Mostly hits all the right notes, with several strong chapters easily outweighing the occasional miscue.

Erich Graf--Musician, Flutist, Advocate


A look back on a life full of collaborative endeavors both onstage and behind the scenes.

In this solid memoir, Graf traces his influences and development as a professional artist and, more generally, as a human being. From his youth spent studying in New York City, he recalls the highly competitive culture that permeated Juilliard. He also provides unique perspectives for those who wonder about the inner workings of celebrated musical institutions: “In a jaded orchestral environment like the New York Philharmonic, only greenhorns and brown-nosers actually watch the conductor.” Eventually, Graf found his way to the Utah Symphony, where he performed as principal flutist for well over three decades. In addition, for 17 years he served as president of Local 104 of the American Federation of Musicians. Readers interested in this aspect of the lives of professional musicians may be disappointed by the section titled “President’s Messages—Local 104 Newsletters,” which presents fragments of union publications in a somewhat haphazard fashion, not even in chronological order. Instead, readers might benefit more by skipping to the tribute penned in 2011 by union attorney Joseph Hatch, which offers more cohesive, substantive details regarding Graf’s tenure as a labor leader. While the author’s recollections of childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood are certainly well-written and informative, the most noteworthy chapter is “Seven Essays on the Dénouement of the Graf Family and the Closing of the Family Home,” in which Graf returns to Ann Arbor in middle age to face the declines and deaths of his parents, including his mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s. This is a universal story told with power and heart, as in an eerie moment involving the possessions of a departed loved one: “I threw out my mother’s half-deteriorated alarm clock, and when I tossed the Hefty Bag with the forty others destined for junk, the alarm began ringing.” The strength of this moving section alone makes Graf’s memoir worth a read.

Mostly hits all the right notes, with several strong chapters easily outweighing the occasional miscue.

Pub Date: April 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4602-6233-7

Page Count: 120

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?



Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

Did you like this book?