Taking on prominent thinkers who argue that music is nothing more than an evolutionary accident, Levitin poses that music is fundamental to our species, perhaps even more so than language. Drawing on the latest research and on musical examples ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Van Halen, he reveals:
• How composers produce some of the most pleasurable effects of listening to music by exploiting the way our brains make sense of the world
• Why we are so emotionally attached to the music we listened to as teenagers, whether it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, or Dr. Dre
• That practice, rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertise
• How those insidious little jingles (called earworms) get stuck in our head
A Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist, This Is Your Brain on Music will attract readers of Oliver Sacks and David Byrne, as it is an unprecedented, eye-opening investigation into an obsession at the heart of human nature.
With the same trademark compassion and erudition he brought to The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks explores the place music occupies in the brain and how it affects the human condition. In Musicophilia, he shows us a variety of what he calls “musical misalignments.” Among them: a man struck by lightning who suddenly desires to become a pianist at the age of forty-two; an entire group of children with Williams syndrome, who are hypermusical from birth; people with “amusia,” to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans; and a man whose memory spans only seven seconds-for everything but music. Illuminating, inspiring, and utterly unforgettable, Musicophilia is Oliver Sacks' latest masterpiece.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The product of more than fifteen years of immersion in the jazz world, Thinking in Jazz combines participant observation with detailed musicological analysis, the author's experience as a jazz trumpeter, interpretations of published material by scholars and performers, and, above all, original data from interviews with more than fifty professional musicians: bassists George Duvivier and Rufus Reid; drummers Max Roach, Ronald Shannon Jackson, and Akira Tana; guitarist Emily Remler; pianists Tommy Flanagan and Barry Harris; saxophonists Lou Donaldson, Lee Konitz, and James Moody; trombonist Curtis Fuller; trumpeters Doc Cheatham, Art Farmer, Wynton Marsalis, and Red Rodney; vocalists Carmen Lundy and Vea Williams; and others. Together, the interviews provide insight into the production of jazz by great artists like Betty Carter, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, and Charlie Parker.
Thinking in Jazz overflows with musical examples from the 1920s to the present, including original transcriptions (keyed to commercial recordings) of collective improvisations by Miles Davis's and John Coltrane's groups. These transcriptions provide additional insight into the structure and creativity of jazz improvisation and represent a remarkable resource for jazz musicians as well as students and educators.
Berliner explores the alternative ways—aural, visual, kinetic, verbal, emotional, theoretical, associative—in which these performers conceptualize their music and describes the delicate interplay of soloist and ensemble in collective improvisation. Berliner's skillful integration of data concerning musical development, the rigorous practice and thought artists devote to jazz outside of performance, and the complexities of composing in the moment leads to a new understanding of jazz improvisation as a language, an aesthetic, and a tradition. This unprecedented journey to the heart of the jazz tradition will fascinate and enlighten musicians, musicologists, and jazz fans alike.
In Oye Como Va!, Deborah Pacini Hernandez traces the trajectories of various U.S. Latino musical forms in a globalizing world, examining how the blending of Latin music reflects Latino/a American lives connecting across nations. Exploring the simultaneously powerful, vexing, and stimulating relationship between hybridity, music, and identity, Oye Como Va! asserts that this potent combination is a signature of the U.S. Latino/a experience.
In Herbie Hancock the legendary jazz musician and composer reflects on a life and a thriving career that has spanned seven decades. A true innovator, Hancock has had an enormous influence on both acoustic and electric jazz, R&B and hip-hop, with his ongoing exploration of different musical genres, winning fourteen Grammy awards along the way.
From his beginnings as a child prodigy to his work in Miles Davis’s second great quintet; from his innovations as the leader of his own groundbreaking sextet to his collaborations with everyone from Wayne Shorter to Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder; Herbie Hancock reveals the method behind Hancock’s undeniable musical genius.
Hancock shares his musical influences, colorful behind-the-scenes stories, his long and happy marriage, and how Buddhism inspires him creatively and personally. Honest, enlightening, and as electrifyingly vital as the man who wrote it, Herbie Hancock promises to be an invaluable contribution to jazz literature and a must-read for fans and music lovers.
Lady Sings the Blues is the fiercely honest, no-holds-barred autobiography of Billie Holiday, the legendary jazz, swing, and standards singing sensation. Taking the reader on a fast-moving journey from Holiday’s rough-and-tumble Baltimore childhood (where she ran errands at a whorehouse in exchange for the chance to listen to Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith albums), to her emergence on Harlem’s club scene, to sold-out performances with the Count Basie Orchestra and with Artie Shaw and his band, this revelatory memoir is notable for its trenchant observations on the racism that darkened Billie’s life and the heroin addiction that ended it too soon. We are with her during the mesmerizing debut of “Strange Fruit”; with her as she rubs shoulders with the biggest movie stars and musicians of the day (Bob Hope, Lana Turner, Clark Gable, Benny Goodman, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, and more); and with her through the scrapes with Jim Crow, spats with Sarah Vaughan, ignominious jailings, and tragic decline. All of this is told in Holiday’s tart, streetwise style and hip patois that makes it read as if it were written yesterday.
Holiday's career took off in the 1930s, during the Depression, and the biography evokes the era and atmosphere of the jazz club scene. The state of race relations in the country is discussed as Holiday tours with white bandleaders such as Artie Shaw and even as she sings about lynching in the controversial Strange Fruit. The narrative further chronicles Holiday's relationships, descent into drug addiction, the subsequent diminishment of her talent, and tragic early death. Readers today will then want to seek out Holiday's recordings to more fully appreciate her interpretations of the songs of that classic era.
Selected for "The Best of the Best" from University Presses, ALA Conference, 2010.
Winner of the 2010 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research in Jazz, 2010.
Jade Visions is the first biography of one of the twentieth century's most influential jazz musicians, bassist Scott LaFaro. Best known for his landmark recordings with Bill Evans, LaFaro played bass a mere seven years before his life and career were tragically cut short by an automobile accident when he was only 25 years old. Told by his sister, this book uniquely combines family history with insight into LaFaro's music by well-known jazz experts and musicians Gene Lees, Don Thompson, Jeff Campbell, Phil Palombi, Chuck Ralston, Barrie Kolstein, and Robert Wooley. Those interested in Bill Evans, the history of jazz, and the lives of working musicians of the time will appreciate this exploration of LaFaro’s life and music as well as the feeling they’ve been invited into the family circle as an intimate.
Michael Sparke's narrative captures that enthusiasm in words: a lucid account of the evolution of the Kenton Sound, and the first book to offer a critical evaluation of the role that Stan played in its creation. Insightful and thought-provoking throughout, and supported by liberal quotes from the musicians who made the magic, even at his most contentious the author's high regard and admiration for his subject shines through. The most knowledgeable of Stan's fans will learn new facts from this far-reaching biography of a man and his music. Stan Kenton will be essential reading for every Kenton devotee and jazz historian.
Clearly organized into easily mastered segments, each chapter is divided into separate lessons on harmony or improvisation. All music is shown in standard notation and TAB.
Based on over a decade of new research, Don Campbell, bestselling author of The Mozart Effect, and Alex Doman, an expert in the practical application of sound and listening, show how we can use music-and silence-to become more efficient, productive, relaxed, and healthy.
Each chapter focuses on a single aspect of everyday life, providing advice, exercises, wide-ranging playlists, and links so readers can use the music they love to create the perfect soundtrack for any goal or task. Also included are "Sound Profiles"-brief stories showing how real people creatively tap the power of sound to improve their own and others' lives.
Inspiring, practical, and truly enjoyable, Healing at the Speed of Sound opens the door to a fuller, richer, and much more harmonious life.
The Making of Kind of Blue is an exhaustively researched examination of how this masterpiece was born. Recorded with pianist Bill Evans, tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, composer/theorist George Russell and Miles himself, the album represented a fortuitous conflation of some of the real giants of the jazz world, at a time when they were at the top of their musical game. The end result was a recording that would forever change the face of American music.
Through extensive interviews and access to rare recordings Nisenson pieced together the whole story of this miraculous session, laying bare the genius of Miles Davis, other musicians, and the heart of jazz itself.
"Alluring. . . . Capture[s] much of the breadth of the music, as well as the passionate debates it has stirred, more vividly than any other jazz anthology to date."--Chicago Tribune
No musical idiom has inspired more fine writing than jazz, and nowhere has that writing been presented with greater comprehensiveness and taste than in this glorious collection. In Reading Jazz, editor Robert Gottlieb combs through eighty years of autobiography, reportage, and criticism by the music's greatest players, commentators, and fans to create what is at once a monumental tapestry of jazz history and testimony to the elegance, vigor, and variety of jazz writing.
Here are Jelly Roll Morton, recalling the whorehouse piano players of New Orleans in 1902; Whitney Balliett, profiling clarinetist Pee Wee Russell; poet Philip Larkin, with an eloquently dyspeptic jeremiad against bop. Here, too, are the voices of Billie Holiday and Charles Mingus, Albert Murray and Leonard Bernstein, Stanley Crouch and LeRoi Jones, reminiscing, analyzing, celebrating, and settling scores. For anyone who loves the music--or the music of great prose--Reading Jazz is indispensable.
"The ideal gift for jazzniks and boppers everywhere. . . . It gathers the best and most varied jazz writing of more than a century."--Sunday Times (London)
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Louis Armstrong's New Orleans interweaves a searching account of early twentieth-century New Orleans with a narrative of the first twenty-one years of Armstrong's life. Drawing on a stunning body of first-person accounts, this book tells the rags-to-riches tale of Armstrong's early life and the social and musical forces that shaped him. The city and the musician are both extraordinary, their relationship unique, and their impact on American culture incalculable.
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An Economist Best Book of the Year
"A radiantly accomplished writer . . . Gioia conveys his passion for the music with vivid description and shrewd judgements."-Wall Street Journal
In How to Listen to Jazz, award-winning music scholar Ted Gioia presents a lively introduction to the art of listening to jazz. He tells us what to listen for in a performance and includes a guide to today's leading jazz musicians. From Louis Armstrong's innovative sounds to the exotic compositions of Duke Ellington, Gioia covers everything from the music's history to the building blocks of improvisation. A true love letter to jazz by a foremost expert, How to Listen to Jazz is a must-read for anyone who's ever wanted to understand America's greatest contribution to music.
"Gioia could not have done a better job. Through him, jazz might even find new devotees."-Economist
"How to Listen to Jazz is a packed and useful introduction to the medium. . . . You feel you are in good hands."-Weekly Standard
Black Music is a book about the brilliant young jazz musicians of the early 1960s: John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, and others. It is composed of essays, reviews, interviews, liner notes, musical analyses, and personal impressions from 1959–1967. Also includes Amiri Baraka's reflections in a 2009 interview with Calvin Reid of Publishers Weekly.
LeRoi Jones (now known as Amiri Baraka) is the author of numerous books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. He was named Poet Laureate of New Jersey from 2002 to 2004 by the New Jersey Commission on Humanities. His most recent book, Tales of the Out & the Gone (Akashic Books, 2007), was a New York Times Editors' Choice and winner of a PEN/Beyond Margins Award. He lives in Newark, New Jersey.
"What is jazz? The rhythm — the feeling." — Coleman Hawkins
"The best sound usually comes the first time you do something. If it's spontaneous, it's going to be rough, not clean, but it's going to have the spirit which is the essence of jazz." — Dave Brubeck
Here, in their own words, such famous jazz musicians as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Fletcher Henderson, Bunk Johnson, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Clarence Williams, Jo Jones, Jelly Roll Morton, Mezz Mezzrow, Billie Holiday, and many others recall the birth, growth, and changes in jazz over the years. From its beginnings at the turn of the twentieth century in the red-light district in New Orleans (or Storyville, as it came to be known), to Chicago's Downtown section and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and Chicago's South Side to jam sessions in Kansas City to Harlem during the Depression years, the West Coast and modern developments, the story of jazz is vividly and colorfully documented in hundreds of personal interviews, letters, tape recorded and telephone conversations, and excerpts from previously printed articles that appeared in books and magazines.
There is no more fascinating and lively history of jazz than this firsthand telling by the men who made it. It should be read and re-read by all jazz enthusiasts, musicians, students of music and culture, students of American history, and other readers. "A lively book bearing the stamp of honesty and naturalness." — Library Journal. "A work of considerable substance." — The New Yorker. "Some of the quotations are a bit racy but they give the book a wonderful flavor." — San Francisco Chronicle.
interpretive history of jazz available in one volume.
expanded to incorporate the dominant styles and musicians since the book’s last
publication in 1992, as well as the fruits of current research about earlier
periods in the history of jazz. In addition, new chapters have been added on
John Zorn, jazz in the 1990s and beyond, samplers, the tuba, the harmonica,
non-Western instruments, postmodernist and repertory big bands, how the
avant-garde has explored tradition, and many other subjects.
continue well into the 21st century to fill the need for information about an
art form widely regarded as America’s greatest contribution to the world’s