A celebrated jazz writer offers fascinating portraits of friends he’s known during a lifetime in jazz
For more than half a century, jazz writer and lyricist Gene Lees has been the friend of many in the world of jazz music. In this delightful book he offers minibiographies of fifteen of these friends—some of them jazz greats, some lesser-known figures, and some up-and-comers. Combining conversations and memoirs with critical commentary, Lees’s insightful and intimate profiles will captivate jazz fans, performers, and historians alike. The subjects of the book range from the versatile orchestrator and arranger Claus Ogerman to legendary jazz broadcaster Willis Conover, from the gifted young Chinese violinist Yue Deng to undersung pianist Junior Mance. Lees writes about these figures both as musicians and as human beings, and he writes out of a conviction that jazz as an art form represents the highest values of American culture. Inviting us into the lives of these unique individuals, Lees offers an affectionate view of the jazz community that only an insider could provide.
Gene Lees is publisher and editor of the Jazzletter. He is also a song lyricist and the author of more than a dozen volumes of jazz history and criticism, among them Singers and the Song, Cats of Any Color: Jazz Black and White, Meet Me at Jim and Andy’s: Jazz Musicians and Their World, and a forthcoming biography of Johnny Mercer.
Chosen as ASCAP’s Deems Taylor Special Recognition Award for 2004 in the Pop Books category
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