BLUES UP AND DOWN

JAZZ IN OUR TIME

Piazza, whose short-story collection Blues and Trouble (1996) won the Michener Prize, looks again at his favorite music in this collection of occasional pieces. Writing on jazz between 1979 and 1997 (for which he won the 1996 ASCAPDeems Taylor Award for Music Writing), Piazza has had the opportunity to watch this musical phoenix arise once again resplendent from its supposed ashes. In the course of the two decades covered by the pieces in this volume (most of them previously published in the New York Times, the New Republic, Atlantic Monthly, and the Village Voice), Piazza has recounted the arrival of a new generation of young jazz musicians, headed by the controversial Wynton Marsalis. The author has been one of the more forceful advocates for Marsalis and his acolytes and their brand of neoclassical jazz. Briefly, Piazza believes that the critics who decry Marsalis's lack of ``emotion'' are unwittingly and tacitly racist, reducing all jazz to a sort of primitive expression of raw feeling and undervaluing the role of intellect in the creation of the music. It's an argument that's not without some merit, as his lengthy attacks on James Lincoln Collier (particularly a scathing review of Collier's egregious Duke Ellington biography) show. But too many of the pieces here—the opening reviews of McCoy Tyner and Mary Lou Williams in particular—have little or nothing to do with this thesis. The best essays are reportage from the road, a previously unpublished piece on a jazz festival in Dahomey and a recounting of days and nights on tour with Wynton and his band. Piazza is a writer worth paying attention to, but this book is too slight a framework to support his arguments. In fact, it is too slight a framework to call a book.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-312-16789-X

Page Count: 208

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1997

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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IN MY PLACE

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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