A surprising catch from a unique voice.


Free Jazz at the Tsukiji Fish Market

A fun, illuminating introduction to a piece of Japanese life rarely glimpsed by outsiders.

A bustling center of trade for the people of Japan—and the largest seafood center in the world—the storied Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo is nonetheless being threatened with relocation to a new site, one that critics charge is unfit and polluted. But the rascally Nakamura has made it his personal mission to stop that from happening. The author loves the Tsukiji Fish Market right where it is, and the adoration he has for this fascinating hub of commerce and culture comes across in an often quirky narrative that reveals as much about him as it does the Japanese fish trade. In addition to preparing freshly caught salmon aboard Russian trawlers and in far-flung factory towns, the former Japanese fish inspector used to lead maverick tours through the vast Tsukiji complex before ultimately turning to writing. Nakamura assumes the role of intrepid tour guide here as well, dipping into the vast intricacies of the Tsukiji Fish Market and the samurai-sword–wielding vendors who make their living there. An odd mix of surprising biography, in-depth history and zealous advocacy evokes the often discordant strains of music referenced in the title. And like jazz itself, Nakamura’s unvarnished writing successfully creates a narrative totality that becomes curiously infectious once the accepted rules of grammar are dismissed. He has as much to say about processing deep-water salmon as he does the human experience, reflecting on Tsukiji’s idiosyncratic hierarchy, as well as his own personal demons. And after his latest tour ends, readers will likely want to know more about both the unconventional author and the ultimate fate of the Tsukiji Fish Market.

A surprising catch from a unique voice. 

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2012

ISBN: 978-0615630182

Page Count: 132

Publisher: Tomoe Planning Office Co. Ltd.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



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?