The International Herald Trombone: A Tribute to Mike Zwerin, 1930-2010


For decades Mike Zwerin was the significant American in Paris for a floating readership of world travelers and settled expats, ready with the word about music, delivered in an idiom of cosmopolitan verbal swing on the back page of the International Herald Tribune four or so times...

Great Music Quotes

"Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them."
Richard Strauss

"Hell is full of musical amateurs."
George Bernard Shaw

"We never play anything the same way once."
Shelly Manne's definition of jazz musicians

"Someone who knows how to play the accordion, and doesn't."
Al Cohn's...


MARIO LAGO, a friend who lives in Milan, sent me the following commentary.

Last Friday I went to hear Billy Cobham with his jazz/fusion group at the
Blue Note. Huge noise volume, a cascade of beats and continuos fill-ins, a
bit like a locomotive, (Billy has huge energy and...

Don't Count Sheep

The days start getting shorter today, always a big day on my scale of small horrors. It's all downhill from here. Of course, it's always downhill from everywhere. That's the lay of the land. Why does that not depress me?
Actually, I know why. I'm stoned, and I've been listening...

"Let's Start A Magazine"

by ee cummings

"let's start a magazine, to hell with literature, we want something redblooded, lousy with pure, reeking with stark, and fearlessly obscene, but really clean, get what I mean, let's not spoil it, let's make it serious, something authentic and delirious, you know something genuine like a mark,...

Don't Blink

I wrote the following while sitting in the gentle April sun on the terrace of the Café Flore in downtown Saint-Germain des Pres. Not really, I just wanted to fuck with your head.

A friend of mine who fucked Daryl Hannah told me that she had a perfect ass....

Incendiary Comments

People discuss Bob Dylan's lyrics and his singing and what's wrong or right with his bands, but nobody ever seems to talk about just how good his time is. This may sound incendiary, but let me suggest that next time you listen you forget about the words, and listen...

Paul Haines: Not Making What Is Laughingly Called Sense.

Jo Hayward Haines, the widow of my late very special friend the poet, critic, and teacher Paul Haines, who wrote the libretto for Carla Bley's "Elevator Over The Hill," has asked people for their recollections of this "complex, funny, contradictory man." Here are mine.

I first met Paul...

Bob Dylan on new songs

"The world don't need any more songs. They've got enough. They've got way too many. As a matter of fact, if nobody wrote any songs from this day on, the world ain't gonna suffer from it. Noibody cares. There's enough songs for people to listen to, if they want...

Anthems for People Who Don't Like Anthems

La Marseillaise, Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli
America The Beautiful, Jaco Pastorius
The Star Spangled Banner, Jimi Hendrix
Imagine, John Lennon
I’m Black and I’m Proud, James Brown
L'Internationale, Jean-Jacques Milteau
My Way, the Sex Pistols
Precious Lord, sung and recited by James Baldwin (with Bob Stewart, tuba)

Interview on Bloomberg News

Jazz Critic Zwerin Remembers Miles, Chet and `Cool': Interview
2005-12-04 21:10 (New York)

(Farah Nayeri is a reporter for Bloomberg News. The views
expressed are her own.)

By Farah Nayeri

Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Mike Zwerin got his first break jamming
with Miles Davis a half-century ago. Miles...

Botox Vs Steroids

I had a thought today, looking at pictures of Oprah Winfrey and Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister of Italy, in the papers. Both are obviously botoxed, or worse. That’s fine. Nobody minds that. But if athletes are fined for taking steroids, shouldn’t public personalities be fined for their artificially...

Review in The Guardian

The Parisian Jazz Chronicles by Mike Zwerin (Yale, £15.95)

My heart sank when I saw that this was subtitled "An Improvisational Memoir", since in such cases "improvisational" is usually code for tedious stream-of-consciousness reminiscence. But Zwerin, an American trombonist and music critic long resident in Paris, pulls it...