HARD BOP

JAZZ AND BLACK MUSIC, 1955-1965

Lively history by free-lance jazz-journalist Rosenthal of a brief but important musical era falling between post-Charlie Parker jazz and Stevie Wonder-style tunes. Today, Rosenthal explains, hard bop is heard only in revivals as the neo-bop fabrication of feelings of another era. But as musician Henry Threadgill complains: ``For the first time in the history of jazz, many young artists have become virtuosos of styles that have passed....Are we so nostalgic that we need virtuosos of the graveyard?'' Bop grew out of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell, elided into its second generation (and perhaps its finest flower) with effervescent, feelingful trumpeter Clifford Brown. Where classic bop had bubbled with ebullience, Rosenthal says, hard bop sprang from a cooler, more laid-back yet hard- swinging spirit, as exemplified by Miles Davis's seminal ``Bags' Groove.'' Davis had come into being with Parker, with a modest middle-range style of which Rosenthal does not think highly. It was only after a four-year bout with heroin that Davis returned with his ringingly inventive major style, the biting but full-toned phrasing of pieces like ``Bags' Groove'' and ``Cookin' '' and with synergies drawn from working with the emerging John Coltrane. Hard bop's most tragic figure is best seen, going by Rosenthal, in trumpeter Lee Morgan, who began recording with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers when only 18, winnowed an overactive style down to notes well weighed, worked up ``a timbre that seemed to convey a mixture of bitter irony and sorrow,'' and then, in 1980, was shot dead at age 30 by his spurned mistress at a jazz club on N.Y.C.'s Lower East Side. And at that point, hard bop and the milieu that buoyed it up—``ghetto life with jazz at its center''—vanished under Motown, soul, and ``concept albums.'' An original and compelling assessment.

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-19-505869-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1992

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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