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Book Reviews

David Baker, A Legacy in Music: A Review

Feb 26th, 2012 | By

David Baker, A Legacy in Music

By Monika Herzig, with contributions by Nathan Davis, JB Dyas, John Edward Hasse, Willard Jenkins, Lissa May, Brent Wallarab, and David Ward-Steinman. Foreword by Quincy Jones


Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 2011; 448 pps; $29.95 hardcover

While the word does not appear in any of its more than 400 pages, this attractive volume … [read more]



John Szwed’s Alan Lomax: A Review

Jun 13th, 2011 | By

Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World
By John Szwed
Viking, New York, 2010; 448 pp.; $29.95 hardcover

Review by John McDonough

Maybe it wasn’t the serpent that corrupted the Garden of Eden. Maybe it was the Hawthorne effect. That’s the notion that the intuitive purity of an isolated culture can be disturbed and altered simply by a self-awareness … [read more]



Innerviews: A Book Review

Feb 14th, 2011 | By

Innerviews: Music Without Borders
By Anil Prasad
Abstract Logix, Cary, North Carolina, 2010; 315 pp.; $23.99 paperback

Review by Alex W. Rodriguez

Anil Prasad, a San Francisco-based music journalist whose writing encompasses jazz as well as rock, world music and beyond, has developed a compelling method for interviewing musicians. Through long, in-depth conversations and open-ended questions free of clichés to … [read more]



Alyn Shipton’s Cab Calloway, reviewed

Jan 6th, 2011 | By

Hi-De-Ho: The Life of Cab Calloway
By Alyn Shipton
Oxford University Press, New York, 2010; 304 pp.; $29.95 hardcover

Review by arnold jay smith

What do we know about Cab Calloway? Zoot-suited. White tails. Hepcat scat-singing entertainer. Conducted with a long baton. And that hair. Called bebop “Chinese music.” What with all his famous sidemen, Cab’s stage persona and cavorting, … [read more]



Randy Sandke’s polemic on jazz criticism and race

Dec 20th, 2010 | By

Where the Dark and the Light Folks Meet: Race and the Mythology, Politics and Business of Jazz
By Randall Sandke (Foreword by Ed Berger)
Scarecrow Press, 2010, 275 pp., 246 pp., $40.00, hardcover

Review by Howard Mandel

Randall Sandke, known to jazz aficionados as a trumpeter and composer, has written a provocative, exhaustively researched and ambitiously analytical book about a … [read more]



Will Friedwald, Reviewed

Nov 13th, 2010 | By

A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers
By Will Friedwald
Pantheon Books, New York, 2010; 832 pp.; $45.00 hardcover

I recently reconnected, on Facebook, with a former colleague at Fairchild Publications, Mary Lois Adshead. She told me this story:

“One afternoon in the 1970s, my nephew, a precocious adolescent with a few obsessions, including comic books and … [read more]



Mark Miller’s Herbie Nichols: A Review

Sep 23rd, 2010 | By

Herbie Nichols: A Jazzist’s Life
By Mark Miller
Mercury Press, Toronto, 2009; 224 pp.; $19.95 paperback

The jazz world is filled with musicians who have not received the recognition they deserve. But after reading Herbie Nichols: A Jazzist’s Life by veteran journalist Mark Miller, the obscurity surrounding this pianist seems particularly tragic.

Nichols had his heart set on being a … [read more]



Nat Hentoff’s At the Jazz Band Ball: A Review

Sep 14th, 2010 | By

At the Jazz Band Ball: Sixty Years on the Jazz Scene
By Nat Hentoff
(Foreword by Lewis Porter)
University of California Press, 2010, 246 pp., $27.50 hardcover

Nat Hentoff has two passions, jazz and the U.S. Constitution. That these are not disparate interests he clarifies by quoting Max Roach: “What we do musically as we tell our stories is based … [read more]



Tom Nolan’s Artie Shaw, Reviewed

Jul 18th, 2010 | By

Three Chords for Beauty’s Sake: The Life of Artie Shaw
By Tom Nolan
W. W. Norton, New York, 2010; 430 pp.; $29.95 hardcover

I was wrong about Artie Shaw. I thought, since I heard that he stormed off the stage at the peak of his career over a fan’s umpteenth request for (fill in the blank) “Begin the Beguine,” “Star … [read more]



Stuart Broomer’s Time and Anthony Braxton: A Review by Art Lange

Jun 28th, 2010 | By

Time And Anthony Braxton
By Stuart Broomer
The Mercury Press, Toronto, 2009; 176 pages; $19.95 paperback.

Over the past two decades Stuart Broomer has become such a prolific and thought-provoking critic that it might have slipped by many of his readers that he comes to writing about contemporary music from the inside out; that is, he is an experienced pianist … [read more]