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Duke Ellington's America by Few American artists in any medium have enjoyed the international and lasting cultural impact of Duke Ellington. From jazz standards such as “Mood Indigo” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” to his longer, more orchestral suites, to his leadership of the stellar big band he toured and performed with for decades after most big bands folded, Ellington represented a singular, pathbreaking force in music over the course of a half-century. At the same time, as one of the most prominent black public figures in history, Ellington demonstrated leadership on questions of civil rights, equality, and America’s role in the world. With Duke Ellington’s America, Harvey G. Cohen paints a vivid picture of Ellington’s life and times, taking him from his youth in the black middle class enclave of Washington, D.C., to the heights of worldwide acclaim. Mining extensive archives, many never before available, plus new interviews with Ellington’s friends, family, band members, and business associates, Cohen illuminates his constantly evolving approach to composition, performance, and the music business—as well as issues of race, equality and religion. Ellington’s own voice, meanwhile, animates the book throughout, giving Duke Ellington’s America an intimacy and immediacy unmatched by any previous account. By far the most thorough and nuanced portrait yet of this towering figure, Duke Ellington’s America highlights Ellington’s importance as a figure in American history as well as in American music.
Call Number: ML410.E44 C56 2010 (South)
Publication Date: 2010-05-01
Louis Armstrong by Nearly 100 years after bursting onto Chicago’s music scene under the tutelage of Joe "King" Oliver, Louis Armstrong is recognized as one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. A trumpet virtuoso, seductive crooner, and consummate entertainer, Armstrong laid the foundation for the future of jazz with his stylistic innovations, but his story would be incomplete without examining how he struggled in a society seething with brutally racist ideologies, laws, and practices. Thomas Brothers picks up where he left off with the acclaimed Louis Armstrong's New Orleans, following the story of the great jazz musician into his most creatively fertile years in the 1920s and early 1930s, when Armstrong created not one but two modern musical styles. Brothers wields his own tremendous skill in making the connections between history and music accessible to everyone as Armstrong shucks and jives across the page. Through Brothers's expert ears and eyes we meet an Armstrong whose quickness and sureness, so evident in his performances, served him well in his encounters with racism while his music soared across the airwaves into homes all over America. Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism blends cultural history, musical scholarship, and personal accounts from Armstrong's contemporaries to reveal his enduring contributions to jazz and popular music at a time when he and his bandmates couldn’t count on food or even a friendly face on their travels across the country. Thomas Brothers combines an intimate knowledge of Armstrong's life with the boldness to examine his place in such a racially charged landscape. In vivid prose and with vibrant photographs, Brothers illuminates the life and work of the man many consider to be the greatest American musician of the twentieth century.
Call Number: ML419.A75 B776 2014 (South)
Publication Date: 2014-02-03
Stormy Weather by At long last, the first serious biography of entertainment legend Lena Horne -- the celebrated star of film, stage, and music who became one of the first African-American icons.At the 74th annual Academy Awards in 2002, Halle Berry thanked Lena Horne for paving the way for her to become the first black recipient of a Best Actress Oscar. Though limited, mostly to guest singing appearances in splashy Hollywood musicals, "the beautiful Lena Horne," as she was often called, became a pioneering star for African Americans in the 1940s and fifties. Now James Gavin, author ofDeep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker, draws on a wealth of unmined material and hundreds of interviews -- one of them with Horne herself -- to give us the defining portrait of an American icon.Gavin has gotten closer than any other writer to the celebrity who has lived in reclusion since 1998. Incorporating insights from the likes of Ruby Dee, Tony Bennett, Diahann Carroll, Arthur Laurents, and several of Horne's fellow chorines from Harlem's Cotton Club,Stormy Weatheroffers a fascinating portrait of a complex, even tragic Horne -- a stunning talent who inspired such giants of showbiz as Barbra Streisand, Eartha Kitt, and Aretha Franklin, but whose frustrations with racism, and with tumultuous, root-less childhood, left wounds too deep to heal. The woman who emerged was as angry as she was luminous.From the Cotton Club's glory days and the back lots of Hollywood's biggest studios to the glitzy but bigoted hotels of Las Vegas's heyday, this behind-the-scenes look at an American icon is as much a story of the limits of the American dream as it is a masterful, ground-breaking biography.
Call Number: ML420.H65 G38 2009 (North, South)
Publication Date: 2009-06-23
Black Music in the Harlem Renaissance by By the mid-1920s, the Harlem Renaissance was underway. As an effort to secure economic, social, and cultural equality with white citizens, the Renaissance years were a proving period for black composers and performers. "Black Music in the Harlem Renaissance" explores black music in the United States and England during the 1920s and its relationship to other arts of the time. The first collection on the subject, "Black Music in the Harlem Renaissance" seeks to revise previous assumptions about music during this era. The book features essays on various subjects including musical theatre, Duke Ellington, black music and musicians in England, concert singers and the interrelationships between black painters and music. In addition, the book includes a music bibliography of works composed during the period.
Call Number: ML3556.8.N5 B6 1990 (Kent)
Publication Date: 1990-06-11
Dizzy by Dizzy Gillespie has secured his place in the jazz pantheon as one of the most expressive and virtuosic improvisers in the history of music. But he was much more than that. As one of the primary creators of the bebop and Afro-Cuban revolutions, he twice fundamentally changed the way jazz improvisation was done. And he later extended his revolutionary reach by transforming the aesthetic of big band jazz. This vivid biography chronicles Dizzy's saga from the lowest rung on the American social and political ladder to the highest. Born black in fiercely racist Cheraw, South Carolina, in 1917, Dizzy combined great energy, a furious drive to succeed, and a one-in-a-million talent to climb quickly out of rural poverty to a role among the Swing Era jazz elite before his twenty-first birthday. Author Donald L. Maggin shows how, with bebop during the late 1930s and early 1940s, Dizzy and four colleagues -- Charlie Parker, Kenny Clarke, Thelonious Monk, and Charlie Christian -- radically expanded the rhythmic and harmonic foundations of jazz. And he illustrates how Dizzy and Mario Bauza recast the music duing the late 1940s by enriching it with invigorating and exciting Afro-Cuban polyrhythms. He also relates how Dizzy and his colleagues endured a torrent of criticism before their innovations were accepted into the mainstream. Dizzy's story takes us on the road with the great Calloway, Hines, and Eckstine bands and to Cheraw's cotton fields, Harlem's afterhours clubs, the teeming 1940s Fifty-second Street jazz scene, the rhythmic barrios of Havana, Rio's samba festivals, the White House, and the world's great concert halls as Dizzy teamed up with prodigious talents to make great music during a career spanning fifty-five years. It also records his spiritual growth over the decades and the intense love he earned from those close to him. As an entertainer Dizzy combined his electrifying musicianship with an infectious warmth and rare comedic skills, becoming beloved worldwide and achieving a popularity that few jazz musicians have ever enjoyed.
Call Number: ML419.G54 M34 2005 (South)
Publication Date: 2005-03-15