Dear Editor:

The Reader is a news publication that many people in the jazz world refer to and depend on for information. In the Reader’s guide to the 1997 Chicago Jazz Festival [August 22], Peter Margasak refers to me as “the clown prince of Ernest Dawkins’s New Horizons Ensemble,” which has caused much controversy. I have received many calls asking if I have seen this item, and it has caused a great deal of humiliation and insult.

I know Peter personally through his brother Todd (one of my former students), and I don’t think he meant it in an insulting manner. However, I am a public figure, and the public in general takes what it reads rather literally. I feel Peter should write a retraction and provide a detailed explanation of his statement.

In the future, Peter should focus on the musician’s music and musicianship, which were not addressed in his write-up.

Ameen Muhammad

Vice Chairman

Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians

Peter Margasak replies:

Ameen Muhammad is correct that my comments were not intended as insults. In performance with the New Horizons Ensemble he often lends the proceedings an undeniable and seemingly intentional humorous tone in his interactions with the other group members and occasionally in his solos–much the way trumpeters Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Lester Bowie have before him. I apologize for any misunderstanding.