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Round 2 for the Presidentials

Round 2 for the Presidentials

Here’s my article on “the Democrats’ do-si-do,” published on Common Dreams in the wake of former VP Biden’s entrance into the race. (Here’s hoping they fix the woefully outdated bio. And photo—I haven’t worn that goatee in years!) Let me know your thoughts on this thinkpiece!

origins of the origin-al blues

origins of the origin-al blues

Behold your wordsmith’s first contribution to The Syncopated Times, a thoroughly charming monthly periodical out of Utica, New York. (“Syncopate Close to Home!”) The April issue contains my review of The Original Blues: The Emergence of the Blues in African American Vaudeville, by Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff. The book is the culminating volume of …

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The Original Cornell Syncopators: two radio features and an article

The Original Cornell Syncopators: two radio features and an article

The Original Cornell Syncopators are a student band that plays in the earliest jazz styles. Their historical acumen is such that they make recordings on Thomas A. Edison cylinders from the nineteen-aughts! I produced a 15-minute audio feature for WRFI Community Radio News enitled: “Time Machine—Recording Hot Jazz on Cylinder.” In May 2019, the band …

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Peace Piece at The Progressive

Peace Piece at The Progressive

On the International Day of Peace, The Progressive magazine’s website published my review of Randy Forsberg’s fascinating book, Toward a Theory of Peace: The Role of Moral Beliefs. I had suggested a clever title for the article—”From the Unthinkable to the Inconceivable”—but I suppose clever titles aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. (If anyone …

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first testimonial!

first testimonial!

“I’ve worked with Roger for ten years and he’s never disappointed me. As a writer on many different educational projects, from encyclopedias to literary criticism to K-12 reading passages, he’s invariably produced copy that’s authoritative, sparkling clean, lively, and engaging. As a news editor he has excellent judgment and a wide breadth of knowledge, and …

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Two Minute Warning

Two Minute Warning

The Progressive published my dispatch from the peace movement meetings held in New York May 11-12, 2018 and the state of nuclear disarmament in 2018. You can see a video taken at the “Two Minutes to Midnight” conference on May 12, featuring talks by Noam Chomsky, Medea Benjamin, Zia Mian, and Daniel Ellsberg.