Black Musicians and their Music
Prince: Before the Rain
Prince
Before the Rain
Hardcover      ISBN: 1681341212

Photographer Allen Beaulieu worked with Prince from the late 1970s into the early '80s, capturing the musician's progression from rising star to his ultimate purple superstardom. Always at Prince's side with camera in hand, Beaulieu helped Prince carry forward his vision with legendary album cover images and promotional photos during the groundbreaking Dirty Mind, Controversy, and 1999 era, while also capturing live performances on tour with Prince.

Prince: Before the Rain puts into focus the hallmark imagery--including behind-the-scenes, candid, and casual shots--with recollections from Beaulieu on his personal and professional relationship with Prince. Accomnpanying text will take the readers deeper into the context of these crucial years, with reminiscences from former bandmates, including Bobby Z., Dez Dickerson, Andr Cymone, and more.

Prince: Before the Rain paints another important picture in the mythology of the celebrated, influential, and endlessly invigorating performer while providing an intimate portrait of the Minnesota artist about to take over the world.
Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove
Mo' Meta Blues
The World According to Questlove
Paperback      ISBN: 1455501379

"You have to bear in mind that Questlove] is one of the smartest motherf*****s on the planet. His musical knowledge, for all practical purposes, is limitless." --Robert Christgau

A punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and pop culture.

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is many things: virtuoso drummer, producer, arranger, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bandleader, DJ, composer, and tireless Tweeter. He is one of our most ubiquitous cultural tastemakers, and in this, his first book, he reveals his own formative experiences--from growing up in 1970s West Philly as the son of a 1950s doo-wop singer, to finding his own way through the music world and ultimately co-founding and rising up with the Roots, a.k.a., the last hip hop band on Earth. Mo' Meta Blues also has some (many) random (or not) musings about the state of hip hop, the state of music criticism, the state of statements, as well as a plethora of run-ins with celebrities, idols, and fellow artists, from Stevie Wonder to KISS to D'Angelo to Jay-Z to Dave Chappelle to...you ever seen Prince roller-skate? ?

But Mo' Meta Blues isn't just a memoir. It's a dialogue about the nature of memory and the idea of a post-modern black man saddled with some post-modern blues. It's a book that questions what a book like Mo' Meta Blues really is. It's the side wind of a one-of-a-kind mind.

It's a rare gift that gives as well as takes.

It's a record that keeps going around and around.
Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong
Pops
A Life of Louis Armstrong
Paperback      ISBN: 0547386370

Louis Armstrong is widely known as the greatest jazz musician of the twentieth century. He was a phenomenally gifted and imaginative artist, and an entertainer so irresistibly magnetic that he knocked the Beatles off the top of the charts four decades after he cut his first record. Offstage he was witty, introspective, and unexpectedly complex, a beloved colleague with an explosive temper whose larger-than-life personality was tougher and more sharp-edged than his worshiping fans ever knew.

Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout has drawn on a cache of important new sources unavailable to previous biographers, including hundreds of candid after-hours recordings made by Armstrong himself, to craft a sweeping new narrative biography. Certain to be the definitive word on Armstrong for our generation, Pops paints a gripping portrait of the man, his world, and his music that will stand alongside Gary Giddins's Bing Crosby and Peter Guralnick's Last Train to Memphis as a classic biography of a major American musician.

I'll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, and the March Up Freedom's Highway
I'll Take You There
Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, and the March Up Freedom's Highway
Paperback      ISBN: 1451647867

"A biography that will send readers back to the music of Mavis and the Staple Singers with deepened appreciation and a renewed spirit of discovery" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)--from the acclaimed music journalist and author featured prominently in the new HBO documentary Mavis

This is the untold story of living legend Mavis Staples--lead singer of the Staple Singers and a major figure in the music that shaped the civil rights era. One of the most enduring artists of popular music, Mavis and her talented family fused gospel, soul, folk, and rock to transcend racism and oppression through song. Honing her prodigious talent on the Southern gospel circuit of the 1950s, Mavis and the Staple Singers went on to sell more than 30 million records, with message-oriented soul music that became a soundtrack to the civil rights movement--inspiring Martin Luther King, Jr. himself.

Critically acclaimed biographer and Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot cuts to the heart of Mavis Staples's music, revealing the intimate stories of her sixty-year career. From her love affair with Bob Dylan, to her creative collaborations with Prince, to her recent revival alongside Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, this definitive account shows Mavis as you've never seen her before. I'll Take You There was written with the complete cooperation of Mavis and her family. Readers will also hear from Prince, Bonnie Raitt, David Byrne, and many others whose lives have been influenced by Mavis's talent.

Filled with never-before-told stories, this fascinating biography illuminates a legendary singer and group during a historic period of change in America. "Ultimately, Kot depicts the endurance of Mavis Staples and her family's music as an inspiration, a saga that takes us, like the song that inspired this book's name, to a place where ain't nobody crying" (The Washington Post).
Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life
Otis Redding
An Unfinished Life
Paperback      ISBN: 0307453952
The long-awaited, definitive biography of The King of Soul, timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Redding's iconic performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.

Otis Redding remains an immortal presence in the canon of American music on the strength of such classic hits as "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay," "I've Been Loving You Too Long," "Try a Little Tenderness," and "Respect," a song he wrote and recorded before Aretha Franklin made it her own. As the architect of the distinctly southern, gospel-inflected style of rhythm & blues associated with Stax Records in Memphis, Redding made music that has long served as the gold standard of 1960s soul. Yet an aura of myth and mystery has always surrounded his life, which was tragically cut short at the height of his career by a plane crash in December 1967.

In Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life, Jonathan Gould finally does justice to Redding's incomparable musical artistry, drawing on exhaustive research, the cooperation of the Redding family, and previously unavailable sources of information to present the first comprehensive portrait of the singer's background, his upbringing, and his professional career.

In chronicling the story of Redding's life and music, Gould also presents a social history of the time and place from which they emerged. His book never lets us forget that the boundaries between black and white in popular music were becoming porous during the years when racial tensions were reaching a height throughout the United States. His indelible portrait of Redding and the mass acceptance of soul music in the 1960s is both a revealing look at a brilliant artist and a provocative exploration of the tangled history of race and music in America that resonates strongly with the present day.
Gold Experience: Following Prince in the '90s
Gold Experience
Following Prince in the '90s
Paperback      ISBN: 1517902584

Throughout the 1990s, Prince feuded with his record label, Warner Bros., over his rights as an independent recording artist--and made some of the most brilliant music of his career. During that time, Jim Walsh covered Prince for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and wrote about him passionately, thoughtfully, exhaustively. Here, in real time, is that coverage: a clip-by-clip look back at Prince in the '90s. Walsh's newly unearthed interviews, essays, columns, and reviews make Gold Experience an essential slice of history for fans, scholars, and latecomers to the Minneapolis-born musical genius Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958-April 21, 2016).

Join Walsh at the 1994 NBA All-Star game after party and release bash for the single "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World." Accompany him to the after-hours clubs Erotic City, Glam Slam, and, of course, Paisley Park. Meet Prince's wife and bandmate Mayte (and while you're at it, take in the wedding and reception). Enjoy a two-hour sit-down interview with Prince. Explore Prince's veganism, talk to fans in line for a Target Center show, preview the "Jam of the Year" concert and check in at the after party. The passions and influences, from Mozart to funk godfather Larry Graham; the gigs and the Paisley Park garage sale; Walsh's open letter to the artist and his reflections on religion and spirituality. This is Prince as few have seen him, reported as only Jim Walsh can: a portrait of the artist from a dizzying array of angles, captured in living color for all time.

Jay-Z: Made in America
Jay-Z
Made in America
Hardcover      ISBN: 1250230969

NOW A NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, AND PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY BESTSELLER

Dyson writes with the affection of a fan but the rigor of an academic. ... Using extensive passages from Jay-Z's lyrics, 'Made in America' examines the rapper's role as a poet, an aesthete, an advocate for racial justice and a business, man, but devotes much of its energy to Hova the Hustler. --Allison Stewart, The Washington Post

Dyson's incisive analysis of JAY-Z's brilliance not only offers a brief history of hip-hop's critical place in American culture, but also hints at how we can best move forward. --Questlove

JAY-Z: Made in America is the fruit of Michael Eric Dyson's decade of teaching the work of one of the greatest poets this nation has produced, as gifted a wordsmith as Walt Whitman, Robert Frost and Rita Dove. But as a rapper, he's sometimes not given the credit he deserves for just how great an artist he's been for so long.

This book wrestles with the biggest themes of JAY-Z's career, including hustling, and it recognizes the way that he's always weaved politics into his music, making important statements about race, criminal justice, black wealth and social injustice. As he enters his fifties, and to mark his thirty years as a recording artist, this is the perfect time to take a look at JAY-Z's career and his role in making this nation what it is today.

In many ways, this is JAY-Z's America as much as it's Pelosi's America, or Trump's America, or Martin Luther King's America. JAY-Z has given this country a language to think with and words to live by.

Featuring a Foreword by Pharrell

So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley
So Much Things to Say
The Oral History of Bob Marley
Paperback      ISBN: 0393355926

Renowned reggae historian Roger Steffens's riveting oral history of Bob Marley's life draws on four decades of intimate interviews with band members, family, lovers, and confidants--many speaking publicly for the first time. Hailed by the New York Times Book Review as a "crucial voice" in the documentation of Marley's legacy, Steffens spent years traveling with the Wailers and taking iconic photographs. Through eyewitness accounts of vivid scenes--the future star auditioning for Coxson Dodd; the violent confrontation between the Wailers and producer Lee Perry; the attempted assassination (and conspiracy theories that followed); the artist's tragic death from cancer--So Much Things to Say tells Marley's story like never before. What emerges is a legendary figure "who feels a bit more human" (The New Yorker).

Billie Holiday: The Last Interview: And Other Conversations
Billie Holiday: The Last Interview
And Other Conversations
Paperback      ISBN: 1612196748
The first-ever collection of interviews with the tortured but groundbreaking singer Billie Holiday, part of Melville House's beloved Last Interview series

Legendary singer Billie Holiday comes alive in this first-ever collection of interviews from throughout her career. Included is her last interview, given from her deathbed in a New York City hospital, where police were standing by ready to arrest her for a parole violation should she recover. Also included: The transcript of an interrogation by a US Customs official questioning about whether she'd violated her parole by using drugs on a foreign tour.

But the book is more than a look at just the famously tragic side of her life. In other conversations, drawn from music magazines, late-night radio programs, and newspapers across the US and Canada, she discusses her childhood, musicians who influenced her, her friendship -- and falling out -- with the influential sax player Lester Young, why she chose the gardenia as her symbol, why she quit Count Basie's band, her substance abuse problems, writing songs and whether she wrote her own memoir, and more.

In frank and open conversations, Billie Holiday proves herself far more articulate, aware, intelligent, and even heroic than the way she's often portrayed. This collection is an essential volume for all who have been moved by her music.
On Time: A Princely Life in Funk
On Time
A Princely Life in Funk
Hardcover      ISBN: 0306922215

A memoir by Morris Day of The Time centering around his lifelong relationship and association with Prince.
Brilliant composer, smooth soul singer, killer drummer, and charismatic band leader, Morris Day, has been a force in American music for the past four decades. In On Time, the renowned funkster looks back on a life of turbulence and triumph. He chronicles his creative process with an explosive prose that mirrors his intoxicating music. Morris' story is a fast-paced page-turner replete with unexpected twists and shocking surprises.

A major and fascinating theme is his lifelong friendship and years of musical partnership with Prince, from their early days on the Minneapolis scene to selling out stadiums and duking it out as rivals in Purple Rain. Eventually, Morris went on to release four albums with a new band of his very own, the legendary Time. He battled his addictions and came out victorious. But not before increasing tensions and embittered rivalry between Prince and the Revolution and Morris Day and the Time led the two performers towards separate paths. Through the years, the fierce brotherly love between Morris and Prince kept bringing them back together, over and over again-until pride, ego, and circumstance interfered. Two months before Prince's untimely death, the two finally reconnected and started to make amends. But Morris could've never imagined it would be the last time he'd ever see his friend again.

This is Morris Day's singular story in which the magic of music is the ultimate healer. On Time is also a deep meditation on friendship, Morris' poetic method of reconciling the loss of his close friend and longtime collaborator, and a way to commemorate an incendiary life cut short. But this book is more than just a walk down memory lane-it's a metaphorical means to bring Prince back to life. Throughout the narrative, Morris allows Prince's "voice" to protect his own legacy, to counter Morris's interpretations of events, and to essentially breathe new life into a tale as old as time-of two brothers, two bands, and a musical culture that even today pulsates with fresh energy.