• Greg Jarrell

A Riff of Love, one year later

This week, I am celebrating the release of A Riff of Love one year ago. Over that year, I've the chance to speak to and hear from lots of readers who have engaged with the book. I've been grateful every time sometime takes a moment to comment, but one particular theme of those comments has been my favorite.


A number of readers have taken a few moments at the beginning of each chapter to find the music referenced in the chapter title. That's one thing I was really hoping people would do, and it is happening!


Over the next week, I plan to share a few of those favorite recordings myself, beginning with this quick post on the title. For most of the existence of the book project, I intended to name it "Thriving from a Riff," after a Charlie Parker tune. That remains a chapter name in the finished work, but I asked for a lot of feedback about the title and subtitle, and the response was tepid, at best. As I was finishing the second draft of the work, my dear friend Ben Boswell introduced me to a song called "The Trumpet Child." It is the title track of an album from the Cincinnati-based band Over the Rhine. The song is stunning in every way - lyric, melody, harmonic progression.


This lyric grabbed me from the first time I heard it:

The trumpet child will riff on love Thelonious notes from up above. He'll improvise a kingdom come


Thus the title of the book.


Here is the song:

You'll hear Dawn Anthony and I perform it at some of our live shows built around the book. The next one of those takes place at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte on Sunday, October 20 at 6pm.

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