Jazz and its Discontents

Overview

From Frank Sinatra to Sun Ra, from the jazz age to middle age, with thoughts on everything in-between, Francis Davis has been writing about American music and American culture for more than twenty years. His essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, and the Village Voice among countless other publications from coast to coast. And now, for the first time, here are his most important writings of his impressive career-the quintessential Davis on everything from why Rent set musicals back two ...

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Jazz And Its Discontents: A Francis Davis Reader

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Overview

From Frank Sinatra to Sun Ra, from the jazz age to middle age, with thoughts on everything in-between, Francis Davis has been writing about American music and American culture for more than twenty years. His essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, and the Village Voice among countless other publications from coast to coast. And now, for the first time, here are his most important writings of his impressive career-the quintessential Davis on everything from why Rent set musicals back two decades, to what Ken Burns should have filmed. And Davis's writing is as enjoyable as the music of which he writes. The New York Times Book Review has compared Davis's work to "a well-blown solo."

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Davis comes up with some zesty one-liners, like his characterization of the avant-garde bandleader Sun Ra, known for his space-age garb, as ''the only jazz musician assured of a gig every Halloween.'' Davis's insights, investigations and opinions are funny, fierce and fair, and are as diverse as the music he loves. — Eugene Holley, Jr.
Midwest Book Review
As brilliantly written and presented as it is informed and informative...A welcome and recommended addition.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306810558
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2004
  • Series: A Francis Davis Reader Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Francis Davis is a contributing editor of the Atlantic Monthly and writes regularly for the New York Times and the New Yorker. He is the author of the acclaimed books Outcats and History of the Blues and a biography of John Coltrane (Knopf). He lives in Philadelphia.

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Table of Contents

Only Myself to Blame: Introduction and Acknowledgments
From in the Moment
An Improviser Prepares 3
No Success Like Failure: Ornette Coleman's Permanent Revolution 15
Leading Lady 26
Anthony Davis's New Music 33
From Outcats
Surviving Ellington 55
Ellington's Decade 68
The Mystery of Herbie Nichols 76
Sunshine, Too 82
She's Susannah McCorkle 93
Too Late Blues 101
West Coast Ghost 105
Black Like Him 111
The Home and the World 116
Streams of Consciousness 123
Circles, Whirls, and Eights 128
From Bebop and Nothingness
Pres and His Discontents 135
Apple Pie 141
Real Stuff in Life to Cling To 145
"Zorn" for "Anger" 151
Bagels and Dreadlocks 158
Out There 167
White Anglo-Saxon Pythagorean 174
Recurring Characters
The Unsure Egoist Is Not Good for Himself 187
Talking with Miles 190
Miles Agonistes 195
Hottentot Potentate 200
Sun Ra, Himself 204
The Right Stuff 210
Born Out of Time 213
Wynton's Ellington Jones 219
Bonus Tracks
My Worthy Constituents 225
Jim Hall Has It Made 230
Other Folks's Music
Full of Foolish Song 239
Infection 248
Black Faces, Black Masks 258
Mixed Media
At the Movies 269
Talking Kerouac 286
Standup Sitcom 290
Onward 297
Bob Hope, Prisoner of War 302
America Surrenders 307
Only in the Movies 320
Index 329
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