Sophisticated Ladies: The Great Women of Jazzby Leslie Gourse, Martin French (Illustrator)
This handsome volume contains the stories of fourteen fabulous women, blues and jazz singers all. Their art reflected their backgrounds—often small, poverty-ridden towns in the South—and the influence of musicians who preceded them. Each singer adapted the culture of jazz and wove it into her own personal style. Jazz historian Leslie Gourse’s
This handsome volume contains the stories of fourteen fabulous women, blues and jazz singers all. Their art reflected their backgrounds—often small, poverty-ridden towns in the South—and the influence of musicians who preceded them. Each singer adapted the culture of jazz and wove it into her own personal style. Jazz historian Leslie Gourse’s biographies of Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Mildred Bailey, Mabel Mercer, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day, Peggy Lee, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter, Rosemary Clooney, Cassandra Wilson, and Diana Krall offer a fascinating glimpse into American history and a continually evolving musical genre.
Gr 7 & Up - This lively collective biography of 14 singers begins in the 1920s with Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters and moves on through current performers Cassandra Wilson and Diana Krall. A vibrant, full-page portrait opens each chapter, depicting the performer with bold vitality, in a style suggestive of a theater poster. Gourse mentions the singers' childhoods and backgrounds and traces the influences on and course of their careers, not shying away from the poverty, health issues, addictions, and chaotic lifestyles experienced by many of them. Her descriptions of their individual styles are particularly apt, whether of Peggy Lee, "rarely singing a note louder than needed" or Anita O'Day, "her dry, husky voice slurring the melody as she handled a variety of songs." The spot-on discography points students to the best-known songs of each artist. Alyn Shipton's Jazz Makers: Vanguards of Sound(Oxford Univ., 2002) offers similar but more comprehensive coverage, including more than 50 biographical sketches of great figures of jazz, both male and female.-Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KSCopyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Meet the Author
Leslie Gourse, a noted jazz historian,was the author of many books foradults. She died in 2004.
Martin French’s artwork has wonnumerous awards, including a GoldMedal from the Society of Illustrators.He lives in Oregon.
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