New personal essay in the spring-summer 2021 issue of Salmagundi


A piece called "You're Up, You're Down, You're Up," about a man trying to keep himself alive and going by running up and down the stairs of the Bunker Hill Monument. 

Chicago Tribune op-ed


"We’re much like Chekhov’s traveler now. We confer value on what we don’t have, or where we’re not yet at. We know others are present in this 'over there,' and we worry that we are innately lacking. The procession, the parade, matter much to us because they’re all but officially earmarked as the measuring sticks of consequence."

On the genius of Jimmy Blanton


A piece for The Smart Set. "Blanton was the man who freed the Ellington sound, who made all future  sounds, it seemed, attainable. I’ll venture that no one in jazz history has played an instrument better than Blanton played the bass, but I almost hesitate to term what he did bass playing."

Bass piece in JazzTimes


Walter Page, sonic liberator. "We’re talking music as elemental as the weather, a sea throwing itself against shore-rock again and again, the incessant “I’m not going anywhere” advance, and yet so orderly, controlled, both repeatable and always new. A daring empiricism, an improvised science of rhythm-making."

St. Patrick's Day op-ed for the New York Daily News


Don't Dorian Gray yourself. "But she didn’t know. She’ll probably never know. The point is the cliché. And it is the clichéd life that is a kind of death. Or, if you wish to be less macabre, we can just call it hardly a life at all. Not  the life of an individual."

Downtown with Rich Kimball


Ambrose Bierce essay in The Smart Set


"He wrote a huge amount of short stories — 250 — and 850 fables in a period when writers of imagination actually wrote; as in, wrote often and wrote well, rather than what they do now, which is talk about writing without actually creating anything and bragging about how they are off for another writer’s colony vacation funded by someone else."

Film piece in The Daily Beast


Interview on Wisconsin Public Radio


Op-ed in USA Today


Stop telling everyone--and yourself--that you're old. "The dad bod is not some necessity of being 50-years-old, or whatever age you are. You’re free to dispense with it, transform it. Those views  you’ve held for decades? They can evolve in six months, and then you have fresher, better views to work with, perhaps to transform again, as you journey forward. What often stops us is complacency enabled by a culture of complacency."

Essay in The Smart Set on Miles Davis's "blue clusters."


The music surrounding Kind of Blue. "The seraphim vibe is in place, but also the smoky rhythm and blues flavor. “Two-Bass Hit” — a good test for how well a band meshes — is  indicative of how this unit could flat out steamroll you — in a good way  — when they wanted to."