My name is Marshall Bowden, and I am a freelance writer who has studied and played music for many years, including a year at Berklee College of Music. I’ve also always been a music nerd and record collector (CD collector, cassette collector, magazine collector). For me it’s all about the music but I take a lot of pleasure and joy in the artifacts of the music, and in the stories they tell about our lives, our culture, and our history.
I’ve written about music for over 15 years. I was About.com’s original Classic Jazz Guide. In 2001 I left to start my own jazz website, Jazzitude, which ran successfully until 2010. I collected and edited the book Quotable Jazz for Sound and Vision Books in 2001, the same year I earned an MBA from DePaul University.
During this time I wrote extensively for PopMatters (you can read my reviews and articles here) and All About Jazz, where I wrote a regular column under the banner “Late Night Thoughts on Jazz.” The name is a play on the book Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler’s Ninth Symphony by Lewis Thomas. It also plays on the idea of jazz and rock as music for night hawks, and of myself as something akin to a monk in a medieval monastery digging through recorded music’s history, which is primarily expressed through recordings—wax cylinders, 78s, 45s, 33⅓ LP vinyl, magnetic tape, CDs, and digital files.
That recorded history is now over a century old, which means that there is a lot of it out there. That can be pretty imposing for the casually interested listener, and it can be difficult for anyone to know just what’s out there and what it’s like. But rather than provide a straightforward, album by album discussion of the music, I frequently try to organize it around a theme. That could be a particular artist, or a forgotten recording or period of an artist’s career, or a particular song, or just about anything. Sometimes I’ll just write about a particular recording that listeners might be interested in.
It all depends on where my mind takes me, far into the night.