Catchall of earlier (late 50's on) pieces by Williams (Jazz in its Time, 1989, etc.), some unpublished except as record-jacket copy, some from Down Beat, Saturday Review, etc. The longest piece here—a historical and musical commentary on the massive Library of Congress Folklore Archives set of Jelly Roll Morton disks recorded by Alan Lomax—is the richest. Discussing the growth of Morton's style, Williams is especially good on the musical layout of ``The Pearls,'' a neglected Morton work that is among his most lovely, and ``the Spanish tinge'' in Morton's jazz tango ``Mama `Nita,'' a piece warm with delight. The author's most affecting piece is ``Billie Holiday: Anatomy of a Tragedy,'' which in its brief span works up much feeling. His best interview is with trumpeter Ruby Braff, who is outspoken about record producer John Hammond's buckling under to Columbia's commercial needs. An interview with Ross Russell, founder of Dial Records and first to record Charlie Parker at length, straightens out some misconceptions about Russell's ties with Bird. A piece on a reissue of the first recordings of the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, featuring Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelly, gives an uplifting overview of this imperious group of jazz swingers. A set of Ellington reissues prompts new thoughts about Ellington's earliest periods, and a commentary on Parker Gillespie's The Greatest Jazz Concert Ever (in Toronto) makes clear that Charlie Mingus indeed did rerecord his bass line for the record issue while Billy Taylor ``did a bit of ghosting on the Bud Powell performances as well.'' Meanwhile, Williams deflates four pianists he finds overrated: Oscar Peterson, Ahmad Jamal, George Shearing, and Martial Solal. Jazz riches for the serious fan.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-19-505847-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1991

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


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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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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