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Up from the Cradle of Jazz

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New Orleans has always been a city of music and divergent cultures, where aristocratic French and Spanish colonists, working-class Irish and the African slave culture combined to produce a charismatic musical tradition. The authors begin their survey after World War II and trace the impact of the musicians of New Orleans on rhythm and blues, jazz, soul and the other popular musical styles of the day. The book looks closely, too, at the tradition of musical families as exemplified by clans like the Bechets and Bigards of the early 1900s and continues with the talented Marsalis family of today. They discuss well-known artists such as Professor Longhair and Fats Domino and scores of lesser known but talented locals. Complete with bibliography and discography. This is a comprehensive, detailed history. (November)

The same New Orleans that produced Louis Armstrong in the 1920s has given the world Wynton Marsalis in the 1980s; the city continues to be an inspiring source of indigenous music. Rhythm and blues, modern jazz, and Mardi Gras Indian music have flourished in the postwar atmosphere. Fats Domino, one of the creators of rock'n'roll during the city's ``flush years'' of the 1950s, is still a resident. A writer, a guitarist, and a collector of recordings collaborated on this cultural history. They draw from an impressive variety of sources, including interviews with dozens of local musicians and personalities. Though this range of material occasionally distracts them from the topic at hand, the engaging style and thorough documentation make their book a valuable balance to the plethora of histories of New Orleans' earlier years. William Brockman, Drew Univ. Lib., Madison, N.J.

YA The authors offer a rich history of jazz from a specific locale and time period, and they continue the analysis to contemplate how jazz since 1950 has influenced popular music today. The book is unique in that it provides a view of the many cultures, customs, beliefs, and social groups in New Orleans that contributed to the roots of jazz, leaving readers with a wonderful sense of the pride and soul inherent in the music. It includes excellent background for understanding the development of music from the traditional jazz of the '20s to the many more recent styles derived from jazz (rhythm and blues, rock and roll, new jazz). Classic photographs, a light readable text, comprehensive footnotes, index, bibliography, and discography along with the content make this a title not to be missed. Rebecca Holt, Episcopal High School, Bellaire

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