An exhaustive look at how some jazz musicians adjusted to the advent of rock ‘n’ roll. Nicholson (Billie Holliday, 1995, etc.) begins his study with the emergence of the US in the 1950s and ’60s as a world center of musical innovation, particularly in the uniquely American forms of jazz and rock ‘n’ roll. While the jazz influence on acts such as Chicago and Blood, Sweat, and Tears is perhaps obvious, artists such as Cream and Jimi Hendrix, normally thought of as pure rock or as being predominantly blues-influenced, are shown by Nicholson to also have been very much influenced by jazz. But if jazz made an impression on rock, the opposite also occurred. For instance, it was his friendship with Hendrix that led jazz giant Miles Davis out of traditional jazz and into jazz-rock “fusion.” Davis was soon opening for the Grateful Dead and working with rock promoter Bill Graham. The development of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Chick Corea’s career are also thoroughly traced here. The 1980s return of Miles Davis to the scene and the juggernaut of bassist extraordinaire Jaco Pastorius are also plumbed for their vast influence. Exploring rock acts persistently influenced by jazz, Nicholson offers a strong analysis of Frank Zappa, probably the most important artist in the genre, and others. The future of jazz-rock fusion is located in the work of such pioneers as Ornette Coleman and in the development of such groups as Digable Planets. If there is one flaw in Nicholson’s study, it is his tendency to hew to a stiff, repetitive format: covering staff changes in a band’s lineup, discussing a record’s release (including the promotional materials from the record companies), and then going into a close analysis of the music itself. Still, his impeccable music scholarship makes up for this tendency toward structural formula. (50 illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-02-864679-7

Page Count: 424

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1998

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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