Jazz is conducted almost wordlessly: John Coltrane rarely told his quartet what to do, and Miles Davis famously gave his group only the barest instructions before recording his masterpiece "Kind of Blue." Musicians are often loath to discuss their craft for fear of destroying its improvisational essence, rendering jazz among the most ephemeral and least transparent of the performing arts.
In The Jazz Ear, the acclaimed music critic Ben Ratliff sits down with jazz greats to discuss recordings by the musicians who most influenced them. In the process, he skillfully coaxes out a profound understanding of the men and women themselves, the context of their work, and how jazz—from horn blare to drum riff—is created conceptually. Expanding on his popular interviews for The New York Times, Ratliff speaks with Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Branford Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Wayne Shorter, Joshua Redman, and others about the subtle variations in generation, training, and attitude that define their music.
Playful and keenly insightful, The Jazz Ear is a revelatory exploration of a unique way of making and hearing music.
On a dark night in Pennsylvania, a jazz legend met his death. But now, in the heat and light of Las Vegas, the sound of Clifford Brown’s soaring trumpet is coming back to life. Because a man named Evan Horne, who knows all about jazz and pain, is unraveling a puzzle that reaches back forty years to Brown’s last hours—and that has already gotten one person killed.
Horne was called to Las Vegas to authenticate some recordings purported to be the lost tapes of Clifford Brown. But when a murder interrupts his listening session, Horne becomes the key player in a dangerous duet. Carrying a worn old trumpet that may have belonged to Clifford Brown himself, Horne is pursuing the truth behind an audiotape that may be worth a fortune, may be a hoax, and may be just one haunting melody in a killer’s murderous obsession…
Praise for THE SOUND OF THE TRUMPET:
“Well written, plausible, and down to earth; recommended.” —Library Journal
“Fascinating insider information on various aspects of the jazz world. A must for jazz fans, who will appreciate Moody’s grasp of the music.” —Booklist
“When Bill Moody writes about dead jazz musicians, you can hear the blue notes bouncing off the walls.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Moody writes beautifully…a gallery of colorful figures…distinctively pleasurable.” —Publishers Weekly
“For a lively trip into the…world of jazz musicians, and murder, there’s no better guide than Bill Moody.” —Tony Hillerman, author of the Leaphorn and Chee mysteries
For a limited time only! Purchase BIRD LIVES! for just $2.99 and get a link to download the first book in this series, SOLO HAND, for FREE!
For jazz pianist Evan Horne, things couldn’t be better: His hand has healed, he’s getting gigs at some of the Southern California clubs, and he’s even been approached about a recording contract. He couldn’t have planned it any better. What he never considered, though, was that a murderer was going to add some startling improvisations…
The dead sax player was someone many in the traditional jazz community wouldn’t miss; he was, after all, just another Kenny G clone, someone capitalizing on an uneducated public’s willingness to support “smooth jazz” while the heirs to the tradition and music of Charlie Parker—“Bird” to the real fans—were starved for work.
It is immediately clear to Horne that the murderer must have known that Parker was one of the greatest and most influential men to wet a reed. That’s the only reason the words “Bird Lives” were scrawled on the wall above the body, the same words that appeared on walls all over the world after Parker’s death…and that soon appear next to a second corpse. With a tie-in like that, it is no surprise that the cops turn to Evan; he’d helped them before when death stalked the music community. This time, though, helping could cost him his future…and his life.
Praise for BIRD LIVES!
“The jazz esoterica and the unusual serial killer should keep Evan Horne fans reading.” —Publishers Weekly
“The witty premise and all the jazz talk will more than satisfy series fans.” —Booklist