If newspaper essays came with movie-style credits, this one might read: Village Voice Media Presents a Gary Giddins Column; Written and Directed by Gary Giddins; Based on an Original Idea by Louis Armstrong and Samuel Johnson; Edited by Robert Christgau; Co-Produced by Chuck Eddy; Copy-Edited by Alex Press; Illustrated by Staci Schwartz; Designed by Jesus Diaz; Produced by Donald H. Forst—Associate Producer Doug Simmons, Executive Producer David Schneiderman.
In short, I have many people to thank for the best job any jazz critic ever had, beginning with Diane Fisher, who first published my weekly Riffs in 1973. A long succession of editors and owners refrained from firing me. An even longer list of copy editors and fact checkers saved my ass. Gifted photo and art editors made the page look good, except for the one who loved wide margins. How very grateful I am to art directors who facilitated the annual jazz sections, which began in 1975, especially Ernie Lynk in the early years and Jesus Diaz in recent ones. Those supplements attracted eminent writers I felt honored to work with.
My gratitude to my readers is limitless—they were encouraging from the beginning and illuminating even when annoyed. I’ll miss their letters almost as much as I’ll miss editing with Robert Christgau, about whom I’ve written elsewhere (see Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough) and of whom I’ll say only that, as the most incisive of line editors and the deviser of many felicities for which I got credit, he made writing an infinitely appealing and evolving craft. Working with him was the great perquisite of three decades at the Voice.