One of the highlights of my career was recently getting to interview DJ, author and sports announcer Bobbito Garcia for a
One of the things Bobbito and I discussed during the interview was our appreciation of liner notes – the stories often written on vinyl album sleeves. Liner notes provided the lost back stories about the album that would otherwise not be known. One of my favorite album covers is from Jimmy Smith’s 1958 "Home Cookin'" LP. It hangs on the wall above my desk. On the cover, jazz organist Jimmy Smith stands in front of "Kate’s Home Cooking" a Harlem, New York restaurant. I've always loved the fact that two
I learned from the liner notes on the back of this album that the restaurant was considered "soul station" to many musicians in the neighborhood of Harlem's Apollo Theatre in New York City. This insight helps me imagine that that likes of Count Basie, Art Blakey and Horace Silver – all artists mentioned in the notes as frequent guests at the restaurant – could have enjoyed a
The "Home Cookin'" album was dedicated to the restaurant’s owner, Kate O. Bishop, "in recognition of a certain brand of culinary art," jazz journalist Ira Gitler wrote in the liner notes. The music "approximates the feeling her cuisine imparts." It's great to understand the significance of Kate's Home Cooking, and it’s cool to see that
Without those liner notes, I would never have that context.