Interview with Martin Torgoff


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Jazz on the Tube’s Ken McCarthy talks with Martin Torgoff about this new book “Bop Apocalypse”

Every jazz fan knows that the jazz scene and the drug scene have intersected at times.

Sometimes benignly in the case of Louis Armstrong’s daily cannabis use. Sometimes catastrophically in the case of the tragic heroin epidemic unleashed by Charlie Parker in the 1940s and 50s.

It’s not always a pleasant topic, but it is part of the history and as George Seldes used to say “Even the gods can’t change history.”

In the second half of the interview Martin and Ken go into depth about one of the great heroic stories of jazz and human rights: Billie Holiday’s championing of the song “Strange Fruit.” You may think you know the whole story. I guarantee you don’t. Your appreciation of Lady Day will grow further.

About Martin Torgoff

Martin Torgoff has been at the forefront of major media trends and cultural currents for more than thirty years, documenting and telling the story of America through the evolution of its popular culture as an award-winning journalist, award-winning and bestselling author, documentary filmmaker, and Emmy-nominated television writer, director, and producer.

His book American Fool: The Roots and Improbable Rise of John “Cougar” Mellencamp was the recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor Award. He is also the author of Can’t Find My Way Home: America in the Great Stoned Age, 1945-2000.

Today Torgoff applies his understanding of American pop culture to projects that include articles, books, film, television, lectures, multimedia events, and advertising/promotion.

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

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