Take the Lead is a terrific series of books for all instrumentalists, young and old. Eight jazz classics are arranged for each instrument as stand-alone solos, or all the instruments can play together. Each song includes chord symbols in concert pitch for use by piano or guitar, or the player can use the full backing track from the CD as accompaniment. The CD also includes tuning notes and full version demonstration tracks of each song to help each musician learn the song. It's a great all-around package at a ...
Take the Lead is a terrific series of books for all instrumentalists, young and old. Eight jazz classics are arranged for each instrument as stand-alone solos, or all the instruments can play together. Each song includes chord symbols in concert pitch for use by piano or guitar, or the player can use the full backing track from the CD as accompaniment. The CD also includes tuning notes and full version demonstration tracks of each song to help each musician learn the song. It's a great all-around package at a great price, and perfect for the band student who is looking for more music to play, especially as an introduction to jazz.
The father-and-son team behind blues journey creates a scintillating paean to jazz. Walter Dean Myers infuses his lines (and the rests between them) with so much savvy syncopation that readers can't help but be swept up in the rhythms. "Stride," for example, narrated by a piano man, captures the spirit of a "band on fire." On a delphinium-purple page, below each line of white type ("I got jump in my feet, and I'm turning up the heat, left hand hauling"), two significant words from that line dance in black script ("jump"/ "feet"), functioning like the chords a jazz pianist uses as percussive punctuation within a tune. Visually, the page's typography evokes long white and short black piano keys. Christopher Myers lays black-inked acetate over brilliant, saturated acrylics. The resulting chiaroscuro conjures the deep shadows and lurid reflections of low-lit after-dark jazz clubs. The artist dynamically enlarges key compositional elements: a massive bass, a long ago drummer's muscular back, and fingers-poised over keys, plucking strings, splayed along a flute. Design sings here, too: Louis Armstrong's spread upends, befitting that jazz giant. A cogent introduction, selective glossary and chronology round out this mesmerizing verbal and visual riff on a uniquely American art form. All ages. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
- Mary Quattlebaum
Fifteen poems give a unique spin to music history in this title. The highly acclaimed author opens with a title poem that speaks of the African origins of jazz and "[d]rumming in tongues along the Nile," then swings to an exuberant tribute to Louie Armstrong in which that legendary trumpet player spanks a bad tune "like a naughty boy." The rhythm and word-play of poems such as "Be-Bop" and "Three Voices" will have kids bouncing and repeating lines like "[a] bippety-bop snake can't bite my style" and "[t]hum, thum, thum, and thumming/I feel the ocean rhythm coming." The illustrator brings the intensity of fluid lines and saturated color to his portraits of the jazz world. Fittingly, this creative father-son team dedicates their book, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, to "the children of New Orleans," birthplace of jazz. A wonderful book to celebrate Kwanzaa's principle of creativity.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Expanding on Blues Journey (Holiday House, 2003), this talented father and son have produced new poetry and paintings to explore a wider repertoire of jazz forms. An introduction provides historical and technical background, briefly touching on influences, improvisation, rhythm, and race. Spreads then pulsate with the bold, acrylic-and-ink figures and distorted perspectives that interpret the multiple moods and styles set forth in the text. The poems begin "Along the Nile" with a drumbeat and conclude with the heat of a Bourbon Street band. The Myerses experiment aurally and visually with the forms themselves; thus, "Stride" alternates long, fast-paced lines in a white font with two-word percussive phrases in black, calling to mind a period piano score. "Be-bop" unleashes a relentlessly rhyming patter in black, punctuated by a blue cursive font that "screams." The 15 selections also celebrate vocals, various instrumental combinations, a funeral procession, and Louis Armstrong; New Orleans as spirit and place is woven throughout. The expressionistic figures are surrounded by high-contrast colors in which the visible brushstrokes curve around their subjects, creating an aura that almost suggests sound waves. Wynton Marsalis's Jazz A B Z (Candlewick, 2005) offers an interesting comparison and complement: varied poetic forms and stylized, posterlike visuals present the lives of jazz musicians. Interaction with each inspired title informs the other and awakens interest in listening.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
A cycle of 15 poems and vivid, expressive paintings celebrate that most American genre of music: jazz. Myers pŠre presents readers with poems that sing like their subject, the drumming of African rhythms leading into a celebration of Louis Armstrong, an evocation of stride piano, a recreation of a New Orleans jazz funeral and a three-part improvisation among bass, piano and horn. A script-like display type appears sparingly, guiding readers to the sound of jazz embedded in the poems' syncopated rhythms. Myers fils uses bold colors and lines straight from the muralists of the '30s to create his illustrations, dramatic foreshortening and exaggerated angles a visual complement to the pulsing sounds being celebrated. It's a very different look and treatment from that given to their earlier blues journey (2003), although equally successful at giving readers a visceral sense of its musical subject. A lengthy introduction, glossary and timeline give background to the whole. This offering stands as a welcome addition to the literature of jazz: In a genre all too often done poorly for children, it stands out as one of the few excellent treatments. (Picture book/poetry. 8+)
Walter Dean Myers is a celebrated poet and novelist for young readers. His books have received two Newbery Honors, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and an Honor, five Coretta Scott King Awards, and the first Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature for young adults. He lives with his wife in New Jersey.
Christopher Myers is a distinguished artist whose work has received a Caldecott Honor and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. Booklist proclaimed Myers's artwork "A visual experience … with truly extraordinary grace and power."