St.Petersburg, Planet of Music, 2010
Why somebody who is publishing a jazz magazine, would write a book about the blues? It's this simple: I'm into the blues just as much as I'm into jazz, with one major distinction. I have never played jazz music myself, but in the past, I have played blues rock in a band for more than a decade. Which does not add much to my expertise, only to my determination to write about the blues when it's possible.
For a few years back in the 1990s, I was jazzing the airwaves on a now-defunct private-owned AM radio station in Moscow; one of my multiple radio shows, which would run on Saturday evenings, was called "The Black Soil" and presented all types of blues-based and/or blues-related African-American music to the Russian audiences. In early 2000s, I wrote a series of articles about the U.S. record labels specialized in African-American music for the Moscow-based "Audio Engineer" magazine: from Black Swan, Columbia, Okeh, and Paramount to Sun, Modern, Chess, Stax, and Motown. That was the beginning of the book: I combined the musicians' stories from my early radio shows with the labels' stories from the articles series, reorganized it chronologically, and during 2008-2010 the first Russian popular introduction to the blues history was finalized and accepted by the Planet of Music publishing company in St.Petersburg, Russia, who also published my first non-fiction book, "The Jazz Industry in America" (2008,) and a book of jazz musicians' interviews and feature stories from Jazz.Ru magazine, "The Jazz Greats" (2009,) where I served as editor and one of 14 authors.
"The Blues. Introduction to the History" is written in Russian language, and targeted on Russian audiences, who may not be aware of many facts from the American political, social and musical history. This means that I have not only to tell stories about the bluesmen and their recordings, but also to explain many things, such as "what is segregation," "who is Jim Crow," "why there was a Civil War in the U.S. (no, not for the same reasons why there was a Civil War in Russia,)" "why we may have dozens of sound recordings of a certain country bluesman and no photos of his face," etc. I hope that this book will help building more understanding (and appreciation) of the American culture in Russian society.