Nine Questions

A Tucsonan since 1954, Jefferson Carter is the Writing Department chair at Pima Community College's downtown campus. This year, Chax Press published his seventh book of poetry, Sentimental Blue. While poetry is his first love, music isn't too far behind.

What was the first concert you ever saw?

My first concert was in 1956 or '57, seeing my mom play cello in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

What CDs are in your changer right now?

I don't like listening to music in the house. I listen in my car: CDs by Herbie Hancock with the San Francisco Jazz Collective, and Miles Davis, Bitches Brew.

How many total albums do you own (CDs, vinyl, cassettes, 8-tracks)?

My wife, Connie, and I co-own about 150 CDs (Arizona being a community-property state).

Do you download music, and if so, legally or illegally?

No. My son does, but don't tell anyone.

What was the first album you owned?

Louis Armstrong with Ella Fitzgerald; their rendition of "St. Louis Blues" haunts me to this day.

What song would you like to have played at your funeral?

John Coltrane, "Lush Life."

Musically speaking, what do you love that your friends don't know about? What's your favorite guilty pleasure?

I was raised a music snob, my dad insisting classical and jazz were the only genres worth listening to. I still remember him hurling the radio to the floor when he caught us kids listening to Elvis. Since I'm no longer a music snob, all my musical pleasures are guilt-free. I used to enjoy forcing some of my favorites like Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Joe Ely on one ex-friend, who was a music snob.

What band or artist changed your life, and how?

One night in 1970 (I think), I left the old UA library, wiped out from studying for my Ph.D. exams, and I wandered unmolested into the main auditorium; there, onstage, was the Grateful Dead. Jerry Garcia's guitar riffs reassured me there was life, lots of life, outside the confines of academia.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

How about Miles Davis, Kind of Blue?