In this biography, Marcus Baram--an acquaintance of Gil Scott-Heron's--will trace the volatile journey of a troubled musical genius. Baram will chart Scott-Heron's musical odyssey, from Chicago to Tennessee to New York: a drug addict's twisted path to redemption and enduring fame. In Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces of a Man, Marcus Baram puts the complicated icon into full focus.
In eight poetically charged vignettes, Geoff Dyer skillfully evokes the music and the men who shaped modern jazz. Drawing on photos, anecdotes, and, most important, the way he hears the music, Dyer imaginatively reconstructs scenes from the embattled lives of some of the greats: Lester Young fading away in a hotel room; Charles Mingus storming down the streets of New York on a too-small bicycle; Thelonious Monk creating his own private language on the piano. However, music is the driving force of But Beautiful, and wildly metaphoric prose that mirrors the quirks, eccentricity, and brilliance of each musician's style.
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.
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.
In this deftly written, riveting study, New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff answers these questions and examines the life of Coltrane, the acclaimed band leader and deeply spiritual man who changed the face of jazz music. Ratliff places jazz among other art forms and within the turbulence of American social history, and he places Coltrane not just among jazz musicians but among the greatest American artists.