Jazz Journalists Association
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John Pietaro


Member profile details

Membership level
Jazz Journalist (professional- voting member)
First name
Last name
I am a jazz
  • writer
  • other
"Other" means. . .
cultural organizer and musician
website/blog URL 2
Follow me on Twitter at:
I am the author/producer of
"Smoke Rings" poetry chapbook
I am also the author/ producer of:
The annual Dissident Arts Festival, NYC
Available at (URL or ISBN #2)
My interests in jazz are:
As a writer as well as a musician who still performs intermittently on the free jazz and avant garde NYC scene, I have an inner view of the music and the artists. Much of this music's roots are tied to revolutionary movements that need to be embraced and the goals of same need to be cultivated as parts of all struggles for progressive social change. Beyond this, the full spectrum of jazz in history appeals to my need for adventure and invention: the improvisational core carried by the force of swing constantly recreates the music in a way no other genre can muster
More about what I do:
JOHN PIETARO, M.A. is a writer, poet, journalist, spoken word artist and musician from Brooklyn NY. A staff columnist/critic of the NYC Jazz Record, he is currently working on a novel, Of Seconds and Shadows, and a photo-journalism book project Beneath the Underground chronicling outsider jazz and post-punk artists. In November 2019, Pietaro launched poetry chapbook Smoke Rings and is currently in the final stage of a non-fiction work, On the Creative Front: Essays on the Culture of Liberation.
Other recent credits include poetry published by International Human Rights Arts Festival (September 2019), Harbinger Asylum journal (Spring 2019), and a short fiction selection in Italian-language anthology, "Il Biglietto 2" edited/translated by Erika Dagnino (Genoa Italy: Sibello, 2018). Pietaro also self-published “Night People and Other Tales of Working New York” (2013), a book of short proletarian fiction, and wrote a chapter for Paul Buhle and Harvey Pekar’s “SDS: A Graphic History” (NY: Hill & Wang 2007). Pietaro has also been a contributing writer to Z, the Nation, Levure Litteraire, the Wire (UK), CounterPunch, People's World, Political Affairs, the Industrial Worker, Struggle, the Socialist, Way Out West (Japan) and other progressive and arts periodicals. He is a member of the Author’s Guild, the Academy of American Poets, the National Writers Union, the Poetry Society of New York, the Jazz Journalists Association, PEN America and the Italian American Writers Association.
Founder, host and producer of the annual Dissident Arts Festival, Pietaro has curated numerous performance and discussion events. He’s been a guest speaker at Left Forum, the Vision Festival, Workers United Film Festival and the first annual UpSurge! JazzPoetry Festival. As a multi-instrumentalist and/or spoken word artist, he’s performed with Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger, Amina Baraka, Karl Berger, Erika Dagnino, Ras Moshe and others. He also leads post-punk neo-Beat duo Flames of Discontent and spoken word/free jazz quartet the Red Microphone; the latter collaborated with Ms. Baraka on the recording Amina Baraka & the Red Microphone (ESP-Disk, 2017) and a series of performance dates following that album’s release.
LITERATURE AS A WEAPON OF SOCIAL JUSTICE is at the core of John Pietaro’s arts philosophy. A primary influence remains the work of Leftist militant writers of the 1910s-60s, the bold auteurs of literary fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, theatre works, reportage and screen- and teleplays that forged a new day. His work is also inspired by the performance poets of the Harlem Renaissance, Beat generation and Black Arts Movement as well as New York’s punk, post-punk and downtown underground arts movements.
I support the JJA because
This music needs to have a real sense of community: it was born of struggle, was matured through social and political fights for justice, and expands on the very notion of liberty--both individual and sonic. But jazz stands out as a symbol of the power of the collective as well, thus it is greatly powerful. The journalists who write about the musicians and the times in which the music is made, should have a forum so that listeners can experience all that makes jazz a visceral art. And once that forum is inclusive of performers, composers, producers and fans, the communications goes in every direction. Thanks to Howard Mandel and co for conceiving of this organization---and the very need to have it.

Member photo albums (1 Album)

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