the blog

Library of Congress Gets Mingus Interview Tapes

I’m happy to announce that the twenty-plus hours of interviews I taped with Charles Mingus are now being processed by the Library of Congress. These formed the basis of my book Mingus Speaks (2013, University of California Press). Also included are my interviews with ten close associates of Mingus: Max Gordon, Paul Jeffrey, Sy Johnson, [...]

Awards and Recognition

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections has chosen Mingus Speaks as the best history book in 2014 for research in recorded jazz music. It’s a prestigious organization. “Begun in 1991, the awards are presented to authors and publishers of books, articles, liner notes, and monographs, to recognize outstanding published research in the field of recorded [...]

Mingus Speaks, Italian edition

Redazione in Rome contacted me shortly after our UC Press book production began. Since then I’ve worked closely with Michele Piumini, their translator, and the Italian version should be published in July 2014. Here’s some advanced promo copy translated into English. The original appeared on Mingus According to Mingus interviews about life and music  ”A [...]

San Francisco

Yrs trly just returned from a great trip to San Francisco—celebrating a big birthday, hearing fine jazz, eating like Mingus, giving a series of talks on the book and doing some radio interviews. One of these was on KCSM Jazz and covered Mingus the man, the book and the music. My interviewer was Alisa Clancy, [...]

A Long Interview

with Jose Reyes of Jazz Con Class Internet radio, here. Jose asked some great questions and also runs one of the best jazz stations out there. Listen here. Michael Simmons of MOJO Magazine (UK) said a nice thing about yrs trly: “Like a tasteful musician, Goodman lays out until the improvisational repartee calls for him.” [...]

More Mingus Speaks reviews

Ian Patterson in All About Jazz,; Library Journal,; and a fine extended look at Mingus overall (referring to my book) by Adam Shatz in The Nation, Thanks to all. For excerpts, see Reviews.

Wide-Ranging Interview with JG

A guy named Joe Maita has been publishing a blog/website for some years “devoted to Jazz and 20th Century America.” It’s called Jerry Jazz Musician and is chock full of good stuff, now including an extended interview with yours truly about Mingus Speaks. I’ve had a lot of interviews since the publication of the book, [...]

Jazz Inside and Out

This is the title of a new blog I’ve started (, which is “for people who don’t get jazz (the outsiders) and for people who love it (the insiders).”  I post stories and comments from my personal life and experience over many years with the music in the hope that those coming to jazz early [...]

A Profusion of Good Reviews

Renetta DeBlase does the book proud on JJA News, the organ of the Jazz Journalists Association, with a lengthy, insightful review that highlights JJA’s Book Review section. My thanks to Tim Broun for featuring the book and a Mingus playlist of mine on his blog Stupefaction, along with a nice writeup. You can read excerpts from both [...]

‘Mingus Speaks’, We Listen

Sean Murphy of PopMatters gives the book a resoundingly good review. As Ira Gershwin said, who could ask for anything more? Read excerpts here, in Reviews.

Talking about Mingus tonight

If you are in the mood, listen in to my talk tonight, Thursday, June 27, with Rusty Hassan, DC’s Mr. Jazz and an old friend: around 10:30 ET, Live on-air, no podcast.

Hearing the Mingus Orchestra Live

While the May 20 event at the Jazz Standard brought out relatively few media folk, Dan Morgenstern (bless him) did come with a few others. Lots of family and friends in attendance, plus a full house for the Mingus Orchestra. They never played better. You don’t often get the chance to hear bassoons and oboes, [...]

Podcast Interview

My editor at University of California Press gives the book some great plaudits. Read her comments and listen to the podcast with me here.

Mingus Speaks Now in Stores

A friend in New York tells us that the books are now on display at Barnes & Noble. Presumably, other stores will have them soon. If you are in the city, please drop by the Jazz Standard (see following “Author Tour” for details) on Monday, May 20, when author John Goodman will speak to reviewers [...]

Author Tour

John’s upcoming promotional trip to New York City will include a night at the Jazz Standard in conjunction with the Mingus Orchestra at its regular venue. The date is Monday, May 20. Get your tickets early! The Band starts playing at 7:30, and John will speak to reviewers and fans beginning around 6:30 when the doors open. [...]

News about Publication—and Promotion (updated)

Mingus Speaks is well along in production. Our publication date is set for May 2013, when advance copies to reviewers and bookstores will be in place. My publisher, University of California Press, has been great to work with. The book is up on their site, and you can preorder. Response so far to advance proofs [...]

“Why should I read this? What’s in it for me?”

People have been asking why they should buy and read this book. If I’m feeling puffed up, I may answer, “Because it’s the best book written so far by and about Mingus.” To be a bit more accommodating to the question, here are three reasons. Learn the inside story about one of the great creators [...]

The Book, in summary

Mingus Speaks is for jazz lovers, of course, and has much inside information that most haven’t heard before. A sizeable audience of younger people is coming to know his music, and they are discovering the uniqueness of Mingus. The man was also a celebrity who always drew the hip and the curious. You know who [...]