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Hardbopjazz

Which jazz artist would say has the most books written about him/her?

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I don’t know if there’s an answer to this question. I was at the NYC library yesterday in Lincoln Center and saw 6 books on Monk. It got me wondering how many books were written on Thelonious Monk and what jazz artist been written about the most.  
Any educated guesses?

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Armstrong and Ellington, would be my guess.

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8 minutes ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Armstrong and Ellington, would be my guess.

Yep .... and probably John Coltrane ....

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34 minutes ago, soulpope said:

Yep .... and probably John Coltrane ....

Trane, Miles, and Bird probably in that same (next) tier.

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Well, there are so many jazz biographies nowadays! Unimaginable when I first started reading them. There were very few indeed and my first was Alan Lomax's Mr Jelly Roll which I read in 1957 (loved the David Stone Martin illustrations) and which was first published 7 years before that. That was a library copy. The first I bought was Ross Russell's Bird Lives! which sits on my shelf with 1973 inscribed in it. Raymond Horricks' Count Basie and his Orchestra (1957) was another early one, but I guess that's a monograph rather than a biography.

Armstrong has been mentioned and I can see 7 books about him listed on Amazon.

Edited by BillF

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32 minutes ago, BillF said:

Armstrong has been mentioned and iI can see 7 books about him listed on Amazon.

Seeing about 10 listed here (link below), the earliest being from 1986, then two from the 90's, and the rest from after 2000.

https://www.louisarmstronghouse.org/books/

But I would have expected a small handful of earlier books too, no? - hard to believe the very first book on Pops coming from the late 80's.  Overall, I think I would have expected something more like maybe 15 total? - not just 10.

I'm sure there are at least 10 books on Miles Davis (if not slightly more even), so perhaps there's more about Miles than Armstrong.

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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I have a book about Armstrong by John Chilton that was published well before 1980.  (Don't recall the exact date.)

Also, didn't Satch write and/or collaborate with a ghost writer to publish two (?) autobiographical books during his lifetime?  I thought he did.

EDIT:
Just checked. He did.  The titles were Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans and Swing That Music.  Looks like both have been republished by Da Capo.

Edited by HutchFan

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15 minutes ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Seeing about 10 listed here (link below), the earliest being from 1986, then two from the 90's, and the rest from after 2000.

https://www.louisarmstronghouse.org/books/

But I would have expected a small handful of earlier books too, no? - hard to believe the very first book on Pops coming from the late 80's.  Overall, I think I would have expected something more like maybe 15 total? - not just 10.

I'm sure there are at least 10 books on Miles Davis (if not slightly more even), so perhaps there's more about Miles than Armstrong.

Google tells me Armstrong wrote an autobiography in 1936 called Swing That Music.

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A quick search on the Columbia U library website reveals:

Duke Ellington- 100 books on the subject of,

Miles Davis- 91 books on the subject of,

Louis Armstrong- 88 books on the subject of,

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I bet there are even more on Bob Dylan.

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On 1/12/2020 at 1:53 PM, medjuck said:

I bet there are even more on Bob Dylan.

And Elvis - but after a certain point there's nothing new to say so the worthwhile stuff is just spread thinner...

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I've stopped buying books about Dylan or Miles  (between them they fill a shelf ) but I'm still buying Ellingtonia. 

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I didn´t read books about Dylan since that´s not my kind of Music, but I have read enough books about Miles. Among those books Maybe I enjoyed most the book Ian Carr wrote. Others are more focussed on the non Musical Things, like the book his son Gregory wrote, and the book that Lady wrote who was with him in the last years…...

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I’m sure there are more books written about non jazz musicians but that isn’t the title of the thread, is it?

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Though a different edition, this was the first jazz book I read. It must have been back in the mid 50's.It has been criticized a lot, but for a young teenager in that time period, it was it was a stimulating book to read.

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IMO It still is a stimulating book (of a slice of history) to read today.
I can't quite imagine in what way Mezzrow was criticized "a lot" for (except maybe by those who fail to see that books like this need to be understood in the context of the times and without the bogging down by hindsight) but a quick check showed that the (fairly brief) reivews both in the All Music Guide to Jazz, 2nd Ed. (1996), and in the Down Beat Music 8th Yearbook (1963) sound fairly positive and appreciative (except for Mezzrow's stature as a jazz musician, of course).

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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On 1/21/2020 at 9:58 AM, Big Beat Steve said:

IMO It still is a stimulating book (of a slice of history) to read today.
I can't quite imagine in what way Mezzrow was criticized "a lot" for (except maybe by those who fail to see that books like this need to be understood in the context of the times and without the bogging down by hindsight) but a quick check showed that the (fairly brief) reivews both in the All Music Guide to Jazz, 2nd Ed. (1996), and in the Down Beat Music 8th Yearbook (1963) sound fairly positive and appreciative (except for Mezzrow's stature as a jazz musician, of course).

Somewhere I read a letter from Pops to Mezzrow in which Louis asks Mezz to have some "arrangements" ready for him when he (Pops) arrived home for abroad.  Whoever published to letter didn't seem to get that the "arrangements" (IIRC the word was in quotation marks)  referred to pot. 

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2 minutes ago, medjuck said:

Somewhere I read a letter from Pops to Mezzrow in which Louis asks Mezz to have some "arrangements" ready for him when he (Pops) arrived home for abroad.  Whoever published to letter didn't seem to get that the "arrangements" (IIRC the word was in quotation marks)  referred to pot. 

Yes, I read somewhere that Mezzrow's talents were more as a supplier than as a musician.:D

Nice there's now a New York club called Mezzrow which Rossano Sportiello described to me as a "piano room".

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Bill - If you register with Smalls you can check out the live feeds for performances both there and Mezzrow (assuming you can stay awake that late !)

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It has been many many decades since I read the book, so my memory may be questionable.

But what I seem to recall were 2 major criticisms of the book.

1. It glorified drug use and made it seem that jazz musicians were mostly drug addicts. And the criticism about drug use was back in a time period when the general view about marijuana was dramatically different than today.So it , for it's time, gave jazz a negative image.

 

2. it gloried Mezzrow's capabilities as a jazz musician. The book portrayed him as a "jazz master" at the level of the many "true" great whom which he played.

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3 hours ago, sidewinder said:

Bill - If you register with Smalls you can check out the live feeds for performances both there and Mezzrow (assuming you can stay awake that late !)

Thanx Bob.

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On 26/01/2020 at 9:19 PM, BillF said:

Thanx Bob.

Enjoy !

 

Edited by sidewinder

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