LOST CHORDS

WHITE MUSICIANS AND THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO JAZZ, 1915-1945

A meticulously researched volume on an underexamined field of music history. Musician and historian Sudhalter (Bix: Man and Legend, 1974) begins his study with a look at early jazz’s twin cities, New Orleans and Chicago, and then he follows the major figures from these cities as they migrate to the coasts and elsewhere. Among the more prominent careers he covers along the way are those of Louis Prima, Bix Beiderbecke (a constant presence in the book), and Ben Pollack. The last three sections of the book look individually at major figures such as Pee Wee Russell, Artie Shaw, and Benny Goodman (with whom Sudhalter conducted a revealing Q&A). Of course, since these figures are quite well known, few of the titular “chords” Sudhalter covers have ever been “lost” in the first place. A more serious problem is the lack of structured organization in the narrative. Sudhalter himself is a trumpeter, and much of the book is concerned with analysis of the artists’ recordings; for the nonmusician, this material is far too technical and even Sudhalter claims that these sections may be skipped without missing the important historical material; but he never makes clear where the analytical sections begin and end. Still, Sudhalter makes a very strong point on the important contributions of white musicians to the formation of jazz. His cultural analysis of the racial melting pot of New Orleans informs much of his theory of jazz’s creation, and he is able to see the underlying class issues that perhaps more directly affected the course of jazz history. This will be an indispensable volume for musicians and music historians, as well as an important addition to white cultural studies (30 b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-19-505585-3

Page Count: 1072

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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