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A is for "almighty" Louis Armstrong, whose amazing artistry unfolds in an accumulative poem shaped like the letter he stands for. As for sax master Sonny Rollins, whose "robust style radiates roundness," could there be a better tribute than a poetic rondeau? In an ...
A is for "almighty" Louis Armstrong, whose amazing artistry unfolds in an accumulative poem shaped like the letter he stands for. As for sax master Sonny Rollins, whose "robust style radiates roundness," could there be a better tribute than a poetic rondeau? In an extraordinary feat, Pulitzer Prize-winning jazz composer Wynton Marsalis harmonizes his love and knowledge of jazz's most celebrated artists with an astounding diversity of poetic forms — from simple blues (Count Basie) to a complex pantoum (Charlie Parker), from a tender sonnet (Sarah Vaughan) to a performance poem snapping the rhythms of Art Blakey to life.
Matching Wynton Marsalis's musical cadences note for note is the bold, poster-style art of Paul Rogers, highlighted in two phenomenal foldout spreads. The art's vibrant nostalgic feel is echoed in an exquisite design, with its size simulating an old 78 LP and its endpapers die-cut to mimic a vintage record sleeve. Complete with a discography and brief biographies of the featured musicians as well as notes on the various poetic forms, this is truly an incomparable gift book — for older children learning about jazz, longtime jazz aficionados, lovers of poetry, and readers of all ages who appreciate the finest in book design.
I have often wondered if anyone could somehow graphically, or even literately, come close to celebrating or revealing the ever-complex music of jazz. With occasional stabs at this task myself, I know the challenges are extremely vexatious. At last, we have Wynton Marsalis and Paul Rogers contributing what to my mind is a definite print volume with "Jazz A-B-Z."
Although this book is brief at 76 pages, it's overall quality magically eptitomizes the famous jazz trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison's own style and creative statement: "Simple ain't easy." 5 Stars. An absolute labor of love.
Posted May 4, 2006
This book is infectious! For those committed and devoted to Jazz this is a book that will bring smiles and memories and plaudits to the many giants of this most American of music forms. But to those of us whose knowledge of the impact of jazz on the spirit of music has always been from the periphery, here is a book to discover and celebrate an idiom so joyous in nature and in the presentation of this book that new converts are guaranteed! The concept of presenting famous jazz figures from A to Z (in actuality from Louis Armstrong to DiZzy Gillespie) is a sound one in that it does not tend to group artists by style or time. Each of the featured giants is introduced in poetic form written by Wynton Marsalis, poems that ring of jazz styles themselves. Additional succinct biographical data is sprinkled throughout the handsome design of the book. And each of the figures is brought to visual life by the stunning artwork of Paul Rogers, an illustrator who obviously loves and understands jazz in tandem with Marsalis. Though this book is being marketed for youngsters ages 4 - 8 or for junior high students, the book as an artwork and as an introduction to the world of jazz is so well done that it makes a terrific excursion for readers of any age and degree of jazz sophistication. Highly Recommended. Grady HarpWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 27, 2005
This collection of wondrous expressions continues to prove that genius manifest itself in many forms in an individual such as Wynton Marsalis who proves that 'covering the waterfront' can be handled with ease using the correct level of artistic engagement.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 22, 2008
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