SUCH SWEET THUNDER by Whitney Balliett


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This carries on from The Sound of Surprise (1959) & Dinosaurs in the Morning (1962). It's a selection of forty odd pieces which first appeared in the upper midcult New Yorker. Jazz resists interpretation and Balliett, who uses his mute when writing about it, doesn't try to render the ineffable effable. Among the stand-out pieces are a tribute to Benny Carter, which underscores Benny's trumpetry as well as his better known sax work and arranging. He has a portrait of Pee Wee Russell, an acute if unfavorable judgment on Stan Getz, a brilliant insight into Mildred Bailey, and an elegy for Billie holiday. Balliett is a knowledgeable butteryfly who can sense emotion in jazz and point to it. His piece on Louis Armstrong is easily the best in the book written with all valves down.

Pub Date: Sept. 18th, 1966
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill