A fresh blend of scholarly musical analysis and provocative ideas about creativity and how composers create great art.



A convincing case that some of the greatest music in history was not the work of one brilliant mind but rather a result of the commingling of ideas that happens when two complementary artists team up.

In the first half of the book, Brothers (Music/Duke Univ.; Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism, 2014, etc.) focuses on Duke Ellington and his many collaborators, most notably the composer Billy Strayhorn. Many compositions that were the work of two or more musicians were credited solely to Ellington; according to Brothers, this has led to misunderstandings about the way much of his music was composed. The author’s portrait of Ellington pulls no punches but remains sympathetic. The Beatles were another story: John Lennon and Paul McCartney were open about their creative codependency from the start, signing all compositions “Lennon/McCartney” no matter who wrote what or how much in a given song. Brothers insists that the oft-repeated saw that the Beatles rarely collaborated after the release of “Revolver” is false. Rather, he claims that some of the greatest achievements of their late period were the result of intense collaboration. Ellington embraced the myth of the solitary genius that the musical establishment saddled him with and benefited from the resulting obfuscation, while Lennon and McCartney situated themselves squarely within the ganglike nature of rock-’n’-roll groups, an egalitarian approach to music-making that had its roots in the African-American vernacular tradition from which jazz also emerged. Some of the music jargon may fly over the heads of nonmusician readers, but for the most part, Brothers frames his analysis in smooth, relatable prose that anyone familiar with the music of Ellington and the Beatles can understand. Along the way, the author provides a sweeping history of 20th-century popular music, the rich backdrop against which the incredible music of Ellington and the Beatles was composed—music that is incredible primarily because of the cooperative spirit that brought it to life.

A fresh blend of scholarly musical analysis and provocative ideas about creativity and how composers create great art.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-393-24623-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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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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