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Jazz: My Music, My People

Jazz: My Music, My People

by Morgan Monceaux

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For this intimate, moody introduction to jazz, Monceaux offers emphatic mixed-media portraits and biographies of favorite musicians. Typically, Monceaux frames a folk-arty picture of a musician with layers of scribbled colors and scrawled details about his or her life. He often bestows such trimmings as buttons, gloves or lace on his subjects' clothing; Charlie Parker himself gets a plastic party horn, Leadbelly a faux guitar, John Coltrane a toy sax. Next to each image appears a brief biography, warmly informed by the author's reflections: Louis Armstrong is described performing a musical eulogy at the New Orleans funeral of Monceaux's uncle; Count Basie regales guests at Monceaux's grandparents' anniversary party at the Starlight Ballroom in Chicago; a Nina Simone tape fortifies Monceaux in 1966, when he was stationed off the Vietnam coast. The text straightforwardly mentions racism, drug abuse, alcoholism and other adult themes. For example, Monceaux compares a Billie Holiday song about a lynching to ``a group of white men [who] drove past me in a car and called me a nigger.'' Monceaux's demonstration of how music influenced his youth and informed his art may well inspire readers to seek heroes of their own. Ages 9-up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Older readers and adult jazz fans will be delighted by Monceaux's vivid word and visual jazz portraits. The Louisiana-born painter was raised by a blues-singing mother who made music a place of sanity and stability that he could return to in times of need. It makes total sense that he writes these biographies from a very personal perspective, infusing the forty portraits with an emotional richness that is a tribute to jazz, its history and the people who added to its power.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Personal reflections on well-known blues, swing, beebop, and modern jazz artists, presented with passion and respect. Through prose and art, Monceaux attempts to communicate the importance of jazz in his own life and in our country's cultural heritage. Brief biographical sketches not only provide basic facts about the subjects' lives, but also highlight their importance in the field of music and the historical development of this genre. Over 40 instrumentalists and vocalists are discussed, ranging from Buddy Bolden to Nat King Cole, Leadbelly to Charlie Parker, Bessie Smith to Ella Fitzgerald. Each profile faces a full-page artistic rendition of the musician at work. Monceaux's art is interpretive; his multimedia paintings are created from pastels, markers, paint, and collage. He has incorporated hand-written facts inside the illustrations; trying to decipher this writing changes the book into an almost interactive experience-it's not always easy, but the challenge is fun. This unique offering, whose subjective tone adds to its appeal, will be a fine addition to collections that already include Studs Terkel's Giants of Jazz (Crowell, 1992), Richard Rennert's Jazz Stars (Chelsea, 1993), and Langston Hughes's Jazz (Watts, 1982; o.p.).-Renee Steinberg, Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.82(w) x 11.26(h) x 0.45(d)
Age Range:
9 Years

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