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There are stories we tell ourselves. There are stories we tell our friends. There are the stories we tell strangers. There are stories we never tell.
Somewhere, in the middle of all of this, is the Third Story. The intersection between the art and the craft, making a living and doing the living, the personal and the professional…The place where all of these meet is the Third Story.

The Third story features long-form interviews with creative people of all types, hosted by me, Leo Sidran. Their stories of discovery, loss, ambition, identity, improvisation, risk, and reward are deeply moving and compelling for all of us as we embark on our own creative journeys.

In addition to my passion for discovering and sharing the stories of others, I have built a career in New York as a musician and producer. Learn more at

Aug 22, 2018

I first reached out to Nate Chinen to do an interview in 2015. At that time, I knew him as the jazz critic for the New York Times and a columnist for Jazz Times, and I also loved the book he wrote with George Wein Myself Among Others. (I interviewed George a few years ago as well.)

In the intervening years, Nate left the New York Times, became the Director of Editorial Content at WBGO (one of the most important jazz radio stations in the country) and wrote the book Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century, which was published last week.

Reading Playing Changes was a revelation for me. In it, Nate synthesizes many of the tendencies in and arguments around jazz over the last 20 years, and presents a case for contemporary jazz today. He also traces the narrative back to the 1970s, a time when jazz was in transition, and stitches together the disparate threads of the music that have emerged since then into a cohesive fabric.

Chinen is obviously a fan of the music, but it’s clear in his book that he’s also a fan of musicians as well. 

I spent an afternoon with him in his home in Beacon, New York, talking about Playing Changes, jazz criticism, displaced backbeats, the importance of live music, and the trouble with trying to define what music should and shouldn’t be. This is a conversation I’ve waited a long time to have and it was absolutely worth the wait.

Visit the Patreon Page for an extra 20 minutes of juicy conversation that didn’t make it into this edit.

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