Smaller in trim size, greatly expanded in content, this compendium of Chronicles classic "Blue Note" books (50,000 copies sold) is now an appealingly chunky paperback. Blue Note remains one of the most influential jazz labels of all time, and its cover art is a virtual time-capsule of cool. Now comprehensive, " Blue Note: Album Cover Art" gathers nearly 400 of the legendary covers, spanning the 40s to the 70s, and features the greatest work of legendary Blue Note art director Reid Miles. Simple and sophisticated, moody and alluring, these covers continue to influence designers and excite jazz aficionados today. "One glance," as "Esquire" said of the original edition, "and youll know where the essence of cool remains."
Once a thriving body of innovative and fluid music, jazz is now the victim of destructive professional and artistic forces, says Eric Nisenson. Corruption by marketers, appropriation by the mainstream, superficial media portrayal, and sheer lack of skill have all contributed to the demise of this venerable art form. Nisenson persuasively describes how the entire jazz "industry" is controlled by a select cadre with a choke hold on the most vital components of the music. As the listening culture has changed, have spontaneity and improvisation been sacrificed? You can agree or disagree with Nisenson's thesis and arguments, but as Booklist says, "his passion is engrossing."
But life offstage was never smooth for Sarah Vaughan. Her voluptuous voice was matched by her exuberant appetite for excess: three failed marriages, financial difficulties through many changes in management, late-night jam sessions, liquor, and cocaine. In Sassy, though, we also see the feisty and unpretentious woman who worked hard all her life to support her parents and adopted daughter, and who came to savor the hard-won independence and worldwide acclaim she achieved as the greatest jazz singer of her generation.
A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award
Billy Strayhorn (1915-67) was one of the greatest composers in the history of American music, the creator of a body of work that includes such standards as "Take the 'A' Train." Yet all his life Strayhorn was overshadowed by his friend and collaborator Duke Ellington, with whom he worked for three decades as the Ellington Orchestra's ace songwriter and arranger. A "definitive" corrective (USA Today) to decades of patchwork scholarship and journalism about this giant of jazz, David Hajdu's Lush Life is a vibrant and absorbing account of the "lush life" that Strayhorn and other jazz musicians led in Harlem and Paris. While composing some of the most gorgeous American music of the twentieth century, Strayhorn labored under a complex agreement whereby Ellington took the bows for his work. Until his life was tragically cut short by cancer and alcohol abuse, the small, shy composer carried himself with singular style and grace as one of the few jazzmen to be openly homosexual. Lush Life has sparked an enthusiastic revival of interest in Strayhorn's work and is already acknowledged as a jazz classic.
Sonny Rollins is one of jazz's great innovators, arguably the most influential tenor saxophonist, along with John Coltrane, in the history of modern jazz. He began his musical career at the age of eleven, and within five short years he was playing with the legendary Thelonious Monk. In the late forties, before his twenty-first birthday, Rollins was in full swing, recording with jazz luminaries such as Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Max Roach, Art Blakey, and Miles Davis, and he was hailed as the best jazz tenor man alive in the mid-fifties. Still active today, Rollins and his compelling sound reach a whole new generation of listeners with his eagerly anticipated live appearances. Now renowned jazz writer Eric Nisenson provides a long-overdue look at one of jazz's brightest, and most enduring, stars.
Muddy Waters invented electric blues and created the template for the rock and roll band and its wild lifestyle. Gordon excavates Muddy's mysterious past and early career, taking us from Mississippi fields to postwar Chicago street corners.
Louis Armstrong was the founding father of jazz and one of this century's towering cultural figures, yet the full story of his extravagant life has never been told.Born in 1901 to the sixteen-year-old daughter of a slave, he came of age among the prostitutes, pimps, and rag-and-bone merchants of New Orleans. He married four times and enjoyed countless romantic involvements in and around his marriages. A believer in marijuana for the head and laxatives for the bowels, he was also a prolific diarist and correspondent, a devoted friend to celebrities from Bing Crosby to Ella Fitzgerald, a perceptive social observer, and, in his later years, an international goodwill ambassador. And, of course, he was a dazzling musician. From the bordellos and honky-tonks of Storyville--New Orleans's red light district--to the upscale nightclubs in Chicago, New York, and Hollywood, Armstrong's stunning playing, gravelly voice, and irrepressible personality captivated audiences and critics alike. Recognized and beloved wherever he went, he nonetheless managed to remain vigorously himself. Now Laurence Bergreen's remarkable book brings to life the passionate, courageous, and charismatic figure who forever changed the face of American music.