A worthy project diminished by Catalano’s impressionistic approach and special pleading.




Clifford Brown's premature death deprived jazz of one of its greatest trumpeters—a loss that seems even more poignant some

forty years later. Born in 1930, in Wilmington, Delaware, Brown began playing in school bands and informal dance groups in his early teens. Encouraged by his parents and teachers, he practiced constantly and soon became a local star. An important influence was Fats Navarro, a brilliant bebop trumpeter whose life was cut short by heroin use. Taking warning from Navarro's fate, Brown became a model for clean living among his generation of jazzmen, and was noted for his amiable disposition. His playing blossomed as he gigged and jammed with top players in the jazz clubs of Philadelphia. After a series of record dates as sideman, and a European tour with Lionel Hampton's band, he returned to the US in 1954 and formed a seminal quintet with drummer Max Roach. In the two years before Brown and pianist Richie Powell died in a car crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, that group made a strong impact on jazz listeners. Unfortunately, Catalano (Performing Arts/Pace Univ.), assuming his readers are intimately familiar with Brown's music, relies primarily on verbal descriptions of his solos, providing only two passages of written music. A few of his other judgments are even more questionable. He takes several gratuitous potshots at Miles Davis, overlooking the possibility that even had Brown survived, he might never have rivaled the later success of the charismatic Davis. Nor did Brown's death send jazz into a tailspin, as Catalano implies; the music remained strong for nearly a decade before rock drove it from popular awareness. Still, the author’s enthusiastic and well-researched summary of Brown's career should send jazz buffs back to their record collections for serious listening.

A worthy project diminished by Catalano’s impressionistic approach and special pleading.

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-19-510083-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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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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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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