Suhor, Charles 1935-

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SUHOR, Charles 1935-

PERSONAL: Born June 3, 1935, in New Orleans, LA; son of Anthony B. (a comptroller) and Marie (an elementary school teacher; maiden name, Porte) Suhor; married Jessie Miller, May 16, 1959 (divorced); married Deborah Little, August 2, 1980; children: (first marriage) Michael, Gregory, Traci, Julie, Cathy and Beth (twins), Jean, Paul, David, Dianna, Janet. Education: Loyola University, New Orleans, B.S. (magna cum laude), 1956; Catholic University of America, M.A.Ed., 1957; additional study at Tulane University of Louisiana, summer, 1962, and Oxford University, summer, 1964; University of Illinois, Advanced Certificate in Education, 1967; Florida State University, Ph.D., 1981. Religion: Unitarian Universalist. Hobbies and other interests: Semiotics, theology, the popular arts.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Scarecrow Press, 4501 Forbes Blvd., Ste. 200, Lanham, MD 20706. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Musician, educator, and author. New Orleans, LA, public schools, teacher of English, reading, and history, 1957-67, English supervisor, 1967-77; National Council of Teachers of English, Urbana, IL, deputy executive director, 1977-97. Retired from educational career in 1997. Summer instructor at Louisiana State University in New Orleans, 1963, and Dillard University, 1965-66. Freelance musician, 1950—, playing drums with New Orleans Pops, Al Hirt, Armand Hug, Buddy Prima, and other groups. Military service: U.S. Army, 1958-59.

MEMBER: International Reading Association, National Council of Teachers of English (New Orleans affiliate, vice-president, 1968-69, president, 1971-73), Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Red Herring Poets, New Orleans Poetry Forum, and the International Federation of Teachers of English.


(Editor, with John S. Mayher and Frank D'Angelo) The Growing Edges of Secondary English, National Council of Teachers of English (Urbana, IL), 1968.

(Editor) American Dream, Ginn (New York, NY), 1973.

(Editor) Gallery, Scott, Foresman (Glenview, IL), 1976.

(Senior editor) Composition, 7-12, Scholastic Book Services (New York, NY), 1980.

(Editor, with Jan E. Kilby) Career Education and English, K-12: Ideas for Teaching, Project on Career Education, National Council of Teachers of English (Urbana, IL), 1980.

(Editor, with Christopher J. Thaiss) Speaking and Writing, K-12: Classroom Strategies and the New Research, National Council of Teachers of English (Urbana, IL), 1984.

(With Bernard Suhor) Teaching Values in the Literature Classroom: A Debate in Print, ERIC Clearing-house on Reading and Communication Skills, Indiana University (Bloomington, IN), 1992.

Jazz in New Orleans: The Postwar Years through 1970, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 2001.

Contributor to education journals and popular periodicals, including Learning, College English, Educational Leadership, Down Beat, New Orleans Magazine, and Gentlemen's Quarterly. Contributor of poems to journals, including New Orleans Review, Matrix, and Southeastern Miscellany. Contributing editor, Media and Methods. Professional publications editor, English Journal. Contributed a chapter to the 1984 yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, titled "The Role of Print As a Medium in Our Society."

SIDELIGHTS: Charles Suhor, an educator and a musician, is well known for his pedagogy writings, but has long been an avid writer on the subject of jazz, having grown up in New Orleans at the start of the genre and reporting on the earliest of the city's jazz festivals. In his Jazz in New Orleans: The Postwar Years through 1970, Suhor writes about some of the earliest jazz figures in New Orleans, including percussionist William Russell, drummer Richard Allen, trumpet player Bunk Johnson, clarinetist George Lewis, guitarist Edmond "Doc" Souchon, trumpet player and band leader Oscar "Papa" Celestin, clarinetist and soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet, composer and pianist Jelly Roll Morton, and the famed "founding father of jazz" Louis Armstrong. Suhor provides background for many names that have been forgotten, as well as historical perspective that offers a more complete version of jazz history than has previously been available.

Though the book primarily focuses on post-World-War-II modern jazz, Suhor briefly traces the roots of the New Orleans International Jazz Festival back to its 1968 inception and provides a cultural background for a better understanding of the troublesome circumstances under which jazz emerged—segregation, political adversary, the Great Depression—to eventually find its place within American culture. Suhor often supplements this history with articles of his own, which he contributed to publications such as Down Beat and New Orleans Magazine in the 1960s and 1970s. The author also touches on the founding of the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts music program and jazz studies at the University of New Orleans.

"Local readers should enjoy reading the author's often anecdotal accounts of such institutions as the New Orleans Jazz Club and its predecessor, the National Jazz Foundation, and will undoubtedly recognize a host of long-defunct nightspots," wrote Geraldine Wyckoff, contributor to the Best of New Orleans' Gambit Weekly Web site. Wyckoff also expressed that "as a New Orleans native, Suhor understands [the jazz community's] quirks, making his perspective ring true while offering his opinionated view of the music, the players, and events that surrounded and affected them." New Orleans Magazine contributor Jason Berry felt that while "it is unfair to criticize a book for not covering something beyond its stated purview … the origin of the art form is a missing piece of Charles Suhor's mosaic." Berry concluded, however, that "all things considered, Suhor's Jazz in New Orleans is a diligent book worthy of a wide audience."

American Book Review's Jamie Hutchinson praised Suhor's Jazz in New Orleans. "Suhor is an evenhanded adjudicator of sectarian clashes and a keen judge of musicianship in all styles," wrote Hutchinson, who went on to note, "Suhor's careful scholarship and reasoning do not prevent him from writing with the sizzle, the cadence, and the well-timed playfulness of a good New Orleans drummer. He exploits jazz jargon and New Orleans slang with an engaging effect that is anything but counterfeit." The reviewer also felt that "above all, the descriptions ring with a precision that reflects Suhor's uncompromising commitment to setting the record straight."

Charles Suhor told CA: "I've long tried to get a perspective on my writing in a world glutted with print and nonprint messages. Lewis Thomas's view of human communication is useful. He notes that each contribution—whether a book, poem, research paper, or earnest conversation with a stranger—is part of a hulking social dialectic in which ideas and feelings interact. Communications that appear to float randomly in a vast, amorphous debate actually gather to a critical mass, tipping the balance in favor of one view or another. The consciousness of a society evolves, then, in ways that are ultimately coherent, even teleological. This view is a faith, of course, but it beats inaction and despondency. Each of us is a saber-toothed gadfly, shaping the course of evolution in real, though incalculable, ways. In such a perspective there is room for activism, contemplation, and (redemptively) self-irony."



Educational Leadership, December, 1993, review of Teaching Values in the Literature Classroom: A Debate in Print, p. 90.

Emergency Librarian, September, 1993, review of Teaching Values in the Literature Classroom, p. 47.

New Orleans Magazine, September, 2001, Jason Berry, "Book Chronicles the Postwar Years," review of Jazz in New Orleans: The Postwar Years through 1970, p. 36.

Reference and Research Book News, August, 2001, review of Jazz in New Orleans, p. 196.


Best of New Orleans: Gambit Weekly, (August 7, 2001), Geraldine Wyckoff, "Beat Writer: Author Charles Suhor Was a Pioneer of New Orleans Music Journalism."

International Federation of Teachers of English, (July 20, 1995), Charles Suhor, "Eavesdropping at IFTE: New Insights into Technology and Education."

Jazzhouse: The Jazz Journalists' Association, (April 26, 2004), Charles Suhor, "Veteran New Orleans Jazzman," obituary of Don Suhor.

National Society for the Study of Education, (April 26, 2004), "National Society for the Study of Education Yearbooks, 1977-2001."*