What happens when you invite as many jazz musicians as you can to pose for a photo in 1950s Harlem? Playful verse captures an iconic moment for American jazz. When Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn't own a good camera, didn't know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone. Could he pull it off? In a captivating collection of poems, Roxane Orgill steps into the frame of Harlem 1958, bringing to life the musicians' mischief and quirks, their memorable style, and the vivacious atmosphere of a Harlem block full of kids on a hot summer's day. Includes bios of several of the 57 musicians, an author's note, sources, and a bibliography. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Robin Miles. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/reco/009892/bk_reco_009892_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Samuel Charters has been studying and writing about New Orleans music for more than 50 years. A Trumpet around the Corner: The Story of New Orleans Jazz is the first book to tell the entire story of a century of jazz in New Orleans. Although there is still controversy over the racial origins and cultural sources of New Orleans jazz, Charters provides a balanced assessment of the role played by all three of the city's musical lineages - African American, white, and Creole - in jazz's formative years. Charters also maps the inroads blazed by the city's Italian immigrant musicians, who left their own imprint on the emerging styles. The study is based on the author's own interviews, begun in the 1950s, on the extensive material gathered by the Oral History Project in New Orleans, on the recent scholarship of a new generation of writers, and on an exhaustive examination of related newspaper files from the jazz era. The book extends the study area of his earlier book Jazz: New Orleans, 1885-1957, and breaks new ground with its in-depth discussion of the earliest New Orleans recordings. A Trumpet around the Corner for the first time brings the story up to the present, describing the worldwide interest in the New Orleans jazz revival of the 1950s and 1960s, and the exciting resurgence of the brass bands of the last decades. The book discusses the renewed concern over New Orleans's musical heritage, which is at great risk after the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters. Published by University Press of Mississippi. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Marcus D. Durham. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/107257/bk_acx0_107257_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Queen of Bebop brilliantly chronicles the life of jazz singer Sarah Vaughan, one of the most influential and innovative musicians of the 20th century and a pioneer of women's and civil rights. Sarah Vaughan, a pivotal figure in the formation of bebop, influenced a broad array of singers who followed in her wake, yet the breadth and depth of her impact - not just as an artist but also as an African American woman - remain overlooked. Drawing from a wealth of sources as well as on exclusive interviews with Vaughan's friends and former colleagues, Queen of Bebop unravels the many myths and misunderstandings that have surrounded Vaughan while offering insights into this notoriously private woman, her creative process, and, ultimately, her genius. Hayes deftly traces the influence that Vaughan's singing had on the perception and appreciation of vocalists - not to mention women - in jazz. She reveals how, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Vaughan helped desegregate American airwaves, opening doors for future African American artists seeking mainstream success, while also setting the stage for the civil rights activism of the 1960s and 1970s. She follows Vaughan from her hometown of Newark, New Jersey, and her first performances at the Apollo to the Waldorf Astoria and on to the world stage, breathing life into a thrilling time in American music nearly lost to us today. Equal parts biography, criticism, and good old-fashioned American success story, Queen of Bebop is the definitive biography of a hugely influential artist. This absorbing and sensitive treatment of a singular personality updates and corrects the historical record on Vaughan and elevates her status as a jazz great. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Allyson Johnson. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/harp/006147/bk_harp_006147_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
In the spring of 1969, the inauspicious release of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band's Trout Mask Replica, a double-album featuring 28 stream-of-consciousness songs filled with abstract rhythms and guttural bellows, dramatically altered the pop landscape. Yet even if the album did cast its radical vision over the future of music, much of the record's artistic strength is actually drawn from the past. This book examines how Beefheart's incomparable opus, an album that divided, rather than united, a pop audience, is informed by a variety of diverse sources. Trout Mask Replica is a hybrid of poetic declarations inspired by both Walt Whitman and the beat poets, the field hollers of the Delta Blues, the urban blues of Howlin' Wolf, the gospel blues of Blind Willie Johnson, and the free jazz of Ornette Coleman. This book illustrates how Trout Mask Replica was not so much an arcane specimen of the avant-garde, but rather a defiantly original declaration of the American imagination. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Andy Caploe. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/004580/bk_adbl_004580_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
In last week’s State of the Union address, President Obama reminded us of China’s turbocharged economy outstripping our own. But when it comes to the global culture war for hearts and minds, the United States remains the unrivaled superpower. For now. Next, last month, thousands of mathematicians attended the Joint Mathematics Meeting in Boston — the largest annual gathering of its kind. In addition to presentations on phylogenetic algebraic geometry and trace formulas, the conference featured an art exhibition, with 80 artists presenting more than 120 works. Then, in Mexico’s drug war, nearly 50,000 people are estimated to have been killed since 2006, and there seems to be no end in sight. A new film called Miss Bala is an artful, riveting depiction of that war, and it isn’t the good guys-bad guys shoot-em-up you might expect. After that, the drummer Jack DeJohnette has recorded with all the jazz superheroes of the last half century — Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Keith Jarrett, to name a few. He was recently named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, recognizing a lifetime of contributions to the field.Following that, we received hundreds of submissions to our 420-character-story challenge. Although the contest is over, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to call a couple more authors and have them read their work.And finally, In 2009 the composer Eve Beglarian spent four months traveling down the Mississippi River — from the Headwaters in northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. She made the trip mostly in a kayak, trading off for a bicycle on some stretches. But “it wasn’t stressful exercise,” she tells Kurt Andersen. “It was that kind of wonderful exercise where your mind can travel as you’re travelling. And I think it put me in a different kind of place in relation to the sources of my creativity.” [Broadcast Date: Feburary 4, 2012] 1. Language: English. Narrator: Kurt Andersen. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/rt/stud/120204/rt_stud_120204_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Ernest Hemingway called Huckleberry Finn "the best book we've ever had. There was nothing before. There's been nothing as good since." Critical opinion of this book hasn't dimmed since Hemingway uttered these words. Mark Twain was the most famous American of his day, and remains in ours the most universally revered American writer. From Ken Burns, Geoffrey Ward, and Dayton Duncan (authors of Jazz, Lewis and Clark, Baseball and The Civil War) comes this audio companion to the PBS film of the same name. It pulls together material from a variety of published and unpublished sources. It examines not merely Twain's justly famous novels, stories, travelogues, and lectures, but also his diaries and letters. The authors take us from Samuel Langhorne Clemens' boyhood in Hannibal, Missouri, to his time as a riverboat worker - when he adopted the sobriquet "Mark Twain." Twain believed that "The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven." This paradox fueled his hilarity and lay at the core of this irreverent yet profoundly serious author. With essays by Russell Banks, Jocelyn Chadwick, Ron Powers, and John Boyer, as well as an interview with actor and frequent Twain portrayer Hal Holbrook, this audio provides a full and rich portrayal of the first figure of American letters.Listen to a conversation with Ken Burns. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Bill Meisle. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/rand/000176/bk_rand_000176_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Derided for its conformity and consumerism, 1950s America paid a price in anxiety. Prosperity existed under the shadow of a mushroom cloud. Optimism wore a Bucky Beaver smile that masked worry over threats at home and abroad. But even dread could not quell the revolutionary changes taking place in virtually every form of mainstream music. Music historian James Wierzbicki sheds light on how the Fifties' pervasive moods affected its sounds. Moving across genres established--pop, country, opera--and transfigured--experimental, rock, jazz--Wierzbicki delves into the social dynamics that caused forms to emerge or recede, thrive or fade away. Red scares and white flight, sexual politics and racial tensions, technological progress and demographic upheaval--the influence of each rooted the music of this volatile period to its specific place and time. Yet Wierzbicki also reveals the host of underlying connections linking that most apprehensive of times to our own uneasy present. The book is published by University of Illinois Press."The author successfully demonstrates the impact of social change upon Fifties music in a well-written and engaging way. Recommended." (Library Journal)"This fascinating book is accessible for students and general readers, even as Wierzbicki offers new insights that will be of interest to specialists as well." (Gayle Sherwood Magee, author of Charles Ives Reconsidered)"Wierzbicki is to be especially commended for his mastery of many sources and the way he has woven them together." (Michael Broyles, author of Mavericks and Other Traditions in American Music) 1. Language: English. Narrator: Scott Carrico. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/082368/bk_acx0_082368_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Playing cops was just a game until the bullets were real.The gravy train hasn’t stopped in the hollers of western Virginia for more than 30 years when Stony Shelor starts his junior year at Jubal Early High. Class divides and racism are still the hardened norms as the Eisenhower years draw to a close. Violence lies coiled under the calm surface, ready to strike at any time.On the high school front, the cool boys are taking their wardrobe and music cues from hip TV private dick Peter Gunn, and Dobie Gillis is teaching them how to hit on pretty girls. There’s no help for Stony on the horizon, though. Mary Lou Martin is the girl of his dreams, and she hardly knows Stony exists. In addition, Stony can’t seem to stay out of juvenile court and just may end up in reform school. A long, difficult year stretches out in front of him when a new boy arrives in town. Likable bullshit artist Jack Newcomb dresses like Peter Gunn, uses moves like Dobie Gillis, and plays pretty good jazz clarinet.Jack draws Stony into his fantasy of being a private detective, and the two boys start hanging around the county sheriff’s office. Accepted as sources of amusement and free labor, the aspiring gumshoes land their first case after the district attorney’s house is burglarized. Later, the boys hatch an ingenious scheme to help the deputies raid an illegal speakeasy and brothel. All the intrigue feels like fun and games to Jack and Stony until a gunfight with a hillbilly boy almost gets them killed. The stakes rise even higher when the boys find themselves facing off against the Ku Klux Klan. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Christopher Carley. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/139352/bk_acx0_139352_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.