I’m not yet 70 and already I have retired three times. And since Minneapolis Schools became my first real employer, I changed “jobs” there about every 6-7 years (even if I had the same employer, and even the same job title), so it never seemed like I had been in one place for 30 years. My second retirement was from the National Association of School Psychologists after editing their newspaper for 12 years (mostly overlapping my career in the school district). During that time the organization in general and the newspaper in particular underwent major changes; again, it did not seem like I had been in that one place for all that long. My third retirement came after only two years– hosting the weekly Lead Sheet for KBEM radio. I’ve learned that a lot of “listeners” still don’t know I retired last July.
Thus the fact that I have worked as an editor at Jazz Police for 14 years is an anomaly. That I became a part of Jazz Police on the first day the site went “live” was pure coincidence: I was searching the web — in April 2004–for information about something or someone jazz-related, I don’t recall what. I just stumbled on opening day of the Jazz Police website. Don Berryman had posted a call for writers for this new venture. I just happened to have an unpublished review of a gig at the Artists Quarter a few months earlier. Don was interested even though the gig was well past–he needed material. (The gig, by the way, was a one-off of a trio dubbed “Garcia”– Dave King, Anthony Cox and Craig Taborn subbing for Dean Granros. Imagine what might have become of Garcia if they had pursued the magic of that one night?)
Don retired as Jazz Police Administrator in early 2016 and we had little hope that someone with sufficient technical savvy plus interest in jazz would take over. Yet, within a few weeks, Steve Kenny jumped in–a computer geek, a working musician, and active curator — and Jazz Police survived. I continued under the “new” job title of Senior Editor. We never did find a Junior Editor.
Now, as of April 30, Jazz Police needs a new Senior Editor, or whatever title seems appropriate. I am taking retirement #4. I’m not tired of writing and reviewing. I’m not unhappy with my boss or working conditions. I’m not bored with the local (or national) jazz community. Call it a 14-year itch. Call it yet another career move. I’ve been managing to split my time (and inspiration) in two increasingly unrelated directions– promoting jazz and engaging in personal art (photography and more recently painting). I decided it was time to be a full-time visual artist.
I thanked Don Berryman on his retirement for giving me the amazing (if not lucrative) opportunity to work with and serve the jazz community. And now I thank Steve Kenny on my own retirement for allowing me to continue the work with Jazz Police (with small but much appreciated compensation) and for his understanding and support of my decision to leave.
I intend to remain in the jazz community as an active part of the audience. I will continue to sponsor the JazzINK Youth Showcase more or less monthly at the Black Dog. I will continue to use photography to help promote jazz (you will still see my work on Jazz Police and Facebook). I will even write something now and then for Jazz Police as “Editor Emeritus”. Just no promises as to what or when. I will retire The Lead Sheet with me but I am optimistic that there will be something of a similar ilk appearing regularly on Jazz Police. And I am optimistic that there will be a new Senior Editor. Stay tuned.