Should inspire many new visitors to the Crescent city and hip them to what's been cooking there all these years.



A casual yet palatable guide to the music of New Orleans that serves up its spicy musical and historical matter in high style.

Seeking clues to the city's rich musical heritage, Lichtenstein (Machisma, 1981) and Dankner (Music/Loyola University) find them in New Orleans's extraordinary racial and cultural mix, and in an appreciation for revelry that goes back to Louisiana's first French governor. The authors describe the Sunday celebrations of slaves in Congo Square, and the influence their music had on the musicians of the city's red-light district. We meet mythic figures like Buddy Bolden, Tony Jackson (so eager to play piano that he built his own at age seven), and Jelly Roll Morton. We encounter Louis Armstrong, whose genius made jazz jump, dropping a sheet of lyrics in the middle of a recording session and inventing scat out of sheer inspired desperation. The authors also make clear the city's contribution to rhythm and blues and rock, with the gospel- drenched voicings of Ray Brown and Little Richard, and with Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew honing the art of the "two minute radio hit.'' Full of stories, anecdotes, and interviews, the text describes the contribution of masters like Dr. John and the Neville Brothers to many classic R&B recordings, and it brings us up to the present with performers like the Marsalis family, the Rebirth Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and many underappreciated musicians. And though the authors tiptoe around controversies like the one surrounding Wynton Marsalis's paradox-riven jazz purism, they don't fail to investigate the role of education or of ethnic and social tensions in New Orleans's musical development, and they make clear how the various artists have suffered for the music that has made their city "America's Florence.''

Should inspire many new visitors to the Crescent city and hip them to what's been cooking there all these years.

Pub Date: June 7, 1993

ISBN: 0-393-03468-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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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

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