Fire and Rain
By David Browne
Set against a backdrop of world-changing historical and political events, Fire and Rain tells the extraordinary story of one pivotal year in the lives and music of four legendary artists, and reveals how these artists and their songs both shaped and reflected their times. Drawing on interviews, rare recordings, and newly discovered documents, acclaimed journalist David Browne allows us to see,and to hear,the elusive moment when the '60s became the '70s in a completely fresh way" (Mark Harris, author of Pictures at a Revolution ).
By Ekkehard Jost
When originally published in 1974, Ekkehard Jost's Free Jazz was the first examination of the new music of such innovators as Sun Ra, Ornette Coleman, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Jost studied the music (not the lives) of a selection of musicians,black jazz artists who pioneered a new form of African American music,to arrive at the most in-depth look so far at the phenomenon of free jazz. Free jazz is not absolutely free, as Jost is at pains to point out. As each convention of the old music was abrogated, new conventions arose, whether they were rhythmic, melodic, tonal, or compositional, Coltrane's move into modal music was governed by different principles than Coleman's melodic excursions Sun Ra's attention to texture and rhythm created an entirely different big bang sound then had Mingus's attention to form.In Free Jazz, Jost paints a group of ten "style portraits",musical images of the styles and techniques of John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, the Chicago-based AACM (which included Richard Abrams, Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell, Lester Bowie, Anthony Braxton, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago), and Sun Ra and his Arkestra. As a composite picture of some of the most compelling music of the 1960s and'70s, Free Jazz is unequalled for the depth and clarity of its analysis and its even handed approach.
Father Of The Blues
By W. C. Handy
W. C. Handy's blues, Memphis Blues," "Beale Street Blues," "St. Louis Blues",changed America's music forever. In Father of the Blues, Handy presents his own story: a vivid picture of American life now vanished. W. C. Handy (1873-1958) was a sensitive child who loved nature and music but not until he had won a reputation did his father, a preacher of stern Calvinist faith, forgive him for following the "devilish" calling of black music and theatre. Here Handy tells of this and other struggles: the lot of a black musician with entertainment groups in the turn-of-the-century South his days in minstrel shows, and then in his own band how he made his first 100 from "Memphis Blues" how his orchestra came to grief with the First World War his successful career in New York as publisher and song writer his association with the literati of the Harlem Renaissance.Handy's remarkable tale,pervaded with his unique personality and humour,reveals not only the career of the man who brought the blues to the world's attention, but the whole scope of American music, from the days of the old popular songs of the South, through ragtime to the great era of jazz.
From Satchmo To Miles
By Leonard Feather
Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Norman Granz, Oscar Peterson, Ray Charles, Don Ellis, and Miles Davis,these are the dozen jazz figures whom Leonard Feather chose to describe the development of jazz. This is the first Feather book to examine in-depth the innovative figures who have led the way throughout the music's history. As composer, producer, and for almost half-a-century one of its leading critics, Feather has a unique perspective of these jazz immortals. He has worked with and known all of them. "These are portraits of human beings first, analyses of musicians or musical history only peripherally if at all," says Feather in his new foreword. A warm, affectionate, and perceptive inside account of twelve originals, the book is packed with wonderful stories. As Feather says: "Most of all I am grateful for the inspiration and friendship of the artists themselves. Armstrong and Ellington were directly responsible, through their records, for drawing me to jazz. After their magic had worked on me, the others, one by one, sustained and refreshed and invigorated my interest in, an involvement with, this liveliest of twentieth-century arts."