Early Days and Editors
Coda, a jazz magazine started in May 1958 by John Norris initially, if briefly, under the auspices of the Traditional Jazz Club of Toronto. It has been subtitled, in turn, The Canadian Jazz Magazine (beginning with the June 1959 issue), Canada's Jazz Magazine (August-September 1964), The Jazz Magazine (October 1976), and The Journal of Jazz and Improvised Music (August 1984). Frequency of publication has varied from monthly to bi-monthly. By May 2004, 315 issues had been published and circulation was about 3,000, approximately two-thirds of which was outside Canada. Norris was editor 1958-76. Bill Smith, who became the magazine's art director in 1963, served also as co-editor 1976-83 with David Lee and as sole editor until November 2000. At that point, Coda was sold to the Warwick Publishing Group where first Nick Pitt and, subsequently, Jim Williamson acted as publisher, maintaining the magazine's joint commitment to tradition and innovation in jazz. It dropped the word magazine from its title, becoming simply Coda, still subtitled "The Journal of Jazz and Improvised Music."
Stuart Broomer became editor for the July 2001 issue. He first wrote for the magazine 1964-7 and contributed regularly from 1991. He also wrote on jazz for Cadence, Toronto Globe and Mail, Toronto Life (a monthly column), and amazon.com (editorial reviews), in addition to liner notes for CDs of jazz and improvised music.
A well-respected publication internationally, specialist rather than general interest by nature, Coda included interviews, feature articles, record, club and concert reviews, and news columns. It featured on-going coverage of Canadian music as well as an ever-increasing internationalism in jazz and the music's experimental edges. The number of writers who were with the magazine almost since its beginning included former editors Norris and Smith and long-time contributors Peter Vacher and Al Van Starrex. Other Canadian contributors included Montreal's Marc Chenard and Mike Chamberlain, Ottawa's James Hale and Trevor Tolley, Winnipeg's Randal McIlroy, Edmonton's Michael Borshuk, and Vancouver's Greg Buium, Laurence Svirchev, and Steve Vickery, and Toronto's respected jazz writer Mark Miller. The magazine has regularly included distinguished international writers like William Minor, Art Lange, and Francesco Martinelli. It was regularly nominated in the Jazz Journalist Association's annual poll as best periodical covering jazz, the only non-US-based magazine to be so nominated.
In 2008 Coda celebrated 50 years, when it continued to be published six times a year, however it ceased publication in 2009. There were plans to resume, but this was not the case by 2012.