Archive for April, 2014

W. Royal Stokes’ Roundup of 85 or So Jazz, Blues, Beyond, and Other Books Published in the Past Year or So

April 23rd 2014

1) BIOGRAPHIES, DISCOGRAPHIES, ETC.
2) HISTORY, REFERENCE, CRITICISM, ETC.
3) COFFEE-TABLE BOOKS
4) SCARECROW PRESS
5) MISCELLANEOUS

1) BIOGRAPHIES, DISCOGRAPHIES, ETC.

I chose Terry Teachout’s Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington (Gotham Books) as 2013’s Best Jazz Book in my “BEST AND NOTABLE RELEASES OF 2013” on my blog and I stand wholeheartedly behind that judgment despite the carping here and there among the jazz punditry. Teachout delves more deeply into the life, career, and music of Ellington than previous biographers and, yes, he does find flaws of character, some deficiencies in Duke’s composing ability, and sloppy working habits that others have neglected to point out. That is what makes his book so absorbing, rewarding, and honest. Teachout’s biography of this preeminent artist and jazz icon is, in fact, an homage to Ellington. In Duke, Teachout has another winner to place alongside his 2010 Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong and 2003 The Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken. All three are page-turners. Photos, an appendix of “Fifty Key Recordings by Duke Ellington,” bibliography, notes, index.’

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