Book Reviews

BOOK REVIEWS

Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World’s Greatest Trombonist

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Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World's Greatest Trombonist Heather Augustyn 233 pages ISBN: #978-0-7864-7547-6 McFarland 2013 Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World's Greatest Trombonist--Heather Augustyn's study of the late and extraordinarily gifted Jamaican trombonist, composer and ska pioneer is exceptionally well-researched and very readable. What impresses most about the work is the author's painstaking efforts not only to reconstruct Drummond's troubled life from the accounts of those who knew him but also that of Anita 'Margarita' Mahfood, the lover he stabbed to death in January 1965.

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Ska: The Rhythm of Liberation

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Ska: The Rhythm of Liberation Heather Augustyn 163 pages ISBN: # 978-0-8108-8449-6 Scarecrow 2013 Heather Augustyn's Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World's Greatest Trombonist offers an excellent study of a gifted but troubled man that succeeds both as analysis and narrative. By contrast, Ska: The Rhythm of Liberation is a less successful piece of work. It does have its strengths, however. Augustyn is particularly strong in her account of the origins of the Jamaican music of ska, a precursor in some senses of reggae. She locates this successfully ...

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The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History, and the Challenge of Bebop

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The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History, and the Challenge of Bebop (Music of the African Diaspora) Kindle Edition Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. 257 Pages ASIN: # B00CDTSS78 University of California Press 2013 All of the sudden, we have competing biographies of modern jazz pianist Bud Powell. For the longest only Francis Paudras' deeply sentimental memoir, Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud Powell (Da Capo, 1986) and Bertrand Tavernier's imaginative film adaptation of the same, Round Midnight (Warner Bros., 1986) were the only “biopics" of the biographically-neglected pianist until Alan ...

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Paul Combs: Dameronia: The Life and Times of Tadd Dameron

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Dameronia: The Life and Times of Tadd Dameron Paul Combs 264 Pages ISBN: # 978-0-472-03563-2 The University of Michigan Press2013 “There is enough ugliness in this world; I'm interested in beauty."--Tadd Dameron “Nature's first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf, So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day Nothing gold can stay. “ --Robert Frost Composer, arranger, and pianist Tadd Dameron ...

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ART: Why I Stuck with a Junkie Jazzman by Laurie Pepper

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ART: Why I Stuck with a Junkie Jazzman Laurie Pepper 358 Pages ISBN: # 978-1494297572 Art Pepper Music Corporation 2014 About two-thirds the way through her memoir, ART: Why I Stuck with a Junkie Jazzman Laurie Pepper plants her spear in the dirt and declares the obvious: “A question I ask myself is if Art hadn't had me there constantly assessing his mood, taking his aesthetic temperature, would he then have had to push his vision by himself"? I think somebody else, another friend or lover, might have done ...

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Bathed in Lightning: John McLaughlin, the 60s and the Emerald Beyond by Colin Harper

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Bathed in Lightning: John McLaughlin, the 60s and the Emerald Beyond Colin Harper 480 Pages ISBN: 978-1908279514 Jawbone 2014 Few guitarists in the history of jazz have leapt onto the scene the way John McLaughlin did when the relatively new British expat made two very different appearances on albums by seminal American artists in 1969: first, with drummer Tony Williams' then-new group, Lifetime on the dense, intense and intentionally supersonically loud Emergency! (Polydor); and then on another groundbreaking but easier on the ears yet equally innovative recording, In a Silent Way (Columbia), the ...

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Wail: The Life of Bud Powell by Peter Pullman

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Wail: The Life of Bud Powell Peter Pullman 483 Pages ISBN-13: # 978-0985141813 (print) ASIN: B0079NR9IC (ebook) Peter Pullman, LLC 2012 The best biographies are well researched and annotated without being pedantic, informative without browbeating the reader and objective without indifference, or worse, malice. There exists excellent examples to illustrate the difference between “good" and “bad" biographies, written on the same subject: Elvis Presley. Peter Guralnick produced a two-volume set on Presley, Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley (Little Brown, 1995) and Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis ...

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Straight Life – The Story of Art Pepper by Art and Laurie Pepper

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Straight Life--The Story of Art Pepper Art and Laurie Pepper 506 Pages ISBN# 0306805588 Da Capo Press 1996 Writer's Note: Straight Life--The Story of Art Pepper is 35-years old and is a well-established piece of jazz reportage not requiring further comment, which has never stopped me. I have written this piece for a two-fold reason: one, to provide All About Jazz some commentary original to the magazine, and to anticipate Laurie Pepper's long awaited memoir, ART: Why I Stuck with a Junkie Jazzman (Art Pepper Music Corporation, 2014). These two books taken together ...

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Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork

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Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork Scott Gutterman 204 ISBN: 978-1608872237 Insight Editions 2013 Few are the musicians in any era that accurately inhabit the word “superstar" in the sense that artist Andy Warhol used it. He defined a “superstar" as a person of style, influence and panache, a figure of endless charisma and on whom one's attention falls and rarely wanders. It could be said with certainty that trumpeter Miles Davis fits into that rare breed of superstars. He was a man of impeccable style and taste, and just like no ...

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Dublin Jazz Book Vol. 1

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Dublin Jazz Book Vol. 1 Sam Kavanagh Pages: 80 ISBN: 979-0-9002321-0-6 Self Published 2014 Original, adventurous and visually striking, the Dublin Jazz Book may be the first jazz Real Book in the world to celebrate the original compositions of a single city. Conceived of by saxophonist Sam Kavanagh and designed by Steven McNamara, the DJB seeks an alternative path to gigs dominated by American jazz standards and a move towards the type of gigs and jam sessions where the compositions of a host of Dublin jazz musicians can be readily called upon. ...

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Jazz. New York in the Roaring Twenties

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Jazz. New York in the Roaring Twenties Robert Nippold, Hans-Jürgen Schaal 144 ISBN: 3836545012 Taschen 2013 The period in the 1920's America is known as the Jazz Age, the Golden Twenties or the Roaring Twenties. The history books say that this decade after the WWI was a prosperous one, where the nation's total wealth nearly doubled in between 1920 and 1929 which resulted in an unprecedented expansion in industry, technology and consumerism. It was the great writer F. Scott Fitzgerald who actually coined the term “Jazz Age" said of the 20s “The ...

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Being Here: Conversations On Creating Music

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Being Here: Conversations On Creating Music Radhika Philip 461 pages ISBN: 13:978-0-989-488006 Radhio.org 2013 Imagine having conversations with a large, diverse group of jazz musicians; old and young, both those who have been around for years and those relatively new to the scene. Radhika Philip has done just that, and documented their reflections in her book. The interviews were carried out in various places, including Philip's home, musicians' homes and various locations around New York. Philip is fully aware of New York's importance as a crucible for creativity and also the importance ...

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Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud Powell

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Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud Powell Francis Paudras 355 Pages ISBN: # 0-306-80816-1 Da Capo Press 1998 Pianist Earl Randolph “Bud" Powell (1924-1966) is one of jazz's brightest stars and most tragic figures. The new millennium has enjoyed a renewed interest in Powell, his life and art with Alan Groves and Alyn Shipton's Glass Enclosure: The Life of Bud Powell (Bloomsbury Academic, 2001), Peter Pullman's Wail: The Life of Bud Powell (Peter Pullman, LLC, 2001) and Gruthrie Ramsey's The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History, and the Challenge of ...

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America's Music: Jazz In Newark

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America's Music: Jazz In Newark Barbara J. Kukla 324 pages ISBN: #978-0-9768130-3-3 Swing City Press 2014 Every jazz fan has a story about how the music became an important part of their life. For some the point of entry was taking up a musical instrument. Others fell under the music's spell after hearing a family member's or neighbor's jazz records. And there are those whose exposure to sounds intended as an aphrodisiac led to a lifelong love affair with the music. Barbara J. Kukla's introduction to jazz occurred in ...



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