NEWS & VIEWS > LOCAL HISTORY

Art Blakey Topic of New Book by Atlantic City Author

Atlantic City's Sandy Warren has penned 'Art Blakey Cookin' and Jammin': Recipes and Remembrances from a Jazz Life,' about her relationship with the late jazz drummer and educator.

By Jeff Schwachter
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Nov. 17, 2010

Share this Story:

When I first met Sandy Warren, she was living in Ocean City and she invited me into her home to talk about a man who she lived with (at the intersection of Mill, Tilton and Shore roads in Northfield) for several years, loved for many more and whose son, Takashi, she raised in the Northfield and Ocean City areas.

I went to interview Warren about her relationship with one of the most famous, influential and inspiring jazz drummers/performers/teachers of all time — Art Blakey.

Turns out, following that initial conversation, we would meet several more times to talk about Blakey and Warren's many memories of and with him —   stopping into long-forgotten jazz clubs in Atlantic City in the late '70s unannounced, Blakey trying to ride his bike up and down Shore Road, or the meals they would cook together in their Northfield home, with fresh veggies that Blakey loved to pick up himself.

(Read the award-winning story by Jeff Schwachter, "Remembering the Messenger" here.)

Warren, a local freelance writer who specializes in food and cooking writing, as well as interviewing big stars — such as Dr. John, a personal friend of Warren's who she interviewed for AC Weekly in February 2009 — has been working on a new book about Art Blakey related to his culinary side for several years. In fact, when I first met her in 2005 she had already started working on it.

Finally, in January of this year, the book, entitled Art Blakey Cookin' and Jammin': Recipes and Remembrances from a Jazz Life, was completed. In August, the book's Louisiana-based publisher, Margaret Media, sent Warren a final copy.

Warren waited a couple months to officially launch the book, which she did on Oct. 11 (the late Art Blakey's birthday) in New Orleans.

"We did a big launch party at Garden District Books in New Orleans," says Warren, during a chat from her Atlantic City home. "And the week of [related events] ended with an Art Blakey tribute concert!

Warren also held off on doing any book signings for the new book until after the official launch in New Orleans last month. Since then she has done a successful book signing at the Ocean City Library ("we sold a lot of books!") and plans a bunch more in the near future both locally and throughout major cities across the country.

Her next scheduled book signing will be Dec. 17 at Bogart's Books in Millville. To find out about other local book signings and where to purchase the book, visit the Web site cookinandjammin.com.

Back in 2005, Warren told me how much of an impact Blakey's cooking had on her.

"I would not be a food writer now, I'm sure, if it had not been for Art introducing me to different kinds of food," Warren said at the time.

But the 187-page hardback book is not only full of recipes. There are also more than 20 never-seen-before pictures from the Blakey family album, as well as two related pieces by South Jersey artists. And, of course, there are Warren's remembrances of life with one of the true messengers of modern jazz.  

"The book is really as much fun for foodies as it is for jazz people," says Warren. "And of course if you're both than you'll love it even more. There are lots of Jersey-fresh recipes and some really good New Orleans recipes too."

Upon reading the book, Warren says most readers have told her that it's like they were sitting in their living room with Warren, listening to her wonderful stories.

"They say it's as if I was just chatting with them about Art and my life with Art. They felt it was a very personal story and that's exactly what I wanted it to be. So I am more than pleased."

 

ABOVE: Warren shopping in New Orleans during her recent book-signing visit.

Warren held the launch party for the book in New Orleans because she holds a tight connection to the city, even though she grew up in the Midwest, meeting Blakey during a Manhattan night club performance in the late 1960s. She had hoped that her friend Dr. John could make the October festivities, but his tour schedule didn't allow for it to happen. He did, however, write the forward to the book.

"Dr John's forward is worth the price of the book alone," says Warren. "When he tells you how he met Art, that is worth the price of the book. It's too funny to be fiction; it's got to be real life."

For $16.95, the hardback book is available online at cookinandjammin.com, as well as other online retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Locally, Warren is working with several book and music stores — including Sun Rose and GrassRoots Music stores in Ocean City — to have them carry the book in time for the holiday shopping season.

Warren points out that part of the proceeds from the book's sale will go to local South Jersey charities, as well as the New Orleans Musicians Clinic and Voice of the Wetlands.

"It not only makes a good gift to one's self, but to one's friends and family too, because part of the proceeds will go to wonderful causes in New Orleans as well as local causes. I think more and more people these days, when doing holiday shopping, want to buy gifts that are more meaningful." 

The book's cover features a photo of Art Blakey and his young son Takashi in Smithville. The photo was used for Blakey's album 1977 album Gypsy Folk Tales and is Warren's favorite picture, featuring her "two favorite people."

Full disclosure: Along with a pen and ink drawing of the home — which is still there — where Warren and Blakey lived together in Northfield by Somers Point artist Kathy Arleth, the book includes a charcoal drawing of Art Blakey by this writer, done specifically for Warren's book.

Click here for the 2007 Atlantic City Weekly story "The Spirit of Art."

Add to favoritesAdd to Favorites PrintPrint Send to friendSend to Friend

COMMENTS

ADD COMMENT

Rate:
(HTML and URLs prohibited)

Related Content

Inspiring Quest Born from Tragic Loss
By Kaitlin Montague and Ray Schweibert

Finding N-E-D No Evidence of Disease — not only serves as a means for healing and personal catharsis for Michael Brown, but also as a means through which he hopes to get the message out that melanoma is avoidable and preventable

RELATED: ‘Battle of the Bras’ Bolsters Cancer Research Be Safe. Be Aware.

Related Content

An Evening of Jazz, Poetry and Prose

By AC Weekly Staff

Plus Savor Borgata 2012, the Album of the Week (Billy Joel with a Philly twist) and DrewToonz on Furthur.

RELATED: Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month Poetry in the Hall 5 Questions with Michael Schulson of Izakaya at Borgata Johnny Andrews 1934-2010: Atlantic City Loses a Gentleman of Jazz Savor Borgata Returns Nov. 12 Still Savoring Borgata's Feast

Related Content

Art Blakey Event in Ocean City 

By ACW Staff

Plus the Chip Miller Surf & Turf events, Album of the Week, and DrewToonz's take on Resorts' upcoming circuses

RELATED: Art Blakey Tribute Wednesday at Chelsea

Related Content

July Jazz Sundays in Ocean City
By Jeff Schwachter

The Somers Point Jazz Society is presenting a free musical and educational program in Ocean City on Sundays (2-3:15pm) during the month of July.

RELATED: Remembering Atlantic City Musician Hassan Abdullah Ocean City Honors the Philippines
 
 The Jazz at the Point Festival Celebrates 12th Year CBB Jazz Series Returns

Related Content

Breaking News: Wash's in Pleasantville to Host Gulf Coast Relief Concert
By Jeff Schwachter

The Pleasantville relief concert will run from 5:30-10:30pm at Wash's on Main Street, and will include live music by the Eddie Morgan Trio and other guests, as well door prizes, a raffle and food.

RELATED: 'House' Call Dr. John, Alice Cooper, Tom Waits Among 2011 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Raising More Than Money for BP Oil Disaster Victims Dr. John and More

Related Content

Atlantic City Library Hosts Author Expo Saturday
By AC Weekly Staff

Plus Bob Dylan's recently discovered 1963 concert at Brandeis finally released, and find out about the upcoming RNS Amazing Taste event.

RELATED: Library Seeks Suggestions 
for New A.C. Museum 
 Atlantic City’s Culinary 
Secret Weapon Turns 30 
 Visiting My Alma Mater: Atlantic City High School African-Americans and Swimming Meet Atlantic City Youth Exposure Atlantic City Town Hall Meetings

Related Content

Remembering the Messenger
By Jeff Schwachter

When Art Blakey, the legendary jazz drummer (and 2005 Grammy lifetime achievement award recipient), lived in Northfield during the late 1970s and early '80s, he could not help running his bicycle into the side of the 507 NJ Transit bus, which, at the time, stopped right in front of the home he shared with his longtime companion, Sandy Warren, and son, Takashi, at the intersection of Mill and Shore roads. "The bus driver would just sit there and look at him," remembers Warren. "He just never really learned how to ride his bike. But he kept trying because he thought, you know, that's a nice thing that you can do in Northfield--you could ride your bike. "It's so weird because you think of someone talented enough to be the world's greatest drummer, who can close his eyes and throw the sticks up in the air and catch them with his eyes still closed and never miss a beat - that he should be able to ride a bicycle and do some other things that require a bit of dexterity. He couldn't. Drumming was the only thing that required dexterity that he could do!" Thank heaven for that. In the decades after the Pittsburgh-born...

RELATED: Pat Martino Plays the Point Coasting - Birdland Band Roosts at Stockton A Musical Homecoming for Ralph Peterson 2012 SPJS Jazz Master Award to Bob Perkins Jazz Fusion Locals Load Up on Awards A Grammy Win for Atlantic City Tia Fuller: Hot Sax on the Beach

Related Content

The Spirit of Art
By Jeff Schwachter

Peering out of the second floor window of his white stucco home on East Mill Street in Northfield, Art Blakey could see nothing but sky and greenery. He used to say it felt like he was in a tree house -- miles away from the hustle and bustle of New York City or Paris. If the the late musician had peered into the future, however -- say about 30 years -- he couldn't have possibly foreseen the events that would transpire in his temporarily adopted hometown region this weekend. The Cape Savings Bank Jazz @ The Point festival, March 1-4, being presented as a multi-event tribute to the jazz legend, will honor a man who spent the better part of the 1950s through the 1980s helping to shape (and keep alive) the hard bop side of jazz. While doing so he performed all over the world, recording on hundreds of sessions and, perhaps most significantly, fostering the careers of numerous young jazz players who would become huge forces on the jazz scene themselves -- Clifford Brown, Keith Jarrett and Wynton Marsalis, to name a mere few. Although he was born in Pittsburgh and spent most of his life as a...

RELATED: Cool Jazz
 in Somers Point Remembering Musician George Mesterhazy Jazz at the Point Festival
 Celebrates 15 Years Jazz @ The Point Festival Line-up Announced Jazz Fest Returns to Somers Point

Related Content

Coastie Turned Scribe
By Ray Schweibert

Few among us have ever experienced the kind of prolonged capacity for high adventure that might make the backdrop for a good book, and probably fewer of those who did could be creatively adept enough to write such a book. Bill Schweigart, a U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate who served five years in the USCG, achieving the rank of lieutenant, is one who can say he has done both.

RELATED: Ocean City Weekly: Fun for Everyone!
 The Flanders at 90 Battling Booze
 5 Questions With Author Turiya S.A. Raheem


 


ACW EVENT SERIES